Dieting Dos and Don’ts

We all want to be the best versions of ourselves, both inside and out. Unfortunately, reaching our “best” is often a difficult task, particularly when no matter what we do; it never seems to be enough. There is nothing wrong with self-improvement, but it’s important to recognize what your true motives are and to try your best to feel comfortable in the skin you’re in. If you have a feeling your dieting might be leaning toward the unhealthy side, take a look below at the comparison between healthy dieting and unhealthy dieting.

What Does Healthy Dieting Look Like?

  • Exercising regularly (4-6 times per week) for 30 minutes to an hour
  • Maintaining a balanced diet including proteins, whole grains and complex carbohydrates
  • Consuming between 1,200–1,500 calories per day (varies by weight and weight loss goals)
  • Striving to achieve a normal healthy weight for your height
  • Recognizing that dieting and achieving a healthy weight happens over time, not overnight
  • Not considering yourself as someone “on a diet,” but rather an adapter of a healthy lifestyle
  • Knowing it’s okay to treat yourself every once and a while and say “yes” to pizza or ice cream with friends. Moderation is key.

What Does Unhealthy Dieting Look Like?

  • Excessive exercising (7 days a week and/or more than once a day) for multiple hours
  • Restricting calories to under 1,200 per day
  • Cutting out entire food groups and following fad diets
  • Striving to achieve a weight that is considered underweight for your height
  • Crash dieting and pushing your limits to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time
  • Idolizing models and celebrities who are underweight as “thinspiration”
  • Obsessing over the scale
  • Constant feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness

After assessing your goals and whether or not you’re dieting the healthy way, ask yourself if you’re really doing this for you or for others. At the end of the day, you should want to improve because it feels good to be healthy. Otherwise, you are only practicing self-destructive behavior if you find yourself obsessing over your weight and trying to fit in with others. If you feel that you’re dieting the unhealthy way, your pediatric provider is here to help steer you back on the right track toward a healthy lifestyle.