Dieting has been practiced for centuries as a means to lose weight or prevent weight gain. One of the first-ever recorded incidents of dieting for weight loss happened in 1860 by William Banting., a five-foot-five inch, 202 pounds jumbo-sized man who strived a lot to lose weight.
Banting tried a lot of weight loss options like starvation and bathing in a spa. At some point in his life, he was admitted for his excess weight. He followed the advice of many medical experts but all his efforts were futile until he took the advice of changing his diet which finally worked for him. His accomplishments in weight became very popular and he made common several weight-loss diets that we have today.
Why change our diet?
Generally, people diet to enable weight loss or prevent weight gain, we often choose to change our diet because if anything is to be added to our body, it stems from how much food we consume. Dieting is a practice that involves a lot of discipline and commitment, usually easy to start but can prove quite difficult in the long run.
Although a lot of people change their diet for various health reasons, the most common in the world today is to ensure weight loss and prevent weight gain, usually the overweight and the obese. Apart from its primary reason, dieting also has some other health advantage such as:
- Prevention of long term chronic diseases like stroke, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease
- It lowers the risk of high blood pressure among adults
- It increases longevity
- It reduces the stress level in the body
- It improves our mental health
It is important to only eat foods that help us lose weight when dieting such as:
- Low-calorie content protein: soy, eggs, beans, lean meat, low-fat yogurt, oats, berries, low-fat milk, low-fat cottage cheese, pea, etc.
- Vegetable: carrot, pumpkins, mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, okra, and cabbage.
- Fruits: berries, kiwi fruits, apples, melons, grapefruits, passion fruit, tomato, guava, strawberry, banana, orange, etc.
- Vitamins: vitamins enhance the rate of metabolism in our body. Foods that are rich in iron, magnesium, vitamin D, especially fruits and vegetables such as mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, avocado, and spinach should be taken when dieting.
Foods to avoid when dieting: when dieting, it is important to note that some foods can make our effort to healthy eating futile. Some common foods to avoid when dieting are; processed foods, canned foods, foods that are high in calorie and fat content, foods that are too greasy, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, drinks that contain excess added sugar.
Some Important tips that you should take note of when dieting;
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated always
- Use small plates and always eat slowly to minimize the amount of food you consume per meals
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals
- Don’t skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Skipping meals does not prevent weight gain
- Reduce your consumption of processed and fatty foods
- Cut down on junk foods and alcohol
- Get more physically active and exercise more
- Read food labels to ensure that you are consuming foods with the desired nutrient content
- Eat fruits instead of drinking carbonated drinks that contain added sugar
DOWNSIDE TO DIETING
Dieting involves reducing the amount of food we eat, among many other things. When we do so, we consequently deprive our body system of the usual amount of food it is used to receiving and as a result slow down the rate at which our body metabolizes food and produces energy, our body, in turn, reacts to this change. Some of the ways our body reacts to these changes are:
- Anxiety and an increase in stress level
- Constant tiredness(fatigue) and constantly feeling lightheaded due to reduced blood sugar level
- Headaches, in most cases linked to dehydration and low blood sugar
- Reduction in muscle mass of the body
- Impaired cognitive functions of the brain such as lack of concentration, forgetfulness especially due to dehydration
- Frequent starvation, most people tend to starve themselves when dieting which causes other health problems like an ulcer.
Dieting does guarantee that you will lose weight but it gets you a step closer to achieving your desired weight loss target. The body weight is a measure of how much calories you take in and how much of it the body utilizes.
Any change we plan to make when we start dieting should be small and gradual till we can consume our desired food quantity without our body reacting negatively to the changes made. Ensure to change your diet wisely and also be disciplined so as not to fail in your commitment to continuing eating healthily.