Winning the Diet Wars

Martha Lewis (note her real name), 22, fresh out of an Ivy League university is now raring to take a shot at the real world. After making good grades and earning her degree, she feels that she now has what it takes to make a name for herself in the corporate world. Being fluent in Spanish and French, she felt confident about standing out and being noticed by the powers-that-be.

Still, she knows that her academic achievements cannot cover up for her “aesthetic flaws.” Martha actually thinks that she’s too fat, not good-looking, and desperately lacks good fashion sense. She also worries about becoming the “object” of office gossip and behind-the-back jokes. All these years, she was secretly terrified of being the real-life “Ugly Betty.”

After getting a job offer from a Fortune 500 company, Martha frantically went on a diet, or more appropriately, she starved herself. Without the benefit of getting a doctor’s advice or the services of a nutritionist-dietitian, Martha tried to lose weight by subsisting on water and soda crackers — for almost two weeks. It was not long after that when she was rushed to the hospital for severe dehydration and hunger. She did become thin — and sick.

Like Martha, many women go on a diet without the supervision of a health professional. Many starve themselves without even first getting the right information about the scientific and safe way to go on a diet. In some extreme cases, women fall into the “beauty trap” and then find themselves struggling with anorexia or bulimia — or both.

To help women who are conscious about their figure and who are equally committed to improve their health, it may be best to read the brief descriptions about popular and safe diet programs:

Points Diet – You can take any food type as you don’t exceed the allowed intake (points) for each day. Each food type is given a point equivalent on the calorie intake. This diet is perfect for vegetarians. However, weight loss usually takes time when one follows this diet.

Atkins Diet – This a low-carbohydrate diet that focuses on the reduction of sugar, flour, and corn syrup in the daily food consumption. Nausea, headache, and fainting during the initial stages of following the diet can be expected. These symptoms occur due to adjustment of the body to the loss of carbohydrates.

Low & No Sugar Diet This diet forbids the consumption of “un-healthy” food with high sugar content. The diet is premised on the fact that most Americans eat sweet and starchy foods that have little or no nutritive value. These foods also contribute a lot to weight and fat gain.

South Beach Diet – This is the popular “low-carb”diet but it recommends the consumption of unsaturated fat and good carbs. It is a balanced and healthy diet program. The diet does not involve calorie-counting. On the other hand, this diet can be expensive and time-consuming to prepare.

The U.S. Department of Health actually has a Food Pyramid system that serves as guideline on how much a person should consume certain food groups. The food group that is located at the apex of the pyramid should be consumed the least while the food group at the base of the pyramid should be part of a person’s daily food consumption. The Food Pyramid is divided into the following four sections that tell you which food you should eat more and what food to cut down:

lTop Level – fats, oils, sugar and salt (eat the least)

lSecond Level – eggs, milk, beef, pork, fish ( eat in moderation)

lThird Level – vegetables and fruits

lLast Level – rice, noodles, cereal and bread

There are a lot of diet plans out there but it is important to get complete, accurate information when it comes to your health and safety. There are some people who respond better when their diet is complemented by a regular exercise program and the use of doctor-approved quick weight loss pill. Unlike Martha, women should go on a diet primarily for health reasons and not just to get a lean, sexy body. After all, having an attractive figure does not automatically make someone healthy. Having a balanced, well-informed outlook towards weight loss and fitness will surely make a woman beautiful, on the outside and within.

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