The Big Lie: Part 1
Why Diets Don’t Work and Why We Should Seek Beauty and Wellness in Our Own Skin Today
words | Dr. Karen Prentice D.O. F.A.A.P., medical expert
Ok, we all ate too much during the holidays and probably didn’t exercise enough. Now with the thought of shorts, sundresses, prom dresses and …… yes, I’ll say it, swimming suits, right around the corner many of us will go into a panic and try some crazy diet or scheme to shed the extra weight. DON’T DO IT!!! Crazy diets, pills, powders, drinks, or simply starving yourself is an extremely dangerous thing to do and in the long run will not work.
The definition of a fad or crash diet is any diet that promotes quick weight loss by using diet pills, supplements, or extreme calorie or food group restrictions. This is hard on your body for many reasons. Many of the “diet pills” or supplements are not tested since they are considered a “food” product and not a medicine. In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not have to regulate them or guarantee their safety. So basically, you don’t know what exactly you are taking and what it will do to your body. Many of these products can cause liver, kidney, gallbladder or pancreas problems.
A major problem with extremely low calorie diets is that the diet deprives people of essential nutrients needed for day-to-day body function and for preventing disease. These diets can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance that can lead to heart problems. Calorie and/or carbohydrate restriction can cause your body to metabolize your muscles, not just your fat, as you hope, which can lead to decrease in muscle mass. Restricting calories and food groups can also cause low vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical levels which then can lead to immune system problems causing more frequent infections and illness.
The worst part is that many studies have shown that the majority of people who lose weight quickly on a “crash” diet, ultimately regain all the weight they lost and often weigh even more than when they started. Why? I believe the reason crash diets, pills or supplements do not work is that they do not teach you how to eat in a healthy fashion and exercise so that you can create balance and maintain a healthy weight.
So here is the big message that I want all of you to remember: LIKE WHO YOU ARE RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW! Too big, too small, just right, it doesn’t matter. True beauty comes from inside of you and seeps out like rays of sunshine. You were all made wonderfully and uniquely perfect. However, it’s your responsibility to nurture and care for yourself and part of doing that includes keeping a healthy weight. Please pay attention to this next piece of advice! A healthy weight does not necessarily mean being thin. In fact, many of us do not need to lose weight and just need to get in better shape, meaning working our muscles through exercises like yoga, dance, sports, or lifting weights and working our heart and lungs more through exercises or sports that involve walking, running, hiking, biking or swimming. Shoot for thirty minutes every day or every other day and work your way up to one hour a day. Find something you enjoy doing and you will have much better success.
Many of us also need to eat healthier. Eating healthy does not mean suffering! It does not mean eating a diet solely of lettuce and carrots. The goal of a healthy “diet” or what I prefer to call the goal of a nourishing diet means to take in foods that are real foods, not processed foods. Real foods provide your body with essential nutrients it needs such as protein found in fish, poultry, meat, beans or tofu; carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as rice, pasta, or quinoa; healthy fats found in olives, olive oil, avocado, dairy foods, and nuts; and of course water. Try to make half your plate vegetables and fruits and the other half a healthy protein and carbohydrate. Watch your portion size. A serving of meat or protein should be about the size of your palm, a serving of cheese the size of your thumb, and a serving of fruit or vegetables your entire fist. Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water a day. Avoid sodas, juices, and sugar drinks. Dink water or milk instead. Limit sweets and treats to once a week.
So as you start your new plan of eating healthier and exercising more, please remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Do the best you can and love yourself right here and right now just as you are. Being happy in your own skin is true beauty!