Diet Culture

Diet Culture

By Asha Shetler

                Diets have a 98% failure rate, yet “diet culture” has taken over our world. Diet and weight loss culture in a nutshell? Thinness is beauty, health, and success. Body positivity in a nutshell? The truth: that any body can represent beauty, health, and success. This diet culture, in addition to undermining the body positivity movement, can destroy one’s mental health and/or self-esteem. It tells us that no matter what we look like, we are too fat and we should lose weight; that our bodies are not beautiful and not healthy. Diet culture is reflected in our daily language, in Barbie’s tiny waist, in social media filters, in who’s popular and who’s not. The U.S. weight loss market was an astounding  $72.7 billion in 2018, and is predicted to only grow. Clearly, being fed these lies that spawn from diet culture can make us very self-conscious and sometimes even self-loathing. It sets us up to feel like a failure, as well as normalizes and even encourages disordered eating, such as anorexia or bulimia. So, what can we do to reject this culture? Some of the best approaches are practicing self-compassion and intuitive eating (asking yourself what you need to help you feel best in your body.) If you or someone you know is struggling with diet culture or body image, therapy could be a helpful option for you.   

Sources:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a35036808/what-is-diet-culture/

https://www.health.com/mind-body/body-positivity/escaping-diet-culture

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Obsessive Preoccupation with Perfect Health

Obsessive Preoccupation with Perfect Health

By: Toniann Seals

Everyone has heard of the phrase, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing.” Of course, it is not true in all situations, however with healthy living it may be.

Ways to stay healthy:

  1. Exercising daily
  2. Eating regularly
  3. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet
  4. Walking/taking the stairs
  5. Improving strength
  6. Eating organic food

If you take these behaviors to an extreme, it could potentially become negative both physically and mentally. Chronic fatigue or body image issues may arise. If exercising gets in the way of daily activities and causes your energy to decline afterward you may need to cut down. Likewise, eating healthy food is amazing for the body; however excessive dieting, calorie counting, and fasting can lead to eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

This could also negatively impact family and friends as your lifestyle could possibly put them in a position where they feel the need to keep up with you.

Patience, as well as understanding that perfection should not be the “goal,” can erase any bad thoughts or influences. Work hard, yet take care of your mental and physical health. Moderation and balance are necessary for a healthy life.

If you or someone you know is dealing with unhealthy lifestyle habits or an eating disorder, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Image: https://all-free-download.com/free-vector/download/healthy-lifestyle-theme-human-exercise-and-fruit-icons_6826742.html

Restrictive Eating Disorder: Orthorexia

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

“Sugar-free,” “low-calorie,” “antioxidant-rich,” “organic.” These are all words we are surrounded by in a world where healthy eating is so greatly stressed and strived for. We are educated from an early age about how it is important to choose healthier options in order to maintain our wellbeing and avoid illnesses. Healthy eating seems to be failproof – nothing could possibly go wrong with wanting to make healthy food choices, right?

Wrong. While healthy eating is extremely beneficial in reasonable amounts, it can take an unhealthy turn when the desire to eat clean becomes obsessive. This condition is defined as orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthy foods and eliminating those which do not fall under this category. Although not formally diagnosed, this illness can truly affect one’s wellbeing. People with orthorexia completely ban foods that they do not think are healthy, and often restrict calories as well, thus destroying their relationships with food.

There are many symptoms of orthorexia to note. Individuals with this disorder excessively look at nutritional facts and caloric information. They are continually concerned about health information and ingredients, and cut out foods that do not qualify as healthy (such as sugars, carbs, and fats). Orthorexia can cause individuals to spend lots of time thinking about the foods they need to consume, and makes them uncomfortable if they are only surrounded by “unhealthy” food choices. Orthorexia is often comorbid with obsessive compulsive disorder. As a result of orthorexia, individuals deprive themselves of key nutrients and essential calories for proper functioning. They and can develop issues such as decreased blood pressure, blood sugar fluctuations, digestive issues, impaired brain functioning and concentration, sleeping difficulties, hair loss, loss of menstrual cycle, and muscle cramping.

Although healthy eating can be advantageous, it must be encouraged in a realistic and reasonable way. People should be informed that having a well-balanced diet is important, and involves eating foods such as carbs, sugars, and fats which may be believed to be “unhealthy”. Overall physical health can be maintained even if eating those “junky” meals every now and then and not obsessively restricting one’s diets. By promoting this, we can also certify that we encourage both good physical AND mental health.

If you or someone you know is suffering from orthorexia and/or other eating issues, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Why Dieting May Be Bad For You

Sam Kwok

As the summer months roll around, the amount of social media posts of swimsuit bodies increase. Many people believe that summer is the time for dieting to achieve a perfect body that would be praised by others on social media. To help people lose weight and get into shape, many diet plans have been developed which typically restricts those following the plan from specific food groups. Some of the most common diets are:

  • Keto: low carb, high protein
  • Raw: uncooked food
  • Vegan: no foods that come from animals (ex. Dairy, meat, honey)
  • Paleo: no foods cavemen would not have eaten (ex. Pasta, dairy)
  • Atkins: low carbs
  • Weight Watchers: company meal plan, premade food

Research has shown that healthy lifestyles have been linked to better mental health. Those who eat a balanced diet and exercise daily tend to be happier. Though these diet plans seem to encourage people to make healthy decisions, many of these plans are in fact, the very opposite of healthy as they do not promote a balanced diet. The National Heart Organization recommends that individuals eat approximately 6 servings of grains a day. Those on an Atkins and Keto diet typically eat 0-2 servings. Those following the raw food diet also lack a lot of nutrients that exist in cooked food. Plants have an extra layer within their cells known as cell walls which are meant to help the plant in providing protection and structural support. Some animals like pandas have the ability to break through this cell wall, but humans, do not. The only way for us to break down this cell wall to absorb nutrients is through cooking our vegetables.

There have also been cases of individuals who develop obsessions with diet fads and eventually develop eating disorders. Some common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These disorders not only take a huge toll on the body physically, but they also affect the mind psychologically. When trying to get into shape, one should eat a balanced diet and exercise daily, yet many diet plans fail to include such topics. Having a stable sleep schedule as well as maintaining social relationships can affect weight as well as an individual’s esteem and should be taken into consideration when one is attempting to lose weight. Remember, you are what you eat- so eat healthy.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from an eating disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ for more information.