TW: weight loss, dieting, mental health, eating disorders
Our society has pushed the narrative of ‘summer bodies’ for too long, which is a problem itself, but many have capitalized on it by offering ‘miracle weight loss plans just in time for summer’.
The bottom line is, weight loss fads do nothing but harm to your body and mind. You’re hurting your body by not providing it with proper nutrition and you’re hurting your mind because of the unrealistic expectations you have for your body. When your body doesn’t morph and change the way the fad tells you it will, negative feelings toward your body and/or eating disorders could follow. So why even try them in the first place?
Easier said than done. I know how hard it is to avoid unhealthy weight loss fad diets but trust me, disconnecting yourself from that world does wonders for your mind, body and spirit! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Understand the science behind why fad diets don’t work
Like I said before, fad diets do more harm than good and by that I mean they do no good at all. Not only do they deprive you of things you want, they can increase your chances of developing an eating disorder.
For example, restricting your diet to exclude certain foods can lead to stronger cravings, which could lead to binge eating and increase an unhealthy relationship between you and your body. This can create a never-ending cycle of weight fluctuation and dissatisfaction.
Know the health risks of fad dieting
Not giving your body essential vitamins and nutrients could have a lot of harmful side effects like feeling fatigued, dizzy, nauseous, etc., and these are just the temporary side effects. You could subject your body to malnutrition and dehydration, leading to even more problems.
Not to mention, the mental health risks of fad diets. Developing an unhealthy relationship with food to the point where you feel guilty for eating what you want is all too common. This unhealthy relationship with food can lead to an unhealthy relationship with yourself which in turn affects every aspect of your life.
Love your body
With that being said, let’s learn to love ourselves as we are. I get that being kind to yourself after years of not isn’t an easy thing to do, but everything takes time and effort. A book on how to stop sabotaging and start caring for yourself is Shannon Kaiser’s, The Self-Love Experiment. It’s definitely on my list of books to read because self-love can always get stronger.
Adding different self-care techniques into my daily life has helped me too! It can be anything nice for yourself from stretching and meditation to taking yourself on a date. These methods have helped me so much on my self-love journey and I hope they’ll have the same effect on you!
When to get help
Sometimes, a few tips aren’t enough. If you feel like food, weight, dieting or more are becoming your obsession and taking over your life, then seek help. There are so many different organizations and professionals out there that are able and willing to help. A few are as follows:
- National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
- Eating Disorder Hope
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Mental Health America (MHA) – Affiliate Resource Center
- Mental Health America (MHA) – Screening
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)