Are the mental outcomes of a fad diet worth it? Or is feeling overwhelmed more acceptable than facing the truth that most of us – ninety-five percent actually, simply aren’t built to be wafer-thin?
Diets have been known to make me feel overwhelmed in the past – just ask my family. I was angry and annoyed at everyone, and just downright rude most of the time. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, I decided to do some research on what I had already imagined must be true.
The link between poor diets and depression is something scholars and mental health physicians have been researching for years – including the impact of chronic dieting on our mental well being.
Here are some facts to ponder:
- 45% of women within the United States are dieting at any given time.
- 7 million women are clinically depressed within the United States.
- Women experience depression twice as much as men do.
- Americans spend $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products – Bloomberg Business week. PRO: A Pound of Trash
Fad diets, with their lack of nutrients, may promote depression by stressing our bodies and making it difficult to produce dopamine and serotonin (natural happy chemicals). Our bodies actually need the foods that we deprive ourselves of while dieting. Sadly, we suffer deprivation in order to look like the celebrities in the magazines. We have forgotten that true self-esteem is built by doing estimable acts, like helping others, saying “no” to things that do not benefit us, honoring our truth and following our dreams.
When we place an impossible expectation on the human body/psyche, it is going to set us up for failure, and, inevitably create more self-doubt. And if we go through this cycle long enough, it can lead to depression…and for some of us, an eating disorder.
When it becomes more important to keep up with the Joneses, where does that leave us spiritually, emotionally and physically?
Our power as individuals is found in honoring who we are or as I like to say, “having your own back”. Eat what your body’s intelligence asks for because when we listen to this intelligence we get exactly what our body needs. When we honor ourselves, we honor who we are as unique individuals, and that is where our self worth and self esteem is built. Also, when you honor yourself by not depriving your mind, body and spirit, you honor those around you as well.
The truth is: we can be at a optimum weight and feel wonderful at the same time. Deprivation has never been the answer.
How can you end dieting?
- Stop seeking solutions in the fad diets: With every diet comes a binge. When you stop dieting you will also decrease the need to eat all that you say you “can’t have.”
- Throw away all your diet books: If needed throw away all your diet books, magazines that you bought in order to follow a celebrity diet. Instead, before every meal choice, ask yourself: Does my body really want this? If the answer is no, don’t eat it.
- Every meal: Eat protein, grains and vegetables at every meal. Here’s the thing: if you eat what you want at every meal and dont overeat (because you are going to start a diet tomorrow) then the choices you make will not ever equate to a binge – which is what puts on weight in the first place.
- Put Exercise in its place: Exercise has been totally taken out of context in our culture. When we think about exercise, we tend to think about weight loss. But exercise brings with it so much more. It builds serotonin in the brain, it helps us sleep bette; provides more energy than coffee and sustains our state of being. Try putting exercise back in its place by walking 30 minutes a day and no longer. Let it become more about “all of you” than just your looks.
- Make a goal list for your life purpose: What do you think you would achieve if you shifted all the energy you placed on body and transferred it to following your dreams? Try it.
- Redefine your own definition of “Beautiful.” Don’t be a sheep. Question what “beautiful” really means to you. Who the hell wants to look like some barbie clone anyway? Take a moment and truly ponder what you find authentically beautiful. You may surprise yourself.
If we do not acknowledge our truth and what we need for ourselves (diet included), then who will? The answers to weight loss and body acceptance is held within your body’s intelligence. Get in tune with this intelligence and your best body will follow.
Today, I will honor my body’s intelligence by saying no to diets and yes to defining my own beautiful!