Diet is a four-letter word that can make you feel cranky, irritable, tired, deprived, and unhappy. If you aren't getting the nutrients
your body needs from the food you eat, you're harming yourself. back to top
What is dieting?
What a girl says: "I'm on a diet."
What a girl means: "I can't stop thinking about food and the numbers on the bathroom scale."
If your diet includes skipping meals, eating only cabbage soup or grapefruit, or taking herbal weight-loss supplements
, you're probably not getting the nutrients you need. Fad diets
and meal plans that cut your calorie intake below 2,000 calories a day are not good for you. back to top
Why do people diet?
With all the skinny models and actresses in magazines and the movies, you may believe you need to be bony to be beautiful or popular or successful. The truth is that beauty, popularity, and success don't come from wearing a smaller dress size. Maybe your friends or family have put pressure on you to lose weight. Or perhaps you really do weigh more than a healthy amount for a girl your age and size. But anyone who has lost weight and kept it off will tell you that there are no shortcuts. To get in shape and lose weight, you need to increase your activity level through cardiorespiratory exercise
and eat a healthful diet
. It's healthy and it works. back to top
Are diets safe?
You're asking for trouble any time you try a diet or quick weight-loss scheme. Here's why:
How can I lose weight safely?
- Even if the diet works for a little while, you'll regain the weight when the diet ends and you go back to your old eating habits.
- When you drastically cut back on calories, your body responds by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy. It is very difficult to lose weight when your body is in starvation mode because the less you eat, the slower your metabolism gets.
- By skipping meals, eating too little, or cutting out food groups, you will miss out on the carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to function and grow.
- If you're always hungry because you're not eating enough, you're setting yourself up for a binge the next time you get near food.
- Diet pills, which suppress your appetite, contain ingredients that can cause scary side effects, like dizziness and heart palpitations.
- Dieting can lead to an eating disorder. It's not healthy to be overly concerned with food, weight, or your body shape. back to top
If you are overweight
, the safest, surest way to shed pounds is to make gradual changes to your diet and increase the frequency
, and intensity
of the activities you like to do. You don't have to lace up your running shoes and jog until you get shin splints
to get fit. Start slowly. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get off the bus a stop or two early and walk home. Volunteer to mow the lawn or vacuum the house after school. Then grab a jump rope and get hopping. To increase your chances of success, find a Fitness Friend
to join you in making healthy eating and exercise a habit. back to top