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The Drama with Diets

Raise your hand if you’ve ever started a diet!

Great, now raise your hand if you lost weight on that diet!

Okay, now raise your hand if you’ve managed to keep the weight off that you’ve lost from said diet!

I’m going to go ahead and assume that less and less hands were raised, and also that you looked pretty silly raising your hands while reading this.

But why were less hands raised with each question? Why have so many of us started a diet but not finished it or got the results we wanted? Why have so many people not been able to keep off the weight they have successfully lost from their diets? These are frustrating yet honest questions that many people think about especially when looking back on their history of dieting.

The answers are simple, well, kind of. So many products in the weight loss industry are directed to the consumer who is unhappy, vulnerable, uneducated, and knows will not research the product. (Psst this also goes for the junk food/soda/fast food/tobacco companies that market to children or those is poorer areas).

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They feed of a consumer’s blind knowledge or vulnerability to sell their products. Do you think the above advertisement (I’m assuming for a weight loss pill or powder) will really help you lose 25 pounds in 2 weeks? FIRST OF ALL if you are losing that much in 2 weeks, you need to see a doctor immediately because my God that is certainly not healthy. But the fact that it was also advertised by NBC, CNN, and ABC is appalling. The companies producing this nonsense spend a majority of their revenue and investments on advertising. Do you know how much money a company has to spend to get their products advertised on those network stations? A BUTT LOAD THAT’S HOW MUCH.

Pro Tip: The more heavily advertised a product or service is, the less likely it is to truly be beneficial to you and your health.

Sure there are exceptions, but look at the advertisements for Coca-Cola compared to water. McDonalds advertisements compared to fruits and vegetables advertisements. They don’t even compare.

Now that you’ve been convinced by all over the media that a certain miracle pill will help you lose weight at a dangerously fast speed, you decide to pay way too much money for it. The directions usually involve you following a restrictive meal plan or guidelines in order to lose the desired amount of weight. The plan includes new foods you’ve never eaten before, or made, or even heard of. But hey, it will help you lose 25 POUNDS all by following these simple instructions.

If it’s a diet plan, you’ll likely have to commit to a lifestyle change which may be difficult or unrealistic to you. If you decide to go vegan know that it may be challenging if you often eat animal products now. If you decide to try keto but you don’t like nuts or cheese or love your carbs, it will not be easy for you. If you try Weight Watchers but the meals don’t taste very good to you or you don’t like counting meals, then it is going to be hard for you. But that is it, it is going to be hard.

You have more than likely, eaten the way you are eating now your entire life. Have you grown up on fast food? Soda? Large meals? Well changing that all at once is challenging. It took you years and years to develop the habits you have now, they will not suddenly change over night, even if you are motivated.

TIME AND PATIENCE

If you are truly dedicated to lose weight, be patient. It should be a slow, gradual process not a quick overnight (or two week) fix. Depending on your weight, age, and physical activity, standard weight loss should be between 0.5-2.0 lbs/ week. Your current weight will have the biggest factor in this. So be patient with yourself, it took years and years for you to be at the weight you currently are at. And though it may not take you years and years to lose it, it will be a gradual process. More changes may come in each week and non-scale victories may take over from the number on the scale for a bit.

Non-scale victories to be proud of:

  • Clothes fitting loser
  • More energy
  • Reaching for healthier options without questioning it
  • Increased strength and mobility
  • Increased quality of life

Now after you have reached a point where you have lost weight and you do not want to follow the diet patterns anymore, it can be tricky. Studies have shown that up to 95% of dieters gain back the weight they lost, most within the following year. Why? This often time has to do with not gradually introducing the foods the dieter was not once eating anymore. The introduction of more highly processed, sugary, high glycemic, calorically dense foods should be a slow process as well. If a dieter has been on the keto diet for 6 months, loses a good amount of weight then one day decides to give up and eat their previous portions of carbohydrates again, they are certainly going to gain weight again. However, if done slowly and gradually, it can be much more controlled. Often times, weight loss is avoidable when the diet changes however the amount can be controlled.

If you decide to follow a strict diet to lose weight, please remember to be patient with yourself! Make sure to do your research, make sure it is beneficial and not too restrictive, and make sure it is possible for you! If it seems too hard or becomes too difficult, it is okay to stop it at anytime! Listen to your body, feed it the nutrients it needs, and by helping your body flourish you are also helping yourself flourish as well.

Educate or Vegucate

One aspect of nutrition I find myself so passionate about is education. Can you blame  me? Nutrition education is lacking so much in our schools it’s scary. It is so surprising that such useful information that children and young adults can take with them to improve their lives, fight diseases, and nourish their bodies, is overlooked and underused in their education. In high school I only received two weeks worth of information but it was not something I found useless at the time and we weren’t taught exactly the best information. This is actually more than I’ve heard most people received from their schools.

I am so passionate about improving nutritional education in schools because people should know what they’re eating and how it affects their bodies. Food is so much more than taste or even smell. Food is what keeps us alive, motivated. Food is our saving grace and nutrients, oh nutrients. They are so insanely important to keeping us alive and breathing and running correctly that it is amazing now that so many people don’t realize their significance.

I currently work at summer camp on Tuesdays teaching children ages 4-14 about nutrition and wellness. It’s exciting hearing that kids know so many fruits and vegetables and even say that they eat them regularly. However, many kids don’t know too many and also don’t know why we need them. For the younger kids, we focus on introducing nutritious foods as well as emphasizing “Always” foods that kids can always reach for and “Sometimes” foods that kids should only sometimes be eating. The older kids are a little more fun to work with because they have started asking me questions about sports nutrition and how our bodies absorb nutrients. However, my heart truly breaks in two when young kids ask me about dieting and losing weight. Let’s not focus on weight loss but rather health gains!

This led me to creating this blog! I have always wanted to educate and inform people about the correct nutrition information in easy ways to understand it all. Trust me, it gets real complicated real fast. I decided to start a small segment called Vegucate. Get it? Like educate but with the little veg in the front (short for veggies, short for vegetables) I truly amaze myself with these stupid puns. Vegucate will be all about tackling the issues that I have learned thus far in nutrition that are so important yet so many people may not know. Stay tuned for some of the awesome topics I will cover and if you have any requests or suggestions do not hesitate to let me know!

My Beginnings

It’s only right that my first official blog post talks about how I got started loving the world of fitness. Truth be told, I wasn’t always the nutrition loving, weight lifting spirit I am now and my childhood is a weird reflection of where I once was.

Sports. Ah yes, so many of them. Your childhood was either filled with them or you ran far in the other direction. Mine was a weird mix of both. I often joined sports (softball, gymnastics, volleyball, field events for track, goalie for lacrosse) that required the least amount of running. Most were short lived and some I was told I just was not good at. I played sports throughout middle school and high school and even intramurals in college, but I was not a super star athlete by any means (except in my mom’s eyes).

Nutrition. Such a love/hate relationship with nutrition. For someone studying to be a Dietitian, you would think I eat health 24/7 and know everything about fruits and veggies. That is not always the case. I have a terrible tendency to snack, a lot, I am constantly thinking about food and will plan my days around what I am eating. I’m serious I do this, I always have. I was the pickiest eater growing up and up until I was about 18, I had a fear of trying new foods. At 16, I tried new foods that promised to help me lose weight or speed up my metabolism (hello 3 cups of green tea and hot sauce on everything). Growing up, I ate cucumbers and microwavable raviolis everyday for lunch and Gushers for a snack. I am 99% positive I didn’t have my first real glass of water until I was 16 years old. My body was 40% Pepsi 40% chocolate milk and 20% Gushers juice up until then.

So now that you’ve heard my somewhat terrifying backstory, how did I decide to change all that and become healthy? When I was 16 years old, I fell into the trap of Seventeen Magazine workouts and reading articles of girls losing weight by eating minimal calories. At my peak, I was running up to 9 miles a day and eating below 1000 kcal. I tried this, I thought I loved it, I was slowly killing myself. It took me awhile to dig myself out of this trap, yet when I did I found myself falling into a new one. This time, I ate everything I come in my cabinets and never even caring about a workout. I quickly gained weight and realized how out of control I had become from restricting myself for so long. I made a promise to myself that I would find a health relationship with myself again, and I did.

Through research of my own, taking health classes, and even realizing that this happens to so many people, I was able to slowly love my body again. I love how working out make me feel and seeing results is always a huge motivator. Eating right also makes me feel great as it provides me with energy to get through my day and to fuel my workouts. I have no shame in the occasional ice cream or burger, because balance. I love my body and what it can do for me.

I love my story, for it led me to where I am today.

I love my passion, it has brought me to so many new experiences.