The Destructive Culture Of Dieting


Human beings have an odd relationship with food. A long time ago, people hunted and ate what they could find, and everyone was in good shape and lived half as long. However, nowadays we see that the relationship we have with food isn’t quite so simple. In a world of false images, expectations, and horrible body shaming, our culture has been obsessed with looking one way and not another. We’re going to be taking a look at this obsession, and exploring the truly destructive culture of dieting.

So, what’s wrong with dieting?


In itself, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of dropping a dress size or getting into those jeans that fit last year. However, if it stayed like that, there would be no problem. But as so many people are aware, it hasn’t been that simple for a very long time.

We live in a culture which is so immensely shallow, and it’s devastating for everyone who doesn’t quite fit into the ideal image. We’re brought up to believe that we have to look a certain way, and it leads to people who grow up with massive insecurities and an unhealthy relationship with dieting. Now, we’re not saying that dieting is wrong. What is wrong, however, is choosing to diet when there’s no need to. People who are already thin and then feel pressured to diet to be a certain body shape are the ones who are suffering from this especially.

Our relationship with dieting is certainly destructive. Young people are growing up and thinking that they have to be a certain way and look a certain way, and it just means that there’s going to be a group of poorly led men and women passing this way of thinking onto their kids and create a chain of wrong attitudes. There’s nothing wrong with embracing who you are and learning to love yourself. Dieting is not the way if you could even consider this to be dieting. It’s gone past dropping a dress size; it’s people cutting entire chunks of their body away in a vain attempt to be this perfect image which has been instilled in them from a very young age.

Overall, our relationship with dieting is one which needs serious re-evaluation. We’ve been brought up to believe that dieting is the miracle cure for trying to reach this image which has been strangely created and hung in front of us for years. The odd thing is when you take a look at other countries; the ideal body image is different still. It stands to reason that therefore, there’s no real call for this dieting to within an inch of healthy. Because that is the real problem that you’re going to be encountering when you diet in the way that everyone else seems to accept, and that is you get people dropping to very unhealthy weights for the sake of looking like the person they think they should be. Dieting is no bad thing, as long as it is done in moderation like everything else.


Effects of food on our mood


More on Food and Mood


Food is essential for the body to keep going, however with the vast array of food in the modern world it does not mean we are always making the best choices when it comes to food.  There is a direct link between the foods we consume and the way we feel, or our mood.  The way food is made up, and the components within each meal we have, can dramatically alter our feelings and mood, and this can be further compounded by when we eat.


Stick to the Basics


First of all the most important thing is to ensure that you are eating enough food.  Blood sugar is one of the key stabilising factors of a healthy body and something that is often overlooked.  Fad diets popularised by celebrities are often pushing people into unhealthy eating habits.  There is nothing that says you have to eat huge meals three times a day, in fact to the contrary, but eating properly at regular intervals is vital.  If you are hungry, you are not going to be in the best of moods.  If it goes deeper than this and your blood sugar levels are affected, you can also become confused and angry as the body struggles to work.


Soporific Sugar


One of the biggest culprits that most people can name when it comes to food and mood is sugar.  Fast food, sweets and other ‘junk’ may well be convenient and comfortable, but a high sugar content simply leads to a spike in blood sugar.  This might send you into a hyper happy mood, but it will be short-lived.  Once the sugar is processed further into the body, the ‘crash’ will leave you feeling grumpy and lethargic. Sugar is not healthy for the body anyway and is thought to prevent the natural development of healthy cells, so a good one to avoid where possible.


Perfect Protein


At the other end of the scale, protein is a great mood booster and can help you stay happy and in balance all day, provided you eat it regularly.  This is because they make the processing of carbs go slower which in turn releases essential chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine (the feel-good factor).  Protein does not have to be all about the meat either, even on a healthy, low-fat, vegan or vegetarian diet, there are plenty of options available: Tofu, eggs, seafood, yogurt, and chicken to name just a few.


Vital Vitamins


The other thing to guard against if you want your diet to promote a happy mood is missing those essential vitamins.  Sadly the climate has changed in the UK, and we do not get as much access to sunshine, which generates that all-important vitamin D, so we need to look for more of it in food.  Vitamin D candidates are low-fat milk, egg yolks, and soy milk.  B vitamins are also great for mood and energy levels, and B12, in particular, is a real mood lifter.  Try adding more broccoli, leafy greens, oranges, oatmeal, cottage cheese and salmon to your diet to help your body absorb B vitamins from food.