Which Way Is The Pendulum Swinging on Dieting?

I’m continually covering the changes in public opinion on topics in the health and fitness world, and nowhere else do trends swing harder than nutrition doctrine.

Now, after years of seeing different diets fall in and out of favor, the current movement is to reject diets altogether, known as the anti-diet culture.

As this article on the topic states,

It’s a movement that promotes overall well-being rather than size reduction. It’s a statement that people deserve to exist and don’t have to engage in weight-loss attempts to earn respect.

I don’t know all the ins and outs, but to this premise, I agree wholeheartedly. I highly recommend ditching the scale as a measure of success towards a healthier life, and equitable treatment of all people regardless of weight is deserved by everyone.

However, just like all trends, it seems that the pendulum swings so hard in one direction that it loses any middle ground. And for the sake of lifespan and healthspan, controlling calorie intake is needed, and nutritional intervention is a vital tool to get there.

The Power of a Diet

The overall problem with dieting is that eliminating super tasty food forever always fails. And at some point, highly restrictive eating seems to always go off the rails.

I can tell you from experience that I’ve tried quite a few different nutritional strategies, but my weight has primarily stayed the same.

Failed attempts? Not really. I see lessons learned that are helpful for my relationship with food as something to be enjoyed but to some limit.

For example:

Counting macros (or calories, or any other nutrition tracking tool) provided perspective. Budgeting intake is eye-opening and helps you appreciate how much food you need to survive and how much is in the typical meal at a restaurant.

I tried intermittent fasting for a bit and gathered that we don’t always need 3 square meals a day; instead, it’s best to eat when hungry.

For a brief bit, I went vegetarian, and it opened my world to many nutritious food options that I would have passed on before.

I gave low-carb a run, and I found strategies to put together tasty meals and snacks while on the run from vending machines and convenience stores.

Essentially, dieting needs a makeover from being a lifestyle to a brief and focused life lesson on fueling your body.  

Personal Responsibility

I’ll point to a post that got almost 75,000 likes to wrap this up.

In essence, there are many things tied to being a healthy weight that the author of this post seems to argue are primarily out of one’s control.

I appreciate that many psychological and societal influences are tied to body weight, and it’s easier for some to keep the weight off. But just like any obstacle in life, we can turn those into excuses and give up or write them off as liabilities and press forward.

I encourage the latter.

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