I'm super excited. I've written up a rough draft for an article that is going to go into one of my university papers soon.
HOWEVER, I really would appreciate some feedback before I give it to the editor. Anything is appreciated. Please call me out on factual, source and grammatical errors, and anything else. I also need to make it shorter by maybe 100 words. I don't like the conclusion, either.
All of the research in this paper has been collected from the memories on this website.
The myth of weight loss and dieting
By Erin Pea
Food is an inevitable part of human survival. We get energy from food in order to live. Some of us also obsess over how many calories is in our pizza, how much food to eat around people, and what kind of food to avoid to look “desirable”.
When did eating become so complex?
It’s no wonder pressure to lose weight in our current culture seems more prominent than ever. Dieting is the most popular way of losing weight, but is a conflicting, myth-filled practice.
Low-fat food is healthier because it’s low-fat
Fat is actually amazing and should not be avoided heavily in any diet, as the body can’t survive in the long run. Eating from 20 to 25% of fat per day will trigger cravings.
Low calorie dieting can cause your weight to drop eight pounds in one week, for example, but according to personal trainer Renee Cloe, “it’s physically impossible for all of that to be fat”. Muscle, glycogen and water are what are lost.
Why do we need fat? It provides energy, good taste, production of endorphins in our brains to make us feel satiated, essential fatty acid deficiency, and it helps us absorb vitamins A, S, E, and K. It helps protect our immune systems, cell membranes, nerves, energy levels, organs and bones.
Eating low-fat food to replace regular-fat food tends to be a difficult task in satisfying our needs.
Lack of fat will lead to mood swings, cold intolerance, poor resistance to infections, dry skin, hair loss, bruising and loss of menstruation for women. Caloric needs based on age, weight and sex must be considered when judging how much fat to eat daily.
Overweight people are unhealthy
Current research shows that people who are slightly overweight by a few pounds may live longer than underweight people, which is the dominant and desirable way of looking in our culture.
The idea is not to be afraid of “fat”, but to realize the limits of short-term dieting. According to holistic health promoter Jon Robinson, health can exist at almost every size. Weight gain results from an unstable weight, induced by yo-yo dieting, for example. Your body will make up for those missed calories.
People who are thinner are happier
Scientific evidence shows that food restriction and weight suppression will cause rapid production of stress hormones. Mood may be elevated at first, improving productivity, motivation and energy. If this stage is taken to extreme lengths, it can cause malnourishment, starving and an underweight body. These lead to anxiety, depression, symptoms of anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive behaviours, like over-exercising, for example.
“If I control myself, I can stick to this diet”
“Self-control is a limited resource, kind of like a muscle that gets tired with frequent use but then rebounds in strength”, according to social psychologists Dr. Roy Baumeister and E. Mavis Hetherington. Especially under stress, self-control and discipline decreases. No wonder binge eating is common among university students.
Your body can only handle so much dieting. Each person’s body has a natural set point, meaning that no matter how much weight you lose or gain, your body will eventually equalize and go back to its normal weight and eating habits. Conscious and healthy choices can be made, but the body and mind eventually recognizes obsessive habits.
Weighing yourself every day ensures control over weight
The number on the scale should not be an indicator of daily success or failure. Water retention, glycogen storage and changes in lean body mass all make weight fluctuate, which is completely normal.
Water retention is normal. In fact, the less water you drink, the more water your body will retain. So, drink up! Salty or sweet pre-packaged high-sodium food also affect water retention since sodium can dehydrate you. It is also common to gain water weight before or during menstruation, but not fat.
Glycogen supply shrinks during the day when your body is lacking carbohydrates, creating an increase in appetite. It’s normal to experience glycogen shifts daily, even if food intake is average.
3,500 calories need to be eaten in order to store one pound of fat, which means eating more than your body is able to burn. Eating a fast food dinner once a month will not cause weight gain given regular eating and exercise patterns. When the scale goes up a few pounds, the weight of the food in your stomach must be considered. In the morning, it will be digested.
The myths continue. Eating after 8pm makes you gain weight. Waiting longer in between meals means you’ll lose weight. Having a bite of chocolate, chips or fries will make you gain weight. Fruit has sugar in it that will cause weight gain. Skipping breakfast is a good idea for losing weight. Exercising in the morning is better. No wait, exercising in the afternoon is better.
Don’t believe the ploys that the dieting industry is trying to sell. Dieting against your body’s needs shows no long-term results. Body image ideals are unrealistic; only 2% of Americans naturally have the “ideal” model body type: tall and thin.