March 25, 2020
With summer right around the corner, it’s important we keep those eating habits healthy and well-rounded to maintain those summer bods we have worked oh so hard on, or if you’re me, not so hard on. If you’re one of the 45 million Americans who will try to diet this year, I am right there with you. A few weeks ago, I made it my goal to try and complete the Whole30 challenge. I only lasted 14 days before finally succumbing to the desire for a spicy Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Yes, it was worth it. Over the last couple years, we’ve seen the rise in many dieting trends that have received lots of attention from people of all ages, including Whole30, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and many more. The hard thing is that the list of diets is never ending and knowing which one to choose can feel like pulling a random number out of a hat. Not to mention, a lot of these diets are potentially harmful to stay on because of the abrupt cuts required to abide by their guidelines. So, how can we ever know what is right for each of us individually? I am by no means a dietary expert, but will use this time to simply guide you towards a better of way of living through eating in the way that’s best for you.
I mentioned that I tried the Whole30 challenge and eventually failed after just 14 long days. For those who don’t know the Whole30, it is a “reset” for your body. This is an elimination diet that is scientifically backed to detox your digestive system and cut out all the unnecessary foods. During these 30 days, you are to cut out: added sugar (real or artificial), alcohol (in cooking too), grains, most legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, baked goods, junk food, and treats with “approved” ingredients. All of it seems great, right? Well, not exactly.
So, while you may be one of the few who can cut out all the bad foods you’re eating at once, it’s not easy for most people to do and is not the best for everyone. There are a few reasons why this diet can have such negative effects on the body according to health.com. The fact of the matter is that it’s just not sustainable enough. Sure, a 30-day program can be beneficial, but the diet also cuts out some healthy foods temporarily, such as whole grains, legumes, and natural sugars. Another problem is that most people go from strict dieting right back to normal food consumption. We need to find the in-between. How can we go from cutting everything out to eating normal without all the junk? A healthy diet should not be a sprint; instead, it should be a way of life that has lasting changes to your eating habits. Lastly, this diet (and many like it) could also induce food insensitivities. This means, while a certain food group like dairy may have not upset your stomach before, it’s possible that after 30 days your stomach isn’t able to handle it.
I could sit here and talk about every diet and the harmful effects it could have on your body, but who would enjoy that. I also am not trying to bash the Whole30 either. Like I said, the 30-day challenge can be a great, life-changing month for some, but it might not be the right move for everyone. But for most of us who just don’t want to stuff our faces with carbs anymore, there’s plenty of healthy and delicious steps to having a more balanced diet.
According to Active.com, a group dedicated to promote the well-being of others through exercise, dieting, and community, there are some key things to remember while trying to change our eating habits. First, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance. This means not completely cutting out dairy or protein and just making sure it’s not the cornerstone of what we eat. It is also important to avoid artificial foods like potato chips, candy, and processed foods, and start piling on some greens. It’s also good to set healthy limits on yourself. Think of it like food budgeting. Limiting yourself to about 2,000-2,400 calories a day is a healthy amount, so make sure your day is planned out accordingly. This way you can track the food you are eating through a food journal. I know that may sound ridiculous, but if you are looking for weight loss, Active reports that people who log their food lose on average twice amount the weight of those who don’t! And lastly, make sure you are eating the right amounts. You don’t want to be famished, but you also don’t want to eat so much that your unbuckling your pants while you sit down.
Dieting can be so beneficial to our bodies. It can help us lose weight, feel more energized, and even help us sleep better. It’s important that we remember how these diets can affect our bodies. While some can be good, more often than not they can have negative side effects. Again, I am no expert on the field of dieting, but I hope that my experience can serve as a good template to taking your next steps towards healthy eating.
Written by: Andrew Reynolds
Andrew is a Senior Project Management Major, and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity it gives him to grow as a writer and to challenge himself to see current topics and discussions from a view point he may not have otherwise thought about.