What Happens When You Diet Too Much?
Practically anything, when done excessively and over a long time period, damages your well-being. This is true of dieting, among other things. Many people desire to be very thin, but this may not be worth the potential results: growing old early and dying young. Always remember to take a balanced attitude to your dieting. If you try too hard to achieve what you have been told is the healthiest and most beautiful body, you might actually be committing slow suicide. Such are the dangers of chronic dieting.
A Matter of Definition
At this point, it helps to try to define exactly what it is to be a chronic dieter. The term refers to a person who is constantly placing strict limits on his or her food in order to reach a low weight or slim shape that would be unhealthy for his or her body type. This behavior can go on for a long time (often more than two years). The person often goes through a painful cycle of losing weight, but not enough of it (according to his or her impractical, unhealthy standards), gaining the weight back, and then trying to lose it again.
Chronic Dieting and Your Mind
As you have probably guessed, many people who practice chronic dieting have psychological issues. They are fixated on their bodies, and on how said bodies are perceived by others. However, such people need to learn that others' approval is not worth the cost of their own health, and that their sense of self-worth should come from themselves. Chronic dieting can also lead to a host of bad psychological effects. It is important, for the sake of the person's mental health, to break this cycle.
Chronic Dieting and Your Body
We have already stated that chronic dieting can have a terrible impact on your body. However, it is possible to state these effects more specifically? What does chronic dieting do to your body's organs and functions? Firstly, your metabolism can slow drastically, leading to much lower resting energy expenditure, or REE. Your insulin release systems will not function as well, which means that meals can destabilize your blood sugar levels, without any counteracting mechanism in your body to get your glucose levels back to normal. Your body fat levels can get higher, especially as you regain lost weight. Levels of important body chemicals may be affected (higher thyroxine, lower leptine, reversed triiodythronine levels). You will, perversely, be less able to control what you eat.
As far as your body goes, chronic dieting will actually be taking you further from your goals. You will not be healthier or slimmer, and you will probably be feeling exhausted and miserable, as well. Your life is also likely to be shorter.
Well, how do you lead a healthier, happier, fitter life without falling into the trap of chronic dieting?
Firstly, you can make exercise a part of your health regimen. 25 minutes of it daily should work.
Secondly, change your attitude towards food. The point is not to eat very little of it, but to eat healthily. For carbohydrates, eat products made from whole grains. Eat lots of organic fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Bolster your bones by taking in low-fat dairy products like skimmed milk. Strengthen your heart with foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed, avocado and salmon. These foods are healthy and delicious, too. You do not have to starve yourself, or go without pleasure in your meals.
In other words, chronic dieting must be replaced by a healthier, more well-balanced mindset that is not obsessed with image or what others think. Your own health is more important than following standards set by others. Take an approach that builds and maintains your health, and does not make you miserable. Health, remember, is supposed to raise your overall quality of life. It is quite sad that some people take an approach to "health" that brings about the exact opposite.
Also, try to learn and respect the way your body works. There are certain things about your body that you cannot change. Trying to warp your body against these "rules" will only make you unhealthy and unhappy. Combine healthy eating with exercise, and you will have a better body. Furthermore, try to manage your stress levels more effectively. Remember, your mental state and your eating habits (and overall health) are strongly linked together. If you take this path, you will not only be better off, but you will have a much better life overall.