Let’s get one thing straight: There’s a huge difference between being on a diet and eating right. Being on a diet involves actively (sometimes obsessively) watching your weight and trying to slim down, while eating right is mostly about just being good to your body and getting healthy–and if you slim down in the process? Extra bonus! A new study shows that 80 percent of 10-year-old girls–10-year-olds, as in girls who are in fourth or fifth grade–have been on a diet at some point. Is this so terrible? Maybe not.
It all depends on how you look at it. Obviously, no one should feel badly enough about their bodies to go on a diet as a means of achieving some impossible standard set by magazines and the media of how girls should look. But–and this is a big but (and we cannot lie)–the obesity epidemic in America is crazy serious, so it also depends on the circumstances in which someone goes on a diet.
If it turns out if you’re actually overweight, your parents are probably nervous about talking to you about eating right or going on a diet because they don’t want to lower your self-esteem or trigger an eating disorder. While that’s smart thinking, because eating disorders are bad news bears and an epidemic growing almost as fast (if not faster) than obesity, enabling overeating is also dangerous, because it’s setting you up for problems later on.
A good idea if your folks are nervous to broach the topic of eating right or going on a diet? Bring them with you and talk to your doctor about getting your healthy habits in gear. Your doc can help you both set realistic expectations, and if your parents know that you’re trying to eat right, they’ll be more likely to help you. And if they sense that you’re going on a diet that seems too strict or serious, they’ll already be clued in to sweep in and help you.
Knowing you’re on your way to eating right will also help your parents when they food shop. If you only have healthy food around, chances are that’s what you’ll munch on. Because let’s be honest–usually when we eat junk food, it’s because we’re sorta too lazy to make or grab anything else, right? It’s always the kind of stuff that’s … there.
Eating right is essentially eating food that’s good for you, with a ton of nutritional value, as opposed to–as delicious as they are–Cheetos, cookies, and fries all the time. Going on a diet usually entails deprivation of some kind–like not eating altogether or limiting yourself to only eating one type of food. And that kinda sucks, doesn’t it?
But eating right doesn’t necessarily close you off or ban you from eating stuff you like. It just means eating stuff you like in moderation or sometimes preparing it a little bit differently–but just as deliciously.
Eating right makes you look at food as fuel, because what you eat has a big impact on how you feel. A lot of times when you eat something big, heavy, or greasy you feel kinda blah and food coma-ish, right? But when you nosh on an apple or two, you’re pretty pepped up. Same idea. Think about it: If you have a Corvette, you’re probably not gonna fill it with regular, are ya? So think of your bod as a machine: what you fill it with makes it run differently. If you fill it with greasy fried stuff all the time, your engine’s gonna have to work harder. If you don’t fill it at all (like if you’re on a diet that’s stupid-strict), you’re going to run out of gas and get stuck. If you fill it with good stuff like fruits, veggies, protein, and vitamins (and the occasional treat) by eating right, you’re gonna be revved up and ready to go.
Are you on a diet that restricts certain foods? Is eating right difficult or easy once you start? What’s your favorite snack or meal recipe? Tell us in the comments!