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Put Down That Diet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Would you like to feel better in the morning, increase your energy level, boost your mood, think more clearly, and do it all while feeling great looking in the mirror? Okay, stop dieting. Fad diets and eating next-to-nothing “meals” are bad choices for those who want to drop that extra ten pounds. A diet isn't a lifestyle. In order to lose weight, you've got to eat healthy, exercise, and adopt a new way of living.

People looking to fight the flab before swimsuit season usually turn to the latest diet fad that claims to help you drop the weight fast. This choice is not just the wrong one, but it's dangerous too. “Yo-yo” ­dieting is the name given to a quick loss (and equally quick return) of body weight, frequently seen as a result of fad dieting. Once the 30-day starvation program comes to an end and old habits return, do you really think the pounds will magically stay off because they know the hell you just endured? Fat chance. According to the National Eating Disorder Information Center, about 95 percent of people who lose weight by dieting gain it all back within one to five years. After all, a diet, by definition, is a temporary food plan.

Keeping your calorie count as close as possible to zero eliminates excess fat automatically, right? That's another big fat lie. Limiting your calorie intake to an unhealthy, low level doesn't make you lose weight; as a matter of fact, you might actually gain weight. Your body's metabolism will slow down to adjust to this low-calorie diet. Plus, if you don't add exercise, you'll lose lean muscle mass and your metabolism will slow even more.

People who starve themselves sometimes hit rock bottom and reach the point of eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Victims suffer from anemia, osteoporosis, dental problems, chronic constipation, and even loss of kidney function. Eating disorders also have a high mortality rate. You may be thinking, I'd never want to be all skin and bones, so that would never happen to you, but dieting can lead to obsessive thoughts about body weight and eating disorders.

Despite all this, you may still feel as though you want to lose weight. Good news – you can! The best way to weigh what you want and feel amazing is through daily exercise, eating balanced meals, and sticking to the plan. If you're not big on pumping iron at the gym, there are lots of ways to sneak a workout that are fun, while not being boring or repetitive. Join a yoga class with a friend or spend a summer day swimming in the sun instead of chilling inside. If you're in a relationship, take a romantic walk together, or if you have younger siblings or babysit, romp with the kids at the park. Any way you can get your body moving will help wake up your muscles and burn calories. Just don't forget to stretch!

A well-balanced diet does not mean a tiny lunch; it's eating each food group every day. All food groups can be found in a variety of delicious meals. Don't know any? It's as easy as finding a recipe online or checking out the supermarket.

When it comes to keeping your healthy look, don't deprive yourself. If you want that snickerdoodle cookie or chocolaty-chunk brownie that's been staring you down all day, go for it! The key to eating whatever you want but still being healthy is to avoid overeating. Instead of eating the whole batch of cookies, just have one, and don't do it every day. When evening rolls around and you're ravenous for dinner, eat slowly. The slower you eat, the more accurately you will realize when your body is full.

So, is your goal to look and feel great? Then do it! In order to go beyond the limit with your health, start exercising, check out some wholesome meals, never say “I can't,” and put down that diet!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

tinytechie said...
Jul. 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm:
Thank you. a lot of people, and occasionally myself included need to hear this.
 
taylorfowler This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
today at 11:32 pm :
thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
 
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