Take a look at this article on spiked, a website that touts itself as “an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.” I don’t know anything about the site, except that I like what this article on dieting has to say.
Particularly cogent excerpts:
Research finds that 90 per cent of American high school girls are dieting, despite the fact that many are not overweight or obese.
Almost half of these girls restricted their food intake to a mere 1,200 calories a day or less. The World Health Organization defines starvation as a diet of less than 900 calories per day, yet many diets only allow between 950 and 1,200 calories per day.
A review of the major commercial weight loss programs concluded that even the comparatively successful programmes were characterized by ‘high costs, high attrition rates, and a high probability of regaining 50 per cent or more of lost weight in one to two years’.
The difficulties of dieting are usually put to one side when compared to the alleged health benefits. After all, don’t people who lose weight have a lower risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes? But those who accept the evidence about the dangers of obesity, based on epidemiological studies, should also be aware that there is equally strong evidence from such studies that dieting is bad for you. A National Institutes of Health conference that reviewed the evidence about dieting concluded: ‘Most studies, and the strongest science, shows weight loss… is actually strongly associated with increased risks of death – by as much as several hundred per cent.’
So what is someone who is clearly out of shape and unhealthy to do? Get healthy with a healthy lifestyle. That means eating well, moving your body regularly and thinking positively. It’s a far stretch from dieting because it’s something you can do for a lifetime – it actually feels good! – and it supports your body instead of creating problems for it.
For help on thinking differently about eating well, physical activity and positive thinking, check out recommended reading on Green Mountain’s site. And let us know if there are any topics you’d like to hear more about.