When you’re told frequently enough that you’re not allowed to eat something, you might begin to believe it. That’s how most people respond when they hear the word “diet” these days. They immediately think about how much weight they need to lose, and they shy away from food. They fear that if they eat what they want, they’ll end up weighing more than before. That’s certainly not what you need to hear, so let’s shed some light on this issue and demystify the notion that a diet is a diet. A diet, in fact, can be one of the healthiest ways to lose weight.
The Biggest Loser
Before we begin, let’s take a quick trip back in time. If you’re unfamiliar, The Biggest Loser is a television show that airs on the US television network NBC. (Yes, the same network that broadcasts The Voice and This Is Us.) The premise of The Biggest Loser is simple: two groups of people (one obese, the other lean) compete against each other while following a low-calorie diet. After a certain period of time, the person with the lowest percentage of weight lost wins (or, in the case of a tie, the person with the most weight lost in the aggregate).
In one of the most recent seasons of The Biggest Loser, the competition was particularly fierce. At the end of the season, Mohamed Bamba, a 29-year-old professional basketball player from New York, had the lowest percentage of weight loss of anyone in the history of the show — and he had to fight for his spot in the final episode. (Bamba lost 41.6% of his body weight; the previous record was 39.7% set by Charlie Glick in season 12.)
While this show is mainly about weight loss, it’s important to recognize that it’s also about competition and about inspiring people to reach their potential. It’s a show that shows you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you’re willing to work hard enough. According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 35% of adults in America are considered to be obese. That’s more than one in three Americans. But if you watch The Biggest Loser, you understand that it’s possible to lose weight without needing to become a slave to dieting.
Dieting Won’t Solve Your Problems
When you’re shown repeatedly that diets don’t work, it’s easy to believe it. But like many things in life, you need to look beyond the surface to see the truth. When we’re struggling with an issue, we often don’t see it clearly because of what’s surrounding it — it becomes clouded by emotions. That’s why when someone says “diet” these days, you should hear “no” instead of “yes,” because chances are they don’t have your health in mind. They’re trying to help you, but all they’re doing is harming you in the process.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to your weight problem, you’re going to be disappointed. Sure, you might lose a few pounds temporarily while following a fad diet or eating a restrictive diet, but the weight is going to come back – and sometimes with a vengeance. When that happens, you’ll be forced to start all over again, which is why you must resist the urge to diet. (There’s also the issue of vanity to consider. A lot of people like to lose weight for cosmetic reasons, but it’s not always the case.)
When you’re looking for a way to lose weight, you need to keep a number of things in mind. First of all, you need to make sure that your diet is healthy. You shouldn’t be eating lots of fast food or junk food, and you certainly shouldn’t be depriving yourself of the foods you love just to lose weight. (There are known issues with both of those practices.) You also need to make sure that you’re not exercising too much. (If you are, you’re going to end up gaining more weight than you lost!) Lastly, you need to make sure you’re not experiencing any sort of mental or emotional hardship. (Things like anxiety and depression often lead to overeating; if you’re feeling bad about yourself or your life, you’re going to be inclined to eat to compensate or to feel better.)
When you’re deciding whether or not to follow a diet, you need to ask yourself these questions. Is the diet healthy? Does it provide adequate nutrients? Is it sustainable in terms of the natural resources consumed to provide the foods needed to sustain life? Could you be exercising too much? Are you experiencing any emotional turmoil? For many people, the answer to all of these questions is “no,” and that’s probably the kind of diet you want to avoid. Most people don’t need to lose weight; they need to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re in the majority, then there’s no need to deprive yourself of the foods you love because you’re not meeting the standards your doctors have set for you to meet. Instead, focus on eating nutritious food, getting some physical activity, and managing your mental faculties. That’s the recipe for a happy, healthy life – and the one you should be following.