Being healthy and happy continue noble life goals but come with some pretty severe baggage. The baggage of social pressure leads many to veer from common sense goals of moderation to knee-jerk crash diets.
Eating a varied diet with plenty of veggies and fruits along with some grains and dairy should be accessible. However, stricter programs are de rigor. Many remain dismissive of the simpler range of guidelines given by groups like the CDC.
The need to be the best, or to outdo even our own bodies leads to dangerous behaviors. Remember that mental healing is a large component of physical healing. So it goes with diets.
For those worried about what extreme dieting could lead to, read on for warning signs separating dieting and eating disorders.
Extreme Dieting Practices
the difference, definitionally, between a diet and an extreme diet is the limitations placed. A simple diet plan involves consuming fewer calories than are expended in a day.
Exercise or other general activity burn calories for energy. You eat food to recharge these supplies. In a diet, you create a caloric deficit by doing more than the energy you consume allows.
This forces the body to use up reserves in the form of stored fats and muscles.
An extreme diet starts, not with a goal of calorie loss, but with a definition of health that demands the removal of certain foods.
Common diet trends since the turn of the century have more and more leaned into this category. Ideas like Atkins diet, the low-carb or no-carb, Paleo, and the newer Keto all hyper restrict types of food.
Depending on how long a person stays on these regiments, there isn’t a nutrition or eating disorder involved.
Once a person starts to see negative effects, the narrative changes.
Signs of Disorder
Eating disorders and weight loss obsessions occur when the reasoning to stick to a diet stops being about betterment.
This is a thin line for many. What is a healthy weight for one, is not for another. What is a healthy nutritional intake for one, is not so for another. The variations in body chemistry from person to person create fuzzy lines.
Generally speaking, eating a better diet will provide more energy even while eating less. This is because calorie dense foods take more effort for the body to break down. It lets you feel more full while eating less.
When it comes to anorexia vs dieting, the paradigm shifts. Here the obsession is with what food could be doing not what it does do. The departure from a reasoned basis for the behavior is disorder territory.
A person that pinballs from one diet to another shows signs of chronic dieting syndrome. They don’t have an ideal goal in mind, they just know believe that being on a diet, any diet will make them better.
Orthorexia is another, though less problematic, eating disorder. The obsession with righteous eating or ‘clean’ eating leads a person to select particular foods for moral imperatives devoid of a nutritional basis.
If you see someone in your life going through a period of extreme dieting, talk to them about their reasons and goals. When facing a disorder category, people will be more likely to defend their position against all reason, rather than even deal with the topic.
Even athletes face issues with body image and nutrition. If you want to do more, consider looking into a career in sports medicine.