Do you ever see those "before and after" photos on Instagram, claiming that some simple diet, juice, or pill will have you looking like a Victoria's Secret Angel in a matter of weeks? With the amount of information online and TikTok workout/weight loss trends, it's hard to know what's real and what isn't. Sometimes, when you click on the comments, you find hundreds of people raving that the suspicious miracle diet worked for them---and you too begin to gain a false glimmer of hope.
First, why is it you want to alter your eating habits? Is it because you know you're not getting proper nutrients or because you're feeling insecure and wishing you could change your body? If it's the latter, chances are you're more vulnerable to falling for one of the flashy diet fads online.
Second, everyone's body works different. This is why some people only eat junk food and stay slender, whereas others find that they can't indulge as much as their friend without gaining weight. This doesn't mean one person is healthier than the other. Even skinny people can be lacking the vitamins and protein they need to maximize the functions of their body.
Before you give into paying for a monthly subscription of a magical, immune-boosting, weight-loss smoothie, let's think of "who" is selling these diets. Companies know the latest "body trends" and know how to market their products to appeal to people who do not meet whatever the current beauty standard is. Even "age-old" strategies like intermittent-fasting can be unhealthy to some---and cause the body's metabolism to slow down. As for the Keto diet, it is now known that this diet causes the body to burn organ-fat---which is damaging in the long run. Plus, when you re-introduce carbs to your diet, whatever "progress" you've made will be lost. (Reminder: carbs are not evil and do not make you gain weight. In fact, the body needs them for energy).
I have never had a good relationship with food and have experienced disordered eating since my early teens. This past year, I've researched more about nutrition---and found that many of my fears were cultivated by the media/large corporations, rather than based in science. Truth is, all food is good food in moderation. If you're looking to change your diet, I'd suggest learning more about how the body processes different sources of energy (like carbs, protein, unsaturated/saturated fats). Don't begin your journey by counting calories. Instead, increase your intake of vitamins through more fruits and vegetables. Consider if you're getting enough protein. If you exercise regularly---it's especially important to understand how your body uses protein to build/restore muscles.
Your body can't survive without energy, so make sure to give it the fuel it needs! To learn what is best for your body type, consider talking to a doctor or licensed nutritionalist rather than reading blogs sponsored by diet companies. If you don't have access to a nutritionalist, consider watching these informational videos by Stephanie Grasso, a licensed dietitian! Grasso's videos have helped me build a better relationship with food and understanding what my body needs. Here's to hoping that you too can learn the truth about food!