by Muhibbah Khan
I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and passed by an advertisement on how to lose weight fast. I thought nothing of it and kept scrolling, but only a few minutes passed, and there it was again… and again… and again. I think within an hour I saw about 20 advertisements selling meal plans that would help you lose weight in a breeze and a dozen posts by influencers boasting about this new diet that completely transformed their bodies within two weeks. Interestingly, fad diets have existed for centuries and can be traced back to the Victorian era when people believed that drinking water with apple cider vinegar could cause weight loss (Khawandanah & Tewfik, 2016). Sound familiar? Yes, this fad diet is still being used to this day. A fad diet can be defined as “a weight loss plan that guarantees quick weight loss and dramatic results with not much effort” (Khawandanah & Tewfik, 2016). The reality is that there is no pill or diet that can magically make you lose weight and achieve your dream body within a few weeks. Although some fad diets may lead to the short-term results that you’re looking for, it’s important to remember that they do not help you achieve healthy, long-term goals.
More so, the social media-fueled obsession about attaining perfection with body weight can actually lead to many mental health issues. In fact, there have been studies completed which show that higher levels of social media use have a significant impact on the formation of negative body image issues and the possible development and perpetuation of eating disorders (Padín, González-Rodríguez, Verde-Diego, Vázquez-Pérez, 2021). The goal should not be to attain perfection, but rather to obtain a healthy lifestyle that supports and boosts our physical and mental health. So how can you work on achieving this healthy lifestyle? Here are some tips:
- Know and Respect your body: Try to understand how it works, don’t let it crave as this would only slow down the metabolic processes of the body and would harm the reactions occurring in the system. Long gaps between your meals and extreme fasting can really be harmful and affect you psychologically (Jain, 2020).
- Moderation is the key: A balanced diet is technically a combination of all food groups in your meal throughout your whole day. The best advice you can get from your nutritionist or a health care professional is to eat all the food groups in a day except for food allergies and other therapeutic concerns. Don’t go off carbs or dairy, if you don’t have any specific problem. Stay wise to your body, Eat right (Jain, 2020).
- Regular exercise regime and meditation: Changing the mind game is directly related to a healthy body and a healthy soul. Exercise regularly to restrict the hormonal rush to quit and indulge. Meditation does result in a better understanding of self and hence aids the body processes. Reading motivational quotes right in the morning before starting the day has been proved to be beneficial and helps in sticking to the goals (Jain, 2020).
- Don’t Give Up: Remember that consistency is the key to everything. That being said, we are all human and there may be times that your consistency wavers and that is okay. Just remind yourself to get back on track. Write out the goals that you would like to achieve for your physical and mental health and always go back to them on the days that you may lose motivation. Try not to obtain “perfection”, but rather work on creating a healthy lifestyle by getting proper amounts of sleep, making healthy eating choices, and exercising daily.
Jain, V. (2020, May 19). 15 tips to stay consistent on a healthy diet from nutritionist. NDTV.com. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from https://www.ndtv.com/health/15-tips-to-stay-consistent-on-healthy-diet-from-nutritionist-2230911
Khawandanah, J., & Tewfik, I. (2016). FAD diets: Lifestyle promises and health challenges. Journal of Food Research, 5(6), 80. https://doi.org/10.5539/jfr.v5n6p80
Padín, P. F., González-Rodríguez, R., Verde-Diego, C., & Vázquez-Pérez, R. (2021). Social Media and eating disorder psychopathology: A systematic review. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 15(3). https://doi.org/10.5817/cp2021-3-6