There have never been so many different diets around and yet we know that many people suffer from being overweight. If the media is to be believed the western world is suffering from the worst plague of all eating disorders – obesity. Most people – women at least – have tried dieting at some time in their lives. Sometimes they achieve their goal to lose weight; sometimes they don’t. The main trouble is the weight usually goes back on once the diet is no longer followed.
This must tell us that what people have for their ‘normal’ food is not good for them, causing excessive weight gain that is bad for their health. And yet, even this is not the whole story. In some cases we have the kind of jobs that don’t allow us to have enough exercise to burn off those calories, but still make us too tired to do any kind of exercise after work is done for the day. Or in some cases we are too busy doing other essentials like housework and supervising children to hit the gym or go jogging.
This is where dieting comes in. Once that weight starts to become more noticeable we look around for ways to reduce it. But is dieting really the answer? Here are some pros and cons of dieting.
- It does in some cases help to get unhealthy weight off.
- It gives us a feeling of control because we are doing something to make us healthier.
- We learn more about healthy nutrition as we research which diet to go on.
- We become more aware of what we eat.
- Not all diets are healthy so we might miss out on the nutrition we really need.
- If dieting fails we can feel miserable or even depressed.
- Dieting sometimes makes us cranky because we feel hungry.
- Calories are ‘feel good’ foods so when we cut back we don’t feel as good.
Often it is a real challenge to stay on a diet – whether it is working well or not. Some diets change the foods we eat that are familiar and that we like, so we feel deprived. Food is a part of our culture that is used to help us celebrate and have fun, so when we are deprived of it we feel it at a deeper, emotional level than just our physical appetite. This is a big reason why people often can’t stay on diets for long enough to make a real difference to their weight.
Eating a diet that does not change the foods we eat and like – at least not very much – is likely to be much more successful than going on a diet that is completely different from our normal food.