For hundreds of years, we have fought what seems like a losing battle with fat. From diets of vinegar to swallowing tape-worms, people have sacrificed taste, fun, and even their lives for a chance to wear skinny jeans. The need to lose weight fast has also fuelled the diet and fitness industry to offer powders, programs, and pills that claim to leave you long, lean, and ready for the beach in just 6- to 12-weeks! Unfortunately, all the average dieter will find in these quick fixes is disappointment on the weight loss roller coaster (while promising themselves that this time will be different)…isn’t that the definition of insanity?
The desire to look good is first and foremost in many people’s minds. There will always be a new diet regime or exercise program that promises impressive results. So if we generally know diets don’t work and exercise regimes are quickly dropped…why do we continue to believe the next one is “the one”? The fact is, our wishful shrinking is not only making us fatter, but this false hope leads to nothing but shame, guilt, and a feeling of failure (not to mention a double date with Ben & Jerry). The following offers a glimpse into the dark side of our need to diet and offers a new shift towards a healthier strategy…
Almost every diet begins with an introductory list of the bad foods and good foods. Labeling foods good, bad, or ugly is the first step to cultivating a disordered relationship with food. In fact, there is no such thing as a bad food, it’s all just food. In addition, when one eats a “bad food” it is usually followed by feelings of guilt and shame. The scary fact of the matter is dieting is one of the main causes of eating disorders. Something that starts out so benign and in the name of health can end up taking our joy, our spirit, and our lives.
For parents, it is important to role model the behaviors and attitudes you want your children to adopt as healthy adults. Avoid labeling food and place focus on the healthy, whole foods like vegetables, fruit, grains, and meats or alternatives. It is also important to enjoy the fun foods once in a while, as a family, without denouncing them as bad. It’s a tough job for anyone to avoid the influences of our diet culture, but establishing a healthy relationship with the food on our plates is a great start to a healthy mind and body.