By Valerie Wang
TW: Eating Disorders
The desire to maintain or exhibit a lean body figure wanders through the minds of teenagers. Social media promotes increase in self criticism, including the concern of body image. We feel a need to compare and “better” ourselves by achieving someone else’s body figure to feel accepted. Often, this results in dieting, in hopes to lose unwanted weight.
Healthy dieting means eating protein as well as watching your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates. However, the concept of dieting warped into quickly losing weight through starving oneself and forcing oneself to decrease their appetite. Although this method of dieting appears to be a convenient solution, it causes more harm than actual benefits. It is extremely important to reward your body with the energy it needs and deserves throughout the day by eating food. Obsessing over what kind or how much food you consume can cause eating disorders. Restrictive eating and binge-eating are the most common types of eating disorders. The basic concept of restrictive eating is severely limiting the amount and specific kinds of food consumed, causing one to be seriously underweight. Binge-eating spawns recurring episodes of consuming abnormally large quantities of food, resulting in obesity.
Through dieting, people begin a mental fight to overly restrict themselves from eating, especially when hungry, causing cravings. Cravings are a way for your body to inform you of the nutrition it lacks. Frequently, cravings take form of “fattening” foods such as carbohydrates. While carbs are “prohibited” during dieting, turns out our brains need the glucose in carbs to function properly.
On top of cravings, the lack of food sparks additional side effects including mood swings, stress, anxiety, and depression. When eating the “wrong” food, you feel horrible, and frustrated with yourself. But in reality, you are just being a normal human. Good for the body and soul, food should never be viewed as a prohibition or punishment. Humans rely on food to function properly, and one function is maintaining weight.
Of course, maintaining unhealthy weight should be cautioned. Although, all body types are perfect the way they are because every body needs various nutritions to satisfy their own needs, and simply, everyone is just different. Beneficial methods to prevent unhealthy weight gain are eating slowly, eating normal portions, eating protein and fiber based foods, and even just getting a good night’s sleep.
Personally, exercise proves to be the best way to lose weight in a healthy, safe, way. Exercise keeps you fit, especially if you are an athlete, and balances the food you consume throughout the day, so you can feel free to eat anything you desire. Exercise also offers plenty of other benefits such as lowering risks of heart diseases, improving mental health, and controlling stress levels.
Circling back to social media, the influence of needing to have a body of a certain type messes with people’s whole perspective of health. A growing number of teenagers criticize themselves a little too harshly when comparing themselves to others. Confidence is vital when viewing yourself. Having self-confidence allows you to see yourself in a progressed viewpoint and even just a spark of self-esteem goes a long way. Being healthy isn’t dieting. Being healthy means to take good care of yourself, enjoy life, and eat whatever brings you happiness.