Thursday, June 7, 2012

Live and Let Live. Eat and Let Eat.

"The way for a young [person] to rise, is to improve himself/[herself] every way he can, never suspecting that any body wishes to hinder him" -Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to William Herndon July 10th 1848

Many of you have likely heard of at least a handful of fad diets, and more than half of you have likely tried at least one. Fad diets, such as the Cabbage Soup Diet, Apple Cider Vinegar Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, and yes, even the Tapeworm Diet contribute nothing but guilt, angst, and harmful health conditions to our bodies and minds. The reason why diets don't work is quite simple. Basically, your body will be very angry at you and it will not do what you want. Even if initial weight loss occurs, you are highly likely to gain it back, and when you do, you will have lost lean muscle and will gain back fat tissue which is a lot harder to lose again. Hence the phrase "yo-yo dieting." It's no wonder why then that these 32 women have decided to quit dieting.

It would be naive to say that people, especially Americans, do not need some guidance in food choices. In fact, the dire need we have as a society to learn more about making healthy choices for our bodies is the driving force behind why I became a Registered Dietitian. But simply put, fad diets just aren't fair to the public and they are not the solution. With internet capabilities today, everyone has a megaphone and can use it to distribute information - whether it's accurate and science-based or not. This poses a very scary situation for us and can lead to major guilt complexes mentally, and physically could lead to a whole host of problems (some life-threatening). In some cases, false and frankly DANGEROUS information is easy to spot.  But in other cases, science-talk can be used to confuse consumers into thinking that the body can be manipulated into losing weight unnaturally. This is no joke and it's a huge hazard to our society.

Your body and mind are the vehicles for your spirit in this life, and only you have the power to treat them with the care and respect they deserve. That means appreciating your body for all the amazing things it can do and doing that frequently. Dance or sing, walk or run, jump, sleep, love, eat food that is whole, fresh and leaves you feeling satisfied and good....these are some of the things that you have the opportunity to enjoy simply because you are a person. And no guilt should surround them. Too often do we put stress on ourselves to be perfect, and as we we've discussed before, perfection is just an illusion.

If you are hoping to improve your nutrition and health, it's important to seek information from a trusted source who can help guide you - like a Registered Dietitian and your family doctor. And just as importantly, if you want to be successful in your quest, you have to learn to love and respect your body. We are not science projects. We are human beings.

Send us a story about your relationship with food at iamguiltless@gmail.com. 

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