Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution to Diet?

With 2012 only hours away, many are scrambling to assemble their resolutions and for millions of us, teens and adults alike, this list includes renewed efforts to improve diet and exercise more.  While obesity is a growing international problem, we all know that weight watching can lead to serious health problems, both mental and physical. 

Following are a few warning signs that a diet may be misguided or inappropriate:

  • The desire to lose weight seems more motivated by emotional than health factors. “I’m not popular because I’m fat.” Or “If only I could get rid of my stomach I’d be happy.”

  • A person signs on to a drastic change in lifestyle. " I’ve decided to become a vegan in 2012.” Not only is a vegan diet (void of all animal products, including cheese and eggs) very difficult to do in a healthy manner, it is usually high in calories and hard to maintain.  

  • You are quite sure that your daughter is at a normal weight and do not think dieting is necessary or safe. If any degree of struggle or disagreement arises between you over this issue, it is best to turn to a professional who can assess the teen’s weight and health status and explore the psychological and emotional motivating factors in order to provide guidance.

  • You see evidence that your teen, young adult or friend is using caffeine, laxatives, diet pills or is even vomiting to control intake and weight. These are obvious signs of an eating disorder, which can quickly become a chronic and recalcitrant disease. Intervene as soon as possible.

  • You see a marked increase in concern over fat content of food, accompanied by scrutiny of food labels, avoidance of previously favorite foods, and “fear of fat.”

  • You note an uncharacteristic and perhaps unsustainable level of physical exercise that accompanies someone's new resolution. In an era when most Americans are not getting enough exercise and spending too much time in front of various screens, there are still many who use excessive exercise as a tool for weight loss and body changes that may not be appropriate. 
These concerns apply equally to girls, boys, women and men.  The latest issue of Contemporary Pediatrics in fact, discusses "Disordered Eating in Boys," and points out that a desire to gain weight (whether in the form of muscle or bulk) can signal an unhealthy attempt at body modification just as much as a wish to lose weight might.

With respect to this resolution, there is no more apt wish than to  "Have a Happy and Healthy New Year."

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  1. Losing weight can only be effective if the person is persistent with his goal and consistent with his diet plans. One of the best ways to reduce weight is to eat a healthy diet and do proper exercises. Along with these is a healthy lifestyle. An individual must avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

  2. Loosing weight has been my new year's resolution since forever. There are a lot of very effective weight loss programs out there, but if it's still up to the individual on how he/she can implement them successfully.

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  3. That is a great New Year's resolution. Your diet provides the nutrition you need at every life stage for body function and day-to-day health. You can eat healthy foods that fulfill these criteria, or you can indulge in foods that have too much of less-beneficial nutrients at the expense of the good stuff.