Fad diets come and go every year. Think of single-food diets (like The Grapefruit Diet), semi-fasts (like detox diets), meal replacement diets (like Slim Fast), and food group reduction diets (like the Atkins Diet, one of many iterations of the low-carbohydrate diet). They all promise rapid weight loss, and most require us to purchase something (books, pills, potions…$$$). Some can be quite expensive! And the diet industry, of course, is not interested in our health or the long-term effects of the diet; it is profit-seeking and relies on repeat customers. But the marketing works! Americans spend billions of dollars every year seeking these weight-loss shortcuts.
This year, steer clear of fad diets. For one thing, they don’t work. Some may offer short-term results (although initial weight loss is often water), but they don’t help you to establish practical, healthy eating habits to maintain your weight in the long term. Fad diets can also result in the loss of lean muscle, which can reduce your metabolic rate (so your body will burn fewer calories each day). Some call for limiting important sources of nutrients, like healthy whole grains. Finally, fad diets have a very high failure rate; most people experience weight regain after dieting. For many, this leads to a pattern of yo-yo dieting that can put unnecessary strain on the heart.
Rather than “dieting” this year, consider adopting gradual changes to improve your regular diet. Make healthy choices a part of your lifestyle. And join the WellCats Nutrition Facebook group for ideas and support!
Williams G. The Heavy Price of Losing Weight. U.S. News & World Report. January 2, 2013. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/01/02/the-heavy-price-of-losing-weight.
Photo credit: http://health411-ra.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html
Maintaining a healthy body image can be challenging. And it's not just women who struggle with negative body messaging. A survey by the University of West of England found that more than one third of men polled would trade at least one year of their life for the "perfect" body. Other studies indicate that body negativity is just as prevalent in fitness communities as it is in the general population. Knowing that confidence and self-worth fuel positive changes, we want to encourage a DIFFERENT message:
- Appreciate what your body can DO! Can it walk, run, dance? Do these things contribute to your enjoyment and quality of life? Does being regularly physically active enable you to do them more? Look for progress that isn't appearance-based. Can you cycle a little farther, lift a little heavier, dance a little longer? Are you more flexible? Appreciate what your body does daily, and how your abilities increase with practice.
- See yourself as a whole instead of in parts. When you look at yourself in the mirror, rather than focusing on the areas that you feel insecure about, step back and find something you like. Compliment yourself on your better qualities (someone else wishes they had them.) You are more than a collection of "trouble spots", you are a whole person, and you are amazing.
- Wear clothes that make you feel good about your body. Fashions change, but comfort and confidence are timeless. Work with your body and dress yourself in a way that builds your self-esteem. The most important opinion is your own, so be sure it's positive!
- Protest body negativity, inside and out. Challenge stereotypes. Silence the voice in your mind that says your body isn't good enough, and show yourself and the rest of the world what it can do! Fitness comes in many shapes and sizes, many ages and stages, so celebrate what you're made of!