May 13, 2013

The Reality Of Crash Diets As Opposed To A Balanced Diet

By Nasmira Firdous


So, you start your day by looking at the mirror and frown at how “fat” you are. You envy the “figure-perfect” girls splashed all across magazine covers. My dear sisters, you might have opted for the famous crash diets or are trying to figure out how you could shrink to size zero, because looks matter. Right? I do not deny that. However, you need to realize that shrinking to a size zero without consulting a doctor or indulging in self-diagnosis can lead to self-imposed disasters that might affect you in ways unknown.

Crash diets may seem to be the latest fad in town, but it sure will not help keep your fat at bay. But what about all those “success” stories, you might ask. Firstly, let us get our facts straight:

Weight loss is not like instant coffee. 

If you want to lose weight because you are battling obesity, bring about small and consistent steps to stay fit, healthy, active and happy in the long run. If you are going to starve yourself, chances are that you will end up putting on more weight than normal. Do not be surprised.

While it is extremely important to stay within the normal weight limit, you need to understand that your body is intricately designed and your overall weight is determined by numerous factors like basal metabolic rate, hormonal functioning, your physical activity, the genes you have inherited and finally, the type of foods you eat.

Your body is like a complicated instrument, which runs on numerous working parts. Restricting one part of the system without medical supervision will directly affect the remaining organs. So if you are going to starve your stomach, your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and brain will complain and suffer due to your negligence.

What crash diets could do? 
  • Heart Failure 
Since crash diets do not give your body a complete nutrient package, you could suffer from disorders like heart palpitations or even cardiac arrest, diseases even your grandparents would not have complained about. So, sisters, do not lose your heart (figuratively and literally).
  • Emotional and Physical Roller Coaster 
Food cravings, depression due to starving yourself of numerous foods, moodiness due to decreased fuel to your brain cells, bulimia or anorexia will become your constant companions.
  • Bone Deformities 
Calcium deficiency due to crash diets will make you susceptible to osteoporosis. Say hi to fractures, bone brittleness and even stunted physical growth if you are an adolescent.
  • Muscle Loss 
You may seem to lose weight but in reality, you are losing your muscle mass rather than losing the stubborn fat! It is a lose-lose situation.
  • Death!! 
If that did not scare you enough, did you know that nutrient deficiency could kill you? The Food and Drug Administration reported nearly 60 deaths among liquid dieters due to a sudden drop in blood pressure or arrhythmias.

What Can You Do?
Overfed with information? Okay, so you do not want to acquire any of the aforementioned disorders but you want to lose weight in a healthy manner. You most probably do not understand how a balanced diet works. Read on.

Balanced Diet How To’s
Balanced diet does not mean you have to eat cardboard. Unless you are suffering from some underlying disease condition, disorder or are battling other health complications, you can safely stick to a balanced diet that provides you with the right type of nutrients without making you put on more weight. Here is how:
  • Replace your refined food products with whole grain foods. While refined foods will give you loads of sugar, whole grain foods will give you loads of vitamins, minerals, proteins and the desired amount of carbohydrates in the right manner. 
  • Have skim milk instead of high fat milk. 
  • Start eating your favorite fruit when you feel hungry. Fruits when consumed with skin have fiber, which will make you feel full and prevent you from consuming more than what’s necessary. 
  • Eat 4 to 6 small meals as opposed to the conventional three large meals. This will provide your body with constant calories preventing you from feeling hungry. Additionally, your body will use up more calories to digest your meal, helping you lose calories in a natural way.
  • Consume lean meat. Fish is an excellent option to consider. 
  • Eat a handful of nuts like walnuts or almonds to bring a delicious and nutritious tinge to your balanced diet. 
These little steps will satisfy your hunger pangs and your taste buds, making you feel full, content, healthy and happy insha’Allah.

Diet and Exercise: Mutual Friends
Diet and exercise go hand in hand, just like a lock and key. You cannot benefit from one without using the other. Fat cannot be burned by sitting in front of a computer screen or watching numerous reality shows of how people lost weight. Fat can be burnt by moving around. You do not have to dread about the “boring” gym instantly. Instead:
  • Play your favorite sport like badminton or basketball with your siblings. 
  • Go hiking or trekking with your family members and soak in the beauty of nature gifted to you by Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala. 
  • Walk for 15 to 20 minutes everyday. You can recite some of your favorite duas or indulge in dhikr during this period to gain extra reward. 
Crash dieting is undertaken by hospitals in extreme cases. So, unless you are unable to move out of your bed due to your weight, you should not even be looking at this option over Google. Yes, stop consulting Dr.Google or some random success story, which your friend narrated, because crash diets are undertaken by hospitals in extreme cases only!

Crash diets are not like magic wands. However, small consistent steps by consciously including the right type of foods and remaining active are highly effective in keeping you physically and emotionally healthy.

Lastly, always carry yourself around with a smile and get comfortable under your own skin because you are beautiful just the way you are!

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


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