Have you ever walked down the magazine aisle and took inventory of all the diet-related topics that appear on the cover of countless health, fitness, and beauty magazines? It never ceases to amaze me how many new diet plans and products are being introduced to the public almost on a daily basis; not to mention the many celebrity spokespersons that serve to make them “trendy”. So what’s the allure of these so-called “fad diets”? Most of them carry promises of rapid weight loss and some might even produce short-term results for the willing consumer. However, they’re called “fads” for a reason – they are only popular for a season because there is always another diet right around the corner that offers better results with less effort. Many times people get caught in the never-ending cycle of yo-yo dieting as a result of unfulfilled weight expectations. What was once effective for weight loss or body sculpting is no longer effective, thus opening the door for yet another diet plan to pick up where the last left off.
Some individuals may choose to follow in a family member’s or close friend’s footsteps when it comes to dieting, while others may seek information and support from online blogs or magazine articles. No matter the source, I have found that most individuals are steered in the same general direction towards a lifestyle of dieting rather than one of healthful eating. When did we as a culture stop trusting that a balance between nutrition and physical activity would lead to a healthy body both physically and mentally? How did we become so enthralled with the dieting industry that we could no longer see the reality it produced? I suppose it would be easy to blame the media for their constant promotion of weight and body-centered products, but I believe that it goes much deeper than that.
Disordered eating patterns of all kinds are rarely about food or weight. Wanting to be accepted and approved of, as well as a desire to have more control over one’s life are significant issues for most individuals who find themselves trapped in a cycle of dieting or extreme eating behaviors. Although changes in food and weight may seemingly lead to increased acceptance or approval by others, it places an unrealistic expectation on a person to keep achieving the applauded results. A desire for increased control in areas of your life that seem chaotic could lead to a heightened focus on food and weight. Addressing the underlying issues that have lead to obsessive thoughts and extreme behaviors is a crucial step in moving beyond the vicious cycle of dieting.
I encourage you to be a cautious consumer of food and health-related information. Purpose to think twice about the information you hear and read. Seek the advice of trained health professionals before considering any type of dietary change and always remember to treat your body with the respect and honor it deserves. 1 Corinthians 6:19 compares our bodies to the sacredness of a temple. Are you treating your body in a manner that is pleasing or has there been damage done to your temple? Take an inventory of your eating habits and behaviors and carefully consider their role in the edification or destruction of your body.
It can feel overwhelming at times to sift through the abundance of information we receive regarding health and wellness. Please visit the websites below for helpful information on deciphering the truth among many myths.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
~Ashlee Overstreet, Supervisor of Dietetic Services
Canopy Cove’s Eating Disorder Treatment Programs offer compassionate, comprehensive treatment for females, males, adolescents, and adults, who are struggling with Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorders and Co-Existing Diabetes, Depression, and Anxiety. Equine-Assisted Therapy is an weekly part of the Recovery process at Canopy Cove.
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