By Kirsten Niosi
After receiving plenty of bad publicity, the word “diet” has become taboo, especially amongst teenagers. People often associate dieting with negative feelings, eating disorders, and a lack of self-confidence. They tend to believe that people only go on diets to lose weight and improve their self-image. However, a vast amount of students at HHS prove this misguided belief wrong. Students all over the school go on diets for a variety of reasons. Some are vegetarians, gluten-free, or even just eating healthier to be in top physical conditions for their sports. Whether you are altering your eating patterns for a personal belief, sport, or if it is to lose weight, it is important to also change your way of thinking. The Adolescent Health Committee says that the message the media sends to teens is that you should be thin, and your diet should be solely concerned with obtaining this. They trick you with images and words to make you believe only thin people are beautiful, happy, and in control of their lives. But the reality is people who are happy and successful with their healthy lifestyles come in all shapes and sizes. Meaning, do not change to look a certain way, change to feel a certain way.
After deciding to transform yourself, a question comes about: How do you make the change in a healthy way? No matter what you are trying to accomplish, you should always consult your doctor or nutritionist before making any modifications to your diet. Mandie Dietrich is a junior at HHS that must be on a gluten-free diet for health reasons. She says, “I didn’t know I was allergic to gluten a for the longest time. But after doing some research, I realized I could be suffering from a gluten allergy. I knew my first step was to talk to my doctor to find nutritional alternatives to foods with gluten.” In this case and vegetarian cases, people are eliminating an entire food group, which is usually very unhealthy to the body because it rids the body of essential nutrients according to Teen Health. The experts from Teen Health do not advise diets the get rid or forbid certain groups completely, whereas moderation in all the food groups is key to obtaining the desired goal and staying nutritionally balanced.
The next step is to understand that a healthy lifestyle consists of many aspects. After determining it is safe for you to go on a diet, learning the facts about dieting can improve your res
ults greatly. One major myth is that cutting back on calories can help you lose the weight or make you healthier. The truth is that since calories are measure the amount of the food that will be turned into energy, cutting back on them too much results in your body not gaining the essential energy need to function problem. This means your metabolism, the process that converts the fuel in the food we eat into the energy needed to power everything we do, will slow down to unsafe levels causing the body to go into starvation mode. According to Dr. Oz, this starvation forces the body to store the little food you do eat, straight into fat to store for later.
In conclusion, healthy lifestyles come in all forms and diets. It is up to you to make the switch from sodas and refined sugars to fruits and vegetables. You are the only one who can change yourself and you should change only for yourself. And as Dr. Folsom of Calvert Memorial would say, always remember “food is an important part of a balanced diet.”