It's no secret that America has a problem with obesity. We're also a society that's obsessed with physical appearances.
Consequently, we've created an entire industry, largely based on myths and fads, dedicated to weight loss.
There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy. Yet, experts continue to agree that dieting doesn't work.
Indeed, diets are consistently ineffective and they only serve to further people's insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. Not to mention, they lead people to stress over something that's as necessary and natural as breathing: eating.
Eating should not be an anxiety-inducing activity, it should be enjoyed.
Stop stressing over the small stuff and learn to appreciate your body based on your own terms.
Listen to your body, it knows what's good for you.
In a world in which we obtain the vast majority of our information on the Internet, we are inundated with contradictory messages. This is particularly true when it comes to dieting and weight loss.
Do yourself a favor, put away your computer and listen to your body instead. It knows what it wants and what it needs better than you might think.
In other words, eat whatever you want, whenever you want it. This doesn't mean you should go have a binge-eating session at your nearest fast-food establishment, but that there are practical ways to stay healthy without going on a diet.
Believe or not, this dietary philosophy is increasingly being advocated by both nutritionalists and psychologists. It's known as intuitive eating, and it calls for us to allow our instincts to dictate our diets.
There are several key tenets to this philosophy. First, say no to diets and stop feeling guilty for eating what you desire. If you want a slice of pizza, have a slice of pizza.
Eat when you're hungry, but stop when you're full. Avoid emotional eating, but eat instead for the purpose of physical nourishment.
Additionally, don't forget to prioritize exercise, as it's necessarily for both your physical and mental health.
Above all, listen to your body. It knows what's good and bad for it. Have you ever noticed you feel terrible and somewhat ill after eating certain junk foods? That's your body sending you a message.
This doesn't mean you should chastise yourself for eating unhealthily, but learn to listen to the way your body reacts to different foods.
It goes without saying that it will probably appreciate an apple much more than a donut for example.
Simply put, our body already knows what's good for us, we just have to be willing to listen.
Successful people don't sweat the small stuff.
Intuitive eating will help you realize life is too short to spend it stressing over little details like what to eat and drink. We all have enough to worry about, don't allow frivolous details to dictate your happiness.
Similarly, during a recent interview with Cosmopolitan UK, actress Cameron Diaz stated:
Wellbeing is an equation. Remember, you don't have to have the whole cake, you can have a piece. Don't deprive yourself. Have fun. Just be self-aware. If your equation is 80% good, 20% bad most of the time, then a little movement toward the centre isn't going to affect you much.
Diaz is absolutely right, life doesn't have to be complicated, it's all about finding a practical equilibrium.
Research has shown embracing a more simplistic lifestyle, in terms of decisions surrounding everything from our wardrobes to diets, can make us far more efficient and successful.
Simplify your daily life, and concentrate on the present moment instead.
Many successful people have adopted this mentality in terms of what they eat. Warren Buffet, for example, says eating like a 6-year-old is what helps him stay young and energetic.
He claims to drink five 12-ounce servings of Coca-Cola every day and he eats whatever he wants regardless of what time of day it is.
We're not necessarily condoning consuming that much soda on a daily basis, but given Buffet is 84 and still an exceptionally active and successful investor... he might be onto something.
Correspondingly, Michelle Obama, well-known for her efforts in advocating good nutrition and exercise for children, has stated that diets can be very harmful.
Indeed, the globally respected First Lady has contended that how we feel both in general and about ourselves is far more important.
Likewise, as Mark Twain once stated:
The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
Don't waste your time stressing over what to eat, you have better things to do. Success is about seeing the big picture, everything else is background noise.
Citations: The Case for Eating Whatever You Want (Science of Us), 8 Habits Of Insanely Fit People (Huffington Post), Reclaim Your Time and Energy 5 Ways to Take Your Life Back From Food (Huffington Post), 10 Secrets of Intuitive Eating (Huffington Post), Medicares search for effective obesity treatments diets are not the answer (PubMed), A burden shared (The Economist), 10 things the weight loss industry wont tell you (Market Watch), Diet and exercise not enough obesity experts say (CBS News), Cameron Diaz Social media is a crazy ass experiment on society (Cosmopolitan UK)