Dieting: What works and doesn’t work

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Eat all your fruits and vegetables. Get 60 minutes of exercise daily. Get 8 hours of sleep each night. We all know the age old principles that have been repeated time after time throughout our childhood and teenage years. However, as times have changed, so have the methods of being healthy.

With new Hollywood idols such as stick thin Miley Cyrus, preteen and teenage girls are more commonly now finding themselves looking up to women who routinely eat far too little, exercise too much, and move from one diet pill to the next. With such negative role models populating TV screens and magazine covers it is only natural that many girls are turning towards new magic diets and wonder pills.

A recent study done in Canada stated that nearly half of teenagers attending public schools in Ontario feel uncomfortable about their weight. This leads to several attempts at weight loss, many of which are unhealthy.

“I don’t know why so many girls feel the need to take diet pills or put themselves on strict diets,” senior Mandi Brunetti said. “There are tons of ways to naturally stay fit that also make you feel good about yourself at the same time.”

Many diets that are advertised in commercials and on the internet target one food group. These diets such as the grapefruit diet or the juice diet focus solely on gaining nutrients from one type of food. While this does stimulate weight loss, it also can lead to malnutrition and poor health in the long run.

Another common mistake made when trying to drop pounds quickly is skipping meals. This rarely works and in order to compensate for lost meals, the body will crave foods that are high in sugar and fat. Skipping meals has proven to have the opposite effect that most people intend it to have as they later find themselves binging on sweets to make up for what they didn’t eat earlier in the day.

Although it can be easy to get caught up in the glorified thinness of Hollywood stars and the pressure from peers to be skinny, it is crucial to remember the timeless and effective methods stated earlier. It will always be important to exercise regularly. In addition to staying fit, regular exercise releases endorphins which are endorphins that alter a person’s mood to be happier.

“It may be possible to exercise to happiness…These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria,” said MK McGovern in a recent research paper at Bryn Mawr College.

Additionally, eating well balanced meals and avoiding empty calories will also help contribute to a healthy lifestyle. However, most importantly, it is always important to remember that everyone comes in all shapes and  sizes. Body peace and acceptance of ones true self is the first step to a truly healthy life.