The Issue with Diet Mentality
As it has been for decades, advertised diets and weight loss seem to go hand-in-hand. Quick fixes and too-good-to-be-true options are readily available at a moment’s notice. There seems to be an obsession of getting smaller no matter the cost when weight loss is discussed mainstream. On the other end of the spectrum, there is an obsession with eating whatever you want no matter one’s health and weight (a discussion for another time). Both are not beneficial for one’s health as they may claim to be. What is a “diet” in the first place? Has the “diet mentality” gotten out of hand? Keep reading to understand what exactly I mean by the issue with the diet mentality.
What Do I Mean By “Diet Mentality”?
First and foremost, what do I mean by “diet mentality”? When discussing a “diet mentality”, I am referring to the “diets” that are marketed towards the public to try and sell something focused on weight loss. These “diets” are advertised as quick and easy solutions and are usually fads: “diets” that fall in and out of pop culture over a short time period. They are easily replaced by the next best thing, advertised in magazines, commercials, or even on social media.
Common Marketed Examples Include:
- Diets that cut out food groups
- Drinks and supplements that claim to promote weight loss
- “Lose weight in X-number of days”
- Intermittent fasting
- Gluten free
So…What is A Diet?
Now before everyone gets upset, let us clarify a few more things. Merriam Webster defines diet as:
“food and drink regularly provided or consumed”.Merriam Webster
Meaning that a diet in its simplest of definitions is quite literally the food that one consumes daily. So, everyone has a diet. Saying that someone has a diet does not mean that they are “on” a diet.
Some diets are better than others, and the way you eat should be determined on what works for your body and not by the cookie-cutter “diets” marketed for weight loss. Marketed diets that cut out food groups; suggest weight loss supplements, foods, or drinks; or are focused on a time framed weight loss are not beneficial for overall, long-term health. If it seems too good to be true, it is.
As I have mentioned before, every individual is different and what works for one may not work for another. For instance, some may have a food allergy that requires them to eat in a specific way. This would include those who may be vegan, plant-based or vegetarian, or gluten free. Such diets have gotten a lot of attention within the past couple of years and, unfortunately, are usually discussed and marketed for weight loss. On the upside, discussing such ways of eating has introduced more options that are vegan, plant-based, and gluten free friendly. Some options, however, can be heavily processed and unhealthy regardless of what the packaging may say.
What Is the Issue?
“Diet mentality” presents the idea that weight loss needs to be rapid, resulting in unhealthy practices that may do more harm than good for one’s health. The “quick fix” may sound tempting but can be detrimental to one’s health depending on their level of health and their genetics. Discussion of a diet should not be focused on “marketed diets”, but rather one’s diet. The diet that one utilizes to properly feed and fuel their body in a healthful manner every day.
Our diets should be thoughtful and well balanced to celebrate everything that our bodies do for us on a daily basis. Diet is much more than big, bold words on the front of a magazine or a flashy ad. At the end of the day, it comes down to your food choices and how you choose to fuel your body.
What are your thoughts on fad diets, dieting, and having a diet in general? Let me know in the comments down below!