TALK: What is a diet?

As this is a very frequent question that comes up for teenage girls, I felt I should address this question to the best of my abilities and answer some of the lingering questions you all may have about this subject. I have done a lot of research on the teenage palate and would like to provide the best answer to the questions listed above, however, I would like to note that I am not a dietitian and my information comes only from reliable sources and studies. If at anytime you have a remaining question or would like to know more about something discussed here, please feel free to comment below or send me an email.

What is a Diet?

The definition for a diet means the food eaten by a certain individual or group of people. This definition is much different from the modern-day diet, which means a whole different thing and involves restrictive eating for a desired outcome.

In a modern-day sense, a diet is a sort of food plan or meal plan that often restricts and prohibits certain types of food from being eaten. These types of diets are usually done for weight-loss, to become skinnier, or to “look better.” There are also detox-diets, that are conducted to eliminate toxins in the body through dieting.

Different Types of Diets

There are several different types of diets. Most of their aims are for weight-loss. Often times, diets tend to have low carbohydrates throughout meals to avoid more calories.

Carbohydrates are healthy to eat and make up 60% of the energy that the human body needs, so eliminating an entire food group is not healthy and will deprive your body of the energy it needs throughout the day. The types of carbohydrates you choose to eat are important. You can choose complex carbohydrates that fuel your body with sustaining energy and keep you feeling full, or you can choose to eat simple carbohydrates that are made of sugar and only give you a little bit of short-lasting energy. To read more about the different types of carbohydrates, click HERE.

There are also other types of diets like gluten-free and vegan diets, which are sometimes used to lose weight, however, many times these types of diets are used for people who cannot process certain foods. Celiac disease, for example, disables people from eating gluten and therefore have gluten-free diets. Vegan diets eliminate diary and products made by animals (like meat and eggs). People who are have a lactose intolerance often take vegan diets. Gluten-free and vegan diets are often done for other reasons besides weight-loss. These are among the most common form of diets.

Should I diet? What should I do if I want to lose weight?

These are common questions asked by teenagers, so do not feel alone if you are asking yourself these question.

According to the Huffington Post, 40% of teenage girls in the U.K. from the ages of 10-11 want to lose weight. 54% of 13-14 year old girls in the U.K. would like to lose weight and the number increases to 63% among 15-16 years old.

The Daily Mail reports that 90% of teenager girls in the U.K. are discontent with her own body shape. 19% of these teenagers, nearly a fifth, have admitted to having an eating disorder.

First, I would like to say that each of you all are beautiful and talented individuals. I have no doubt that everyone reading this has unique aspects to his or herself that this world needs! So, if you are feeling sad or negative about yourself, cheer up! You’re awesome!

Adults diet to lose weight. However, choosing to do a very restrictive diet does not guarantee weight loss, and diets like these do not teach people how to create balanced meals and become educated on the food groups necessary for the human body.

I do not feel you should seek to lose weight in order to look a certain way. Every human body is created so differently and come in all different shapes and sizes that we cannot compare one body to another. You should make the decision to care about your health to honor your body. This means you should strive to live healthy by eating well, exercising regularly and having good mental health.

If you feel that you want to get strong and care for your health by selecting balanced meals and food, I am happy that you are making the choice to honor your health! To start doing this, I recommended checking out my Welcome blog (click on Welcome to see that blog). It offers a plan for those who want to take steps toward eating well.

Educate yourself about what it means to eat right! Knowledge is power. Learn about the food groups and how to create balanced meals by checking out my Overview of Food Groups & Classifications that will instruct you about all the different food groups and answer some questions about carbs, proteins, what vitamins are, etc.

Remember, too, that eating well is only part of honoring your body. Don’t forget to get at least an hour of exercise a day (as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture) and mental health is just as important, too!

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders originate from a variety of reasons. Among those reasons may dissatisfaction with the way one looks. Unfortunately, many teenagers and adults are unhappy with the way they look and hope that by doing extreme diets (where not enough food is being eaten) he or she will lose weight or look better.

Not eating enough food is not good! If you cut out food groups, your body will be deprived of the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and energy it needs to function.

Anorexia is one of the common eating disorders. The National Eating Disorder Association says anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss. People will anorexia often eat fewer calories than the appropriate amount for his or her age.

Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating (definition taken from the National Eating Disorder Association). A person who has bulimia nervous often tries to throw up after eating to avoid gaining weight.

Binge Eating is a disorder in which a person overeats without control of what they are eating. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, binge eating is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort).

Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder:

It is important to know of warning signs of eating disorders in order to get help as soon as possible for people who have these disorder. Remember, eating disorders are life-threatening. The warning signs below are provided by the National Eating Disorder Association.

  • A person might have an eating disorder if he or she denies feeling hungry
  • If there is evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food
  • If there is evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics
  • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
  • If a person has undergone extreme weight loss

To learn more about eating disorders, go to the National Eating Disorder Association webpage. Their website provides additional information about types of eating disorders, warning signs, and treatment for these disorders.

If you or someone you know has any of these eating disorders, tell a parent or a trusted adult. It is so important to get help! You can also call a free hotline from the National Eating Disorder Association to get help: 1-800-931-2237

Do not forget how fantastic of a person you are! You deserve to treat your body well by eating healthy! Eating right does not mean dieting. Being healthy does not mean dieting. It means learning how to create balanced and healthy meals that will benefit your body and making sure to be in good physical and mental health as well.

I hope this post educated you (or if you are a parent reading this: either yourself or your children) about what diets are and how doing restrictive dieting is not healthy for your body because they often times cut out large amounts of food groups, if not, they cut out food groups entirely.

I would also like to add that dietary restrictions like gluten-free, lactose-intolerance, going vegan, and others are okay for those whose bodies cannot process certain foods or for those who wish to avoid animal products. Overall, I think that these diets are personal choices and done for other reasons than for losing weight. Some people find that eliminating certain foods helps their bodies feel better and that is totally fine!

Feel free to comment below on any questions or thoughts you have on this post. You can email me at talkbyvictoria@gmail.com.

Follow this blog for more information about your health, including advice and recipes! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest: @talkbyvictoria

Have a lovely day and much love!

xoxo, Victoria

 

Photo credits: 39138189-healthy-wallpapers

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