About one-third of Americans are extremely over-weight, which may be why crash dieting is beginning to plague America. It’s estimated that Americans alone spend 80-100 billion dollars on weight loss tactics. People go on these diets to get quick results but are these results hurting them more than helping? The answer is Yes! The only way to safely and effectively lose weight is through old-fashioned exercise and the right diet. You cannot successfully lose weight by simply cutting food from your diet or taking some pills, it is necessary to work for your results. Without depriving your body of necessary nutrients through dieting, you can lose fat and get the body you’ve always dreamed of, or at least one you’re more comfortable with.
The quote “The effects of the current obsession with dieting can be devastating”, said by Mr. Woodworth, a long time exercise and nutrition expert, summarizes the dangers of dieting. The many dangerous methods of losing weight: so called “dieting” or starvation/fad diets, pills and drugs, over-exercising, surgery, and eating disorders, have taken many casualties. Many people go on “diets”, a word so commonly misused, to get quick results of weight loss. Perhaps the most common is minor starvation and fad dieting. This method is when people become over concerned with calorie intake. Many deaths have been associated with low calorie diets. By trying to shed pounds simply by cutting all fat from the diet greatly increases the risk of getting cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. That “low-fat” trap gets people hooked on reduced-fat snacks or possibly not eating at all. So now the body is being deprived of necessary nutrients not available in any pill or liquid form. Yes cutting fat and cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but nutrient poor diets have an even larger risk of getting those diseases along with many others. Of course a large percent of dieters will lose weight but they will feel depressed afterward and gain back even more than before they started the diet. The reason why is because they are losing “healthy” weight along with the fat they were hoping to rid of. In an infomercial with Tony Little, he showed a graph of what the body loses when someone goes on a diet. By cutting back on foods, the body becomes deprived of very important nutrients. Then when it seems you are losing weight, what you are actually losing is fat AND MUSCLE. Many times, more lean muscle than fat will be lost. And although they may look slimmer because their size is smaller, they are actually weaker and more susceptible to injuries due to losing “healthy” weight. Healthy weight is muscle and bone weight, the things that support your structure and enable you to perform rigorous activities. A lot of the time “healthy” weight is misinterpreted, especially in females. Which leads to an amazing fact that 62% of women and 44% of men that are dieting aren’t even overweight! But they are misled when they step on the bathroom scale and “My God” look what it says! They are not realizing that muscle outweighs fat over 2:1. Therefor, many people may think they are fat even though they may be healthy. I myself am an example of that. On a height and age chart it says my ideal weight for my height is 155 pounds. I am 168, so does that mean that I am overweight? Not necessarily. Charts and stuff are made for averages and trends because when doing a body fat testing I had only 10.8% body fat which is below the average for people my age and size. So the bathroom scale scares many people into believing that they need to lose weight when it may not be necessary. On top of overweight people dieting we also have healthy people dieting, both of which are extremely dangerous. Thus, the fad diet/starvation method should be completely avoided because simple “dieting” is just a stepping stone that may lead to much more serious things that become life changing or life threatening..
What started as a simple “diet” may have progressed into another dangerous way of losing weight through pills or drugs and eating disorders. How wonderful it would be if we could all take a couple of pills a day and not worry what else we may eat all while obtaining that body we yearn for. Unfortunately, we don’t have that pill and probably never will so avoid the dangerous imitations out there. What is not told about these miracle pills that make you have the body of your dreams is that they cause fatigue, hyperphagia, insomnia, mood changes, irritability and if really abused psychosis. While claiming to boost your metabolism, reduce fat, and suppress your appetite they may become addicting and your body may eventually depend upon them. Many of these pills contain untested chemicals and slip by the FDA by claiming that they are food supplements not drugs. And while each year many deaths are due to these products they are still being used by seven percent of adolescent girls in the U.S. and thirty-four percent have at least tried them. Furthering the risk of complications in life and leading many times to death along with dieting. People with eating disorders are believed to be the result from the 70 million Americans who diet each year, lose the weight, regain the weight, and then diet again. They, instead of going back to dieting once more, become anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Anorexia is when an individual is more than 15 percent under expected weight, fears gaining weight, females have amenorrhea (males lose sex drive) and abnormal eating habits. They simply restrict food because the pleasure in eating food is overwhelmed by guilt and anxiety. About 1 in every 100 girls between 12-18 years of age are affected. The complications of anorexia are dehydration, gastrointestinal bleeding, chest pain, low heart rate, abnormal temperature, bone growth retardation or osteoporosis, infertility, dry skin and hair, constipation, epileptic seizures, the list still goes on. An awful lot just to lose some weight don’t you think? Many people who simply use the fad diet method get the urge to lose more weight and that is when they resort to the life threatening disorder of anorexia. Approximately one-third of anorexics become bulimia nervosa’s. These are people who binge eat then purge themselves by vomiting. They become isolated and depressed and have a low self-esteem. What’s worse though is that physically these people seem healthy but if you look close they develop finger calluses or lesions, puffy cheeks , and erosion of enamel on their teeth due to the stomach acids so frequently eating away at it. It is in everyone’s best interest to avoid dieting and the other methods of losing weight that come with it because there is a major difference between dieting and having a healthy diet (food choice).
To overcome these weight problems and lead a healthier life you need look no further than a couple isles over from where you usually shop in the market and a little bit of good old exercise. First off there is one important thing you must know abut trying to lose weight the correct way, it’s just like trying to become a millionaire, it takes some work and some time. Losing weight the correct way will take longer than a crash diet but it is a much safer method not to mention more permanent. This may be the tricky part for most people, laying of the junk food. It is ok to have junk food occasionally but making it an everyday thing will really lengthen the weight loss process especially if you are older. The main entr?e needs to be starchy foods. It has been said that breads are fatty but they contain no more calories per gram than lean meat. These foods tends to expand once in your stomach making you feel a little more full and giving you less of an urge to eat and really stuff yourself. When you stuff yourself your stomach grows just like when you exercise a muscle, the next time you will need more food to satisfy it. Avoid the breads made with lots of oil or butter and ones you need to put spreads on for flavor. It is wise to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Greener foods tend to help metabolism (the chemical that helps you break down food) better and are recommended. Although McDonalds has Americas favorite fries, you better avoid that and any other type of fried potato including potato chips. Even though they are vegetables they have been doused with fatty oils. Dairy products are necessary foods so opt for the skim milk, nonfat yogurt, and low-fat cheese. You’ll acquire a taste for them and appreciate it in the long run. Protein is another necessary food that you must watch carefully. Trim all visible fat off before steaming, grilling, baking or poaching. Notice I did not say frying! Frying requires oil and oil is a main ingredient you want to avoid. Cutting down on fats is the best approach when you are attempting to make an appropriate diet. You do not want to eliminate all fats but minimizing them helps. Calories are too often worried about. It’s like saying, don’t fill up the car past ? of a tank because it might not run as well. Calories are energy and energy is necessary. Now that doesn’t mean fill up the car so much it starts spilling out on the ground and flooding the parking lot. With the exercise you plan to incorporate in this weight loss program you will use all of those calories and burn the existing “fat” calories stuck on you body. By adapting this plan into your meal plan you are very unlikely to put on any more weight unless all you do is sit on your couch all day watching TV (it burns calories just not enough). Fat calories are the calories you want to avoid. Any snacks that are high in saturated fat and have a lot of total calories from fat. Now, to rid of your existing excess weight there is one and only one way, by continuous aerobic exercise. In order for the body to begin burning fat calories, which have a different make up of carbohydrate and protein calories, the body must believe it needs to use the larger amount of calories. For most activities in life your body uses calories from carbohydrates or proteins for quick energy. Once you have been performing an activity using your legs, i.e. jogging, biking continuous swimming, etc., for 12 minutes your body begins to use the fat calories to conserve on carbohydrates. Thus, after 12 minutes of aerobic exercise (which is defined as having your heart rate between 80-110 b.p.s) you begin to burn fat from your body and sweat it through your skin cells. So recommended duration for exercise is 20 minutes for beneficial results. Performing this activity once a day would probably show results more rapidly but it is recommended you do it 3-5 times a week especially if you don’t regularly exercise. There is a note of caution for people who are extremely over weight to not try and over do it. Over exercising can cause heart attacks so you should ease your way into exercising. Maybe start just by walking, then a combination of walking and jogging, don’t try and over do it hoping to get results instantly. All good things take time. So with determination and persistency you can be on your way to a healthier lifestyle by incorporating a healthy and plentiful diet with essential exercise.
Without dieting, you’re capable of sculpting a body more desirable for yourself and staying in good health. Without buying pills and drugs and little gimmicks you can make it much cheaper to take of that unwanted fat. Take yourself out of that statistic that one-third of Americans are extremely over-weight driving them into crash dieting. Through daily exercise and the right diet gradually lose the weight which doesn’t put you at such great risks. The truth is dieting destines you for death, while dedication destines you for doggedness.
WSOC Health Team 9 (1998, Editors)
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Little, Tony (Producer) (1997, May 24)
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Woodworth, M. (1998 Sept)
[Speech by Mr. Woodworth]
At Walled Lake Central High School