2nd Year English Literature student, Lydia Broadley, explores the real meaning behind that dreaded word…DIETING.
Summer’s fast approaching, bringing with it the familiar pressure that comes around every year to get ‘summer body ready’ and cut out all your favourite foods – I think 2019 is the year we should put this to an end.
Conflicting messages about what we should and shouldn’t be eating are being constantly fired at us from all angles; one minute we’re told not to eat carbs, the next we’re being told that fat is the devil and let’s not even get into the debate over whether breakfast should be skipped or if it’s the most important meal of the day. It is no secret that chronic dieters will go through life in a cycle of losing and regaining weight which can be detrimental to both mental and physical health. Dieting is not only frustrating and draining for most people, but what begins as an innocent diet can easily develop into far more serious issues such as disordered eating and eating disorders over time.
Restricting and controlling food intake to such degrees is not natural – it can easily become the centre of your life. Should you go out for a drink with friends when you haven’t ‘saved’ the calories from the day? What if they get a pizza? How can you go out for a spontaneous brunch when you haven’t studied the menu and looked up the nutritional information beforehand? Should you go on that night out and risk being hungover and starving the next day? Furthermore, where’s the fun in watching your friends eat the pancakes you’re so craving while you have to pretend you’re excited about your bowl of porridge? Our bodies know far more about our needs than we give them credit for, we don’t need to control every calorie that we eat. Some days our body will use more energy than others and therefore require more food. Some days we crave all the chocolate we can eat, others we will naturally not be as hungry and would choose a salad over a chocolate bar anyway – it all balances out and trying to fight what your body asks for is ultimately going to make you miserable.
It is miserable to spend life yo-yo dieting and feeling guilty for having a pizza out with friends or for having that extra VK on a night out when it wasn’t allowed for in your plan. When you look back on life do you want to remember the fun you had with the people you love or the times when you didn’t join in because you didn’t want to eat anything ‘unhealthy’? This summer, don’t say no to an ice cream on the beach with your best friend because you’re ‘being good’, have second helpings at your family BBQ without feeling the need to ‘make up for it’ in the days to come and realise that there is so much more to life than how many calories are in your salad.