Does Dieting Mean Deprivation?

We�re all aware of extreme eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. They�re diseases perpetuated by the unrealistic beauty norms our society has set. It seems as though we are in a constant struggle to attain these ideals. To get there, we log more time at the gym and hop on the diet train. But are we actually getting into unhealthy habits by going on a roller coaster of dieting practices?

Fad diets are among some of the most extreme forms of dieting. There�s the cabbage soup diet and the grapefruit diet. There are liquid diets, detoxes and cleanses. These are all designed to make us lose weight fast. Many of them have calories far below the recommended daily intake people should consume, which is higher depending on age, weight and sex. Losing too much too fast means it was done in an unhealthy way, and the weight often comes back.

Even if we are on a �healthy� diet, we restrict ourselves. We get it into our heads that certain foods are �bad.� I hear about people who eliminate carbs like bread and pasta. Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame doesn�t allow herself to eat cheese. Really? These things can definitely cause weight gain when we eat them out of control, but balancing them shouldn�t make them a problem. When we completely cut out foods, we may miss essential nutrients our bodies need. Those carbs actually have energy that our bodies need to keep on trucking through the day.

We also set ourselves up for a binge. Have you ever noticed when you tell yourself, “I’m not going to eat that piece of cake,” all you end up thinking about is that darn piece of cake? Then when you finally get it, you eat the whole thing instead of just one piece.

We ultimately set ourselves up for failure. If we eat something we’ve deemed as a “no-no,” we tell ourselves we were “bad.” We beat ourselves up for giving into temptation and not having willpower. Why should we feel bad about ourselves for indulging once in awhile? The scariest part is that dieting practices are influencing young people. One statistic showed that 46% of girls ages 9 to 11 say they are “sometimes” or “often” on a diet.

I hate the word diet, and I’m not about them in general. Simply put, diets suck. Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize it’s about making healthy choices that I can stick with. I definitely promote healthy eating habits, but we shouldn’t make ourselves eat just carrots and celery. This means treats are alright; we shouldn’t hate on ourselves if we decide we want ice cream or that serving of fries. Should we eat that way all the time? Definitely not. It’s about balance, moderation and creating habits we can practice our entire lives.Images courtesy of,

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