Diet fads cautioned in pursuit of perfection

Justyce Mirjanovic

In today’s society, there is a lot of emphasis on having the perfect body. Models featured in magazines and runway shows are an unrealistic dream in most cases.

Dieting has been around for quite some time and there are all kinds of products and ads that suggest it can be effective and easy to lose weight.

Dieting can be effective for a short period of time, but usually not in the long run and sometimes it can be at the expense of one’s health.

“It requires a full lifestyle type of a change for most people and that’s the reason why trying to lose weight and keep it off is such a struggle because your biological system are designed to treat calories like gold,” said nutrition professor Lynn Hanna.

Hanna explained the rules of calories in a very relatable way. When someone receives a paycheck and after paying all the bills still has money left over, they are not going to throw away the extra money. Usually, one would save it.

“The body does the same thing with calories, anything that has potential calories in it, it saves it in the form of fat for later on and if you are constantly getting paid a little more than you need to have, it tends to accumulate over time,” Hanna said.

If a person is eating less calories than usual, they are going to lose weight.

One can follow a specific diet and see results, but once they go back to their regular eating pattern, they will pack on the pounds again.

“If you eat less you will lose weight but it may deprive your body of needed nutrients that will affect your health plus if you don’t follow it then you will not keep the weight off,” said nutrition professor Wendy Buchan. “But this answer all depends upon the diet.”

There is no doubt dieting can help one lose weight, but in order for it to be long-term a person should change their lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more effective, and it ensures that one gets all the nutrients the body needs.

“You have to approach it from more of a lifestyle change, an attitude change, behavior change and something that’s going to be very very long term,” Hanna said.

Junior communication studies major Shaquia Salvador has tried a diet where the only food she ate was salad.

“Honestly I was only able to stick to that diet for about two weeks because I felt very weak and I was always hungry,” Salvador said.

Salvador thinks dieting only works well when a person is exercising regularly, otherwise they will lose more muscle than fat.

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier because people are managing daily what they consume and they are training themselves on what they should and should not eat,” Salvador said.

If a person is looking to lose weight on a short-term basis, dieting would be suitable for them. On the other hand, if someone is looking to lose weight and feel good on a long-term basis, changing their lifestyle is a better route to take.

“People who are successful with that type of approach are the ones who have support groups around them, have family support them in their efforts,” Hanna said. “They are active in trying to seek out information and avoid the trendy types of things.”

Hanna said research suggests if a person’s weight fluctuates up and down throughout their lifetime, they have more of a chance of developing a complicated disease, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.

It is good to start a healthy lifestyle at a young age because one can avoid ever having to deal with weight issues.

“I love to eat so I have never “dieted” per se, but I have tried to eat healthier and exercise and when I do, I look and feel better,” Buchan said.