With obesity at epidemic proportions, it’s not surprising that dieting is a huge national pastime. Whether they’re cutting out carbs, drastically reducing calories, eliminating gluten, or cutting out animal-based foods, Americans love to modify their eating habits to solve problems of weight or poor health. But could our diets actually be doing more harm than good?
The problem with going on a diet is that it’s a mindset of temporary change. This can work, at least at first, but especially when the change is drastic, it’s difficult to maintain. So while you might initially see a drop in weight, when you revert to your regular habits, you’re likely to gain the weight back.
Even worse, diets can be harmful to your health. Repeatedly reducing your caloric intake in a dramatic way can weaken your heart, putting you at higher risk for heart attacks. Opting for a low-fat diet can actually encourage unhealthy eating, as people choose highly processed low-fat foods full of sugar over higher fat whole foods with important nutrients. Low-fat diets can actually lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol, and they have not been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
What of diets meant to promote good health? The best way to improve your health is to make a permanent shift in your mindset, focusing on consuming real foods that fuel your body with necessary nutrients, rather than highly processed foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar, fat, and chemicals. Often, diets that eliminate a certain type of food are essentially a fad, and should be avoided. If you believe that you have health issues that warrant a change in diet, talk to a nutritionist for advice, or see an allergist to determine what’s best for you.
So how do you create real change in your body, without harming it through fad diets? The best way to build a healthy body and mind is by creating real change in your life. You can start out with small changes, like striving to eat more fruits and vegetables, or going for a walk three times a week. Set small but reasonable goals for yourself, which you can sustain over a long period of time. Seek balance in your life, working to nourish your body, mind, and spirit by connecting with things that bring you joy, rather than short-term pleasure.
At our clinic, we work with patients to help them find the kind of life balance that puts them on the path to optimal wellness. This includes helping them establish good eating practices, to build lifelong healthy dietary choices. To learn how we can help you reach your wellness goals, visit us online or call today for a free consultation.