Monday, May 11, 2015, was national Eat What You Want Day. Curious, I looked up this event. Right next to a quote about the inventors (Thomas and Ruth Roy) wanting people to “break away from the frustrating health and diet trends of our times,” according to Days of the Year, there was an ad about “Five Foods to Never Eat,” with a picture of a carrot.
Food is a wonderful thing. Food has developed from basic raw meat and dug-up vegetables of the ancients to fine wines, elaborate courses, and did I mention desserts? Many chefs would describe cooking as an adventure. But people these days seem to be consumed with dieting.
About 45 million Americans are on a diet per year, and they spend an average of 33 million dollars on dieting products, according to Boston Medical Center. At every grocery store, you’re bound to see a dieting magazine with an unrealistically thin adult modeling on the front amid labels of nutrition ideas. When it comes to food, a large portion of Americans are set on not eating it.
However, on every street corner, you have a fast food place. Online, there are hundreds of free coupons for restaurants. Certain authors write about food like they’re in love with it with their odes to a turkey their characters are chowing down on. This mentality is just like someone’s eating a cupcake but hating that they’re doing it. This is an everyday reality for some people, and Eat What You Want Day addresses that.
Counting calories and kicking carbs out of your meals can help you maintain or lose weight, but the guilt trip that comes with “slipping up” and eating 95 calories over your diet in the form of an apple shouldn’t be there. Dieting can actually be dangerous, when taken too far. There’s a chance people who diet will over-exercise, leading to health problems. Crash diets (where you randomly restrict types of food and amount of food you eat to an extreme measure) can be terribly unhealthy as well. It can lead to liver and kidney damage, depression, or an eating disorder, as Futures of Palm Beach states. There are diets out there that are little more than not eating at all. And in a desperation to be thin, people will take on these diets despite the serious health risks.
These sort of ideas open to the public can be dangerous. People have to be careful, because what could be promised as a working, healthy diet could be greatly restricting nutrients necessary to survive, and can lead to malnutrition. It’s important to be eating enough and healthy enough. Keeping a strict, unhealthy diet can leave lasting impressions. For Monday’s holiday, or every once and a while, going out to a fancy restaurant and eating the most extravagant thing on the menu to celebrate something won’t hurt anybody.
If you’re going to go on a diet, please make sure that it’s healthy and won’t harm you. Don’t feel guilty when you occasionally go over that calorie limit, especially if it’s just a few holidays. So, for Eat What You Want Day, eat that bagel. Or you can enjoy that fancy salad. Or have your cupcakes, and eat them too.