One out of every two women are on a diet right now. Our obsession with diets are ultimately not healthy for our bodies. Maybe it's time we stop dieting.
When we hear the words eating disorder, we may think of anorexia and bulimia. However dieting along with the frequent and compulsive weighing that accompanies it, can lead to eating disorders. People who diet are eight times as likely to develop an eating disorder as people who don't.
Here are the do's and don'ts of healthy weight loss
Do eat food
When you are on a diet, are you really focused on eating healthy foods? Are you only focused on the weight loss? Be honest. If the answer is no, you are not focused on a healthy diet, then you are probably balancing on the verge of an eating disorder. The two are really closer than you might think.
Do move more
The body was meant to move, that's why it has moving parts, i.e. your joints, bones, and tendons. Any diet plan without exercise will not get your body in shape. You don't want to lose weight by losing muscle, in fact, you actually want to gain muscle. You need to do this through training your body. You can start with baby steps, walking in your neighborhood for example. Then, once you build stamina, you can begin to lift weights or join a gym. But for now, just move. Walk with a friend, get a group together and support each other in leading a more active lifestyle. This is the best way to get fit and healthy.
Do give into your cravings
Do you wake up every day ready to deny yourself food because you think you aren't skinny enough? Does it control your every waking thought? When is the last time you ate a piece of food and you didn't feel guilty about it? A good life is based on balance. As long as you are eating mostly healthy foods, a tasty treat in moderation is fine every once in awhile. If you deny yourself constantly, you will wind up over consuming the very product you were abstaining from.
Do focus on health
The health risks of dieting are very real. Sudden death from heart arrhythmia or electrolyte imbalance is a real risk. Each year dieting is related to severe health damage and deaths in the United States. Dieting focuses attention on appearance, rather than self-worth, health and personal fulfillment.
Don't starve yourself skinny
Skinny isn't necessarily healthy. You can be skinny and still be fat, it's called "skinny-fat." The fat may not be directly under the skin, but streaking through your internal organs instead, which is much worse. Studies show that if you are a skinny couch potato, you are probably more unhealthy than an active, slightly overweight individual. The more you starve, the more muscle you lose. It may seem like you're losing weight on the scale, but you are losing important muscle mass.
Don't weigh yourself
The frequent and compulsive weighing that accompanies dieting can lead to eating disorders. The scale is not a good gauge of health. Health doesn't know a number. The scale is dumb, it doesn't know if you lost five pounds of muscle or added two pounds of hair extensions. Check in on how you feel, and how your clothes are fitting. Don't check in with the scale, it can lead to harmful eating patterns.
Don't do fad diets
Dieting is like a gateway drug into a world where we always need our fix. Studies show that 35 per cent of normal dieters progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 25 per cent progress to partial or full syndrome eating disorders. Approximately 10 million women and one million men in the United States struggle with anorexia and bulimia. There are another 25 million who suffer from binge-eating disorder. There is an epidemic of eating disorders in our country that is causing more serious effects than being overweight.
Don't be a yo-yo dieter
People who yo-yo diet are eight times as likely to develop an eating disorder as people who don't. Staying fit is a lifestyle change, and it is not found in the latest and newest diet. If the diet is unsustainable for a lifetime, you are likely to gain the weight back, plus some. When this occurs, you are more likely to become skinny-fat.
Don't allow dieting to control your life
Our culture has made skinny the standard for health, beauty, and even morality. Understanding that this unfair weight bias exists is the first step towards enlightening yourself in order to make a paradigm shift. Let us never give our power to any person, place or thing, (and that's including diets), outside of ourselves. Take back your power by being aware that the weight loss industry is worth 55 billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone. If one of those diets worked, it would make all those others obsolete. The industry is relying on you and your wallet to start your next diet.
It is evident that most of the dieting that occurs in our culture is more closely aligned to eating disorders than it is to a healthy form of dieting. This alone should completely change your view about the harm of dieting. The harm is not just physical, which is bad enough, but it is mental and emotional as well. If you are honest with yourself, you may realize that you have allowed dieting to take control of your life.
Remember, the weight loss industry is a $55 billion dollar industry with a 95 per cent failure rate. It's time to break the cycle of yo-yo and fad dieting, which can lead to pathological eating disorders.
Living a healthy life is based on eating healthy foods. Start living (and eating) today.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook