The Death of Dieting

Dieting is overdone and overrated. Body acceptance and living life to become healthier and stronger are what's hot right now.
January 18, 2018
8 mins read

Jenny Craig and WeightWatchers? Sounds like old news. If it involves the word “dieting,” nobody wants it in this day and age.

This current generation has experienced years of evolvement from different dieting approaches. As the country’s obesity rate rises at a constant incline, people continue to struggle with weight loss by turning to these short-term diets. Programs such as the Atkins diet, full-on liquid diets, WeightWatchers and even carb cutting caught everyone’s attention in their struggle to lose weight in a short period of time.

Recently, however, people have started to take an interest in physical wellness and body acceptance as a lifestyle instead of the quick-fixes for weight management, especially among women given the current rise in feminism and its encouragement of body acceptance regardless of shapes and sizes. As a result, the goal of weight management has changed as well.

Instead of being thinner, people want to be stronger and healthier, which makes dieting basically a dead-beat idea now. We’ve said goodbye to traditional forms of weight loss and welcomed healthier and more long-term alternatives.

The terms “skinnier,” “thinner,” “slimmer” and “smaller” have progressively been exchanged with words such as “fitter” and “healthier.” There really isn’t anything wrong with simply wanting to be skinnier, but becoming healthier and more fit creates a better approach to fitness, mentally and physically. Many women in our society have become wonderful examples of thin to fit, and in some cases, overweight to fit, and they have filled the community with a positive attitude toward taking care of your body.

However, having the right mentality when it comes to weight management may prove itself to be tricky as well. Some women may believe they need to kill themselves in the gym with weights to become more fit, while some women simply want to become healthier for their own well being. The restrictive, cut-throat mentality, due to its long-term harms on the body, is becoming old fashioned, just like how diet coke and cigarettes are no longer glamorized as they were ten to twenty years ago.

Dieting? The preferred term is “clean eating.” This term actually has a multitude of meanings depending on your goals or weight loss experiences. If you’re a bikini competitor, or aspiring to be one, eating clean might mean following super distinct calorie calculations in which all your meals are pretty much set-in-stone based on the numbers.

If you’re a dieting veteran, it might mean eating foods that make you feel good, or even clean. For me,  I have tried every diet in the book and restrictive diets or maybe even calorie counting seem like an ancient, foreign idea. Of course, everyone has a different approach to eating clean, especially when you’re influenced by so many different factors (thank you, Instagram and Twitter).

On that same note, social media and its impact on users has played a huge role in shaping eating habits. People exposed to so many different food accounts, food gurus, fitness junkies and even “Instagram models,” which reinstated a firm belief of what and how people should eat or perceive their bodies.

Despite all of this, there continues to be a surplus of woman over social media who advocate clean eating in a way that nourishes bodies and minds. My favorite being @shutthekaleup and @frommybowl, two remarkable ladies who have really opened my eyes to the way we diet in our culture today. (Check them out for uplifting inspiration!)

Another swap that the death of dieting has brought is the shift in people’s outlook to becoming stronger instead of losing weight. Ah, remember the good ole days where everyone went to the gym, got on the treadmill for thirty minutes, then dipped out? Well, it seems everyone preaches the exact opposite nowadays, especially towards women.

Now, women are being encouraged to tone up or build up their muscles to make them more prominent, which ties back to the feminist ideals of girl power and women domination. The empowerment of women goes hand-in-hand with the image of women becoming physically stronger.

It’s given them the opportunity to change their bodies into how they want them to be instead of how traditional society wants. As opposed to many years back, becoming thicker and curvier is actually more preferred by women now.

The way people measure their progress on their fitness journeys has also taken a turn. Of course, seeing the scale drop is an achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked. Working hard on a fitness regimen is no easy feat. Keeping this in mind, people have been learning to stop obsessing over the numbers.

People no longer look for the number on the scale to drop but instead have begun to love and accept themselves for who they are. In turn, people measure their progress by how much they have learned to embrace their body instead of how much weight they’ve lost.

After years of solely focusing on what the numbers are telling me about my body, I decided I need to rely on my intuition instead to identify how I feel about myself. The number on the scale can’t dictate who I am inside and what my self-worth is.

Generally, the media is possibly the biggest influencer of all these factors that constitute the death of dieting. Regardless, throwing away the quick-fix diet trends shouldn’t be an excuse to take the easy way out if you want to alter your body in any way, shape or form.

It’s important to learn the proper way to lose weight or become stronger (or whatever you want to call it). Say goodbye to one-week diets that promise you a 10-pound drop instantly.

Instead, take the time to nurture yourself with healthy, clean foods. Take your time throughout the process to learn what works best for your body and lifestyle. Learn to love yourself at any weight and feel comfortable in your own skin.

Maya Halabi, UTSA

Writer Profile

Maya Halabi

International Relations/Communications

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