Because of my expertise as a body image coach who cares about others’ health and well-being, I always like to keep my eye on trends – particularly trends that have to do with health and dieting.
While my work goes far beyond “dieting,” my students are often interested in these trends and ask for my input. I need to be informed and educated in this area so that I can offer them the best insight possible.
I often ponder in quiet moments-
Who exactly starts these diet trends?
Is it medical studies?
Is it celebrities?
Is it marketing companies?
Is it corporations?
Is it the media?
Is it the public?
Maybe it’s all the above.
According to the Best Diets Overall list by U.S. News, the Mediterranean diet, the Dash diet, and Weight Watchers are currently trending high.
Other diets like Paleo, Keto, and Whole 30 are popular in my community, though they claim a lower ranking on the list.
They remain low because they are considered dangerous.
These diets ask people to eliminate entire food groups, and the medical community has a serious issue with that. Their stance is that eliminating a food group – especially staples such as dairy or wheat – will imbalance the body.
I personally do not agree.
In this day and age we are exposed to radiation and toxins that we never have been before. For example, the wheat we eat today is not the wheat our ancestors ate – nor is the corn, or even the milk – and not all of us can handle the changes.
I believe that everybody (and every body) is different, and some people have trouble taking in certain food groups due to allergies or intolerance’s. Three of the most common and widespread allergens are wheat, dairy, and sugar.
What I’ve noticed over nearly 20 years of being a body image coach is that trends can do more damage than good.
When people don’t feel happy and fulfilled, they get seduced into believing that the next diet or exercise trend will “fill them up.” It’s almost as though they believe it’s a magic cure-all that will make them feel better about themselves.
They jump into what’s popular without considering what is actually good for their body.
Our culture trains us to keep up with the Jones’s.
We follow the trends without doing our research first. We blankly nod our heads and go with the pack, because if everyone is doing it then it must be good and smart and healthy, right?
And the motivation for most people to jump on such a bandwagon is superficial at best – they want to be thinner and more attractive, as opposed to healthier. Because of this context, as soon as they fail they feel even worse about themselves… not better.
This is a vicious cycle that does not end well for the chronic dieter.
The unconscious nature of these trends is what keeps people fat, unhappy, depressed, and moving in a circular pattern rather than moving forward.
I know that most people who start trendy diets like Atkins or South Beach have good intentions. They want people to lose weight, look better, and feel better.
However, I have seen (and experienced) that handing somebody a diet and expecting them to make it their lifestyle after years of food abuse and body abuse is an awfully tall order. There’s a learning curve to starting something new.
People have to create new structures within their eating and shopping habits. They may even have to shift their schedules to allow for cooking (instead of eating out or ordering in) or to change their meal times (e.g. to keep from eating late at night).
That’s why, when women come to me to work on the deeper issues, we begin by working on their mindset.
It is important that we work through the emotional binds that can so easily take the mind out of balance and lead them back to food abuse. In order to have lasting results within the body, the mind and the emotions must also be addressed. Too often, especially with dieting, these other aspects of the self are avoided or ignored.
When women (and men) start cleaning up their emotional and mental fitness, then they can go inside to see what is the best diet for them. Different bodies have different needs, so not every body can handle every trendy diet.
When you are grounded strongly in who you are, however, you can look within to see what is best for you. Then you won’t need a trend to tell you what you should be doing. @laurafenamore (Click to Tweet!)
The bottom line is that these trends are irresponsible.
It is irresponsible to put all people together in one category as though they’re all the same.
It is irresponsible to market a product with bold, unrealistic, and unhealthy claims like “Lose 20 pounds in 3 days!”
And it is irresponsible to say, “You should do this diet because it is popular.”
So take responsibility for yourself. Start by finding out what allergies and intolerance’s you have – and you don’t need to get tested by a doctor to get started.
The elimination diet* is an easy way to see what you can and can’t tolerate.
You do this by eliminating each allergen (wheat, dairy, and sugar) from your diet for a month, one at a time, and seeing if you feel better or worse. This experiment will take three months in total and your body, your health, and your quality of life are absolutely worth that time.
Confusion about trending diets is often used as an excuse.
People say that they can’t start a “healthy lifestyle regimen” because there is too much discrepancy in the information out there. They just don’t know what is correct or where to start.
But this does not have to be confusing. You can begin to understand what is right and healthy for your body when the heart and the head are in sync. This will happen once you get beyond the trend, and listen to your inner guidance to live in the truth of your personal unique needs.
You must finally accept that self-care and healthy lifestyles require time, research, and energy… and you’re worth it.
Don’t you agree?
I want to hear why in the comments below.
* I am not a nutritionist or doctor. If you have health issues, are medicated, and/or are under the care of a doctor, please consult with them before doing this.
Laura Fenamore, Body Image Expert, Coach and acclaimed Author is on a mission to help women around the world end the constant battle with their bodies and start adoring who they see in the mirror. Her approach walks students and readers through the heartfelt journey to self-love at any size or age by unlocking the secrets to a lifetime of emotional, physical and spiritual health. After overcoming a lifelong battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released 100 pounds – keeping it off for more than 28 years. She chronicles this journey to self-love and health in her widely acclaimed book, Skinny, Fat, Perfect: Love Who You See in the Mirror. Learn more about Laura’s programs, or invite her to speak by visiting SkinnyFatPertect.com.
Image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures.