Dieting in Excess

New Year’s had just passed. Many resolutions have been made, which, for many is about change in diet, and losing weight. Now Valentine’s Day is coming up next month– many want to look their best for a potential date. Then summer, it’s all about the beach bod… and then, before you know it, summer is over, we “regretfully” gain some during the holidays, and the new year is rolling around again. How much dieting is too much?

Many of us are taught about health issues and dieting when we are really young. When we hit puberty, physical changes occur, we can’t help but sometimes question our body and attractiveness. We become more conscientious about our appearance and our body, as young as 9 years old.

Sadly middle school was when I first noticed kids around my age, even at a healthy weight, starving themselves, including my own friends. This was back then before the 2000s, so I wouldn’t be surprised if today, the way kids are growing up way too fast these days, if they have started questioning at an even earlier age. Some of my friends would skip lunch, other friends would go on unhealthy looking diets (liquids), and try different things. It didn’t help that I was really really skinny as a kid, and they’d look at me saying they wish they were that thin. But in reality, if they were my weight at their height and body type, they’d be absolutely skin and bones, likely be half dead or even die. It would not be healthy at all. Everyone’s different, which means everyone has a different healthy weight. Luckily middle school went in depth about eating disorders so I think that helped students a lot, but it doesn’t prevent an epidemic.

Fast forward college years.. I avoided the gym. I always thought it was a little depressing seeing people overwork themselves, not that all do, but some go overboard. Instead, I practiced a lot of martial arts, some break dancing, etc. I was either doing things 6 times a week, often 4 hours per day, but I was also eating 4 large meals and snacking heavily in between to maintain weight and nutrition.

One day I decided to play badminton in the campus gym, and while I was there, I was curious to check out the equipment that existed. I walked into the usuals, perspiration, sounds of exercise equipment, people panting, breathing hard and working hard to get fit. What haunted me even to this day was the image of 2 girls around my age between 18-20 years old, who were literally skin and bones, obviously overworking themselves. They were walking around like zombies, soaked in sweat, drained and exhausted. That is excessive and they looked like they have an eating disorder. It is not normal or healthy to have eye sockets sunken in, bones showing through skin, and looking like you’re dying. There’s a possibility that they could have been dying with that path. I felt guilty just being there because I was getting stares, and it felt as if I was in middle school again with people wishing they were as skinny as me. I didn’t want to be a “bad influence” so I left. I felt even more guiltier in not saying anything. I didn’t know what to say or what could I have said at the time without offending 2 strangers as it would be “none of my business.” Maybe next time I’ll say something. I hope at least their close friends they know will. They will more likely to listen.

I was never anorexic looking at all, and never went dieting or exercised in excess and people assumed I ate very little. The truth was, I grew up being very well fed, and I did eat A LOT. My college friends are witnesses. I was also doing a lot of physical activities so I was really toned and had some muscles. Yes, maybe genes or metabolism attributes to my size but regardless, anyone of any size who excessively binges on unhealthy food, can either gain a lot of weight or decline in health significantly, which can be fatal. So I try to eat healthy.

But I understand, unfortunately genes can attribute to easily gaining weight. I can say that as an “underweight” it’s as hard to maintain my weight as much as it’s hard for someone “overweight” to lose weight. If something goes wrong like I get a little sick, I can drop pounds by the day and that’s not good. I’m not sure if I’d survive a game of survivor or if I can go a day without eating.

People want to know my “secret.” The “secret” to losing weight or maintaining a weight is really exercise and dieting. If you can’t do vigorous exercises because of an injury there are healthy food options, light exercises, and if you want to get extreme, I heard there are meditation methods (like in martial arts) that manipulate energy help burn some calories.. but that takes time to achieve. Don’t starve yourself, and of course, don’t binge and vomit. You may look in the mirror and think you’re fat like the girls I’ve seen probably does, but get an honest opinion from someone you trust. Don’t diet in excess. If someone is concerned that you are, they may be right. When you exercise. Be diligent and determined. Sometimes people are not motivated to do something about it so they may gain weight instead and then it becomes a vicious battle. Have you ever watched Extreme Makeovers, Weight Loss edition? The personal trainer would did what seemed impossible and train people to lose hundreds in a year. That itself is very inspiring.

A lot of people want to look good in the New Year, Valentine’s Day, Summer, etc, for others, but you should do it for yourself. If gym isn’t your thing, that’s OK, there are martial arts, dancing/cardio, etc. There’s also exercise at home videos. But never don’t fall into the gimmicks! This includes questionable diet shakes, pills, etc. Who knows what’s in that stuff. Make your own smoothie out of fresh fruits. Those infomercials that claim you’ll lose x amount in whatever days.. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Nothing can replace traditional exercise. Pace yourself and allow, I believe about 20ish hours or so to repair your muscles or more if worked a lot. Stretch BEFORE AND AFTER every work out.

Drop me a line below if you have any questions on tips on how to toned.. at least coming from someone who trained intensely in the martial arts at one point.  The routines of punching and kicking the air, breathing techniques with proper muscle compression are really effective.  Do note, you won’t receive email notifications of my responses, so do check back. If there’s too many comments, I may not be reply to all of them. The only other thing I never got was ripping abs. I think that was because I was eating some somewhat unhealthy (my 4th meal involved bacon cheese fries). I also didn’t focus on exercises to get abs.

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