“Strong is the new skinny” - a phrase that’s been floating around social media sites, on which women of all ages seem to be posting the latest additive-free, all-natural recipes, along with killer muscle-building workouts. Typically, when I’ve seen this motivational axiom it’s been meant in a positive way—in a sense saying “we don’t want to starve ourselves, we want to be strong and healthy!”
Great. It’s fantastic to see a trend that helps those who follow it. However, the question has come to my mind: is this a positive thing? Even if muscle-building, and sticking to natural foods, and moving away from the age-old trap that is calorie counting, are all physically good for us, I wonder if we haven’t just replaced one obsession with another. Now, instead of counting each miniscule piece of food we’re eating, and fixating on who had the least amount of calories today, we’re all about who can go as natural as possible. Are today’s raw vegans or Paleo junkies simply the updated version of yesterday’s restrictors?
Although today’s fad dieters may be receiving more adequate nutrition than the Grapefruit Diet’s followers, there still may be danger in the mindset. Even if the goal has changed from clocking in calories at an unattainable low, there is still room for stress, obsession, and an unhealthy relationship with the good stuff that fuels us. Now the obsession lies in compulsively checking ingredients labels, ruling out entire food groups, and often replacing arguably unhealthy habits (i.e. consuming refined sugars or dairy) with equally or more harmful habits in abundance (i.e. consuming high fat items because they are lower in carbs).
Building a positive relationship with your food is by no means easy. Many people living in our society battle food in one way or another. But the secret will never lie in ruling out a food group, consuming excessive amounts of protein, or a juice cleanse. Fad diets can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and adverse effects on our body chemistry and physiology. Wondering if your recent lifestyle choices constitute a fad diet? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are all food groups represented?
2. Does the program/diet ask you to purchase specialty foods, products, or supplements? Does the program seem especially costly?
3. Can this diet be maintained long term?
4. Does this diet promote unreasonably quick weight loss?
After asking these questions, judge for yourself – does your new lifestyle choice fall into the fad category? Or is it a well-balanced, realistic lifestyle that can be maintained for the long haul?
The secret to a positive relationship with food lies within you. The next time you want to embark on a new diet journey, put it through this fad diet test, and make the decision that is right for you.
*As seen on headtotoewellness.weebly.com
This site is all about spreading the truth about the food the fuels us through interpreting evidence-based research. But sometimes there's stuff Samantha wants to talk about in a more relaxed way. All the information on this page will still be based in science, and will never subscribe to fad diets or unattainable extremes. Check back frequently!