On your own, you are entirely capable of having a diet-induced anxiety attack. However, society seems to think you need a little help. At every turn, it offers you another opportunity for a nervous breakdown. You are plagued by reminders that you are not as thin or as successful as other dieters. The catalysts for your self-hatred range from fashion magazines to news articles to the obnoxiously skinny girl at the checkout counter, but today’s most common causes of freaking out are:
1. BMI Fixation – are you underweight, normal, overweight, obese or morbidly obese? If you want to find out, measure your body mass index (BMI). Compare your weight to your height and wait for a label. It’s more than likely that you’ll find you’re in the class above what you expected, meaning you’re fatter than you thought. Bummer.
2. Reality TV – nothing’s better than losing weight together. Let’s all tune in and watch 18 morbidly obese individuals struggle through calorie-restriction and extreme exercise. As they drop dress sizes, you’ll lose . . . five pounds, meaning you’re a diet failure. Tough luck.
Focusing on either one of the above options is going to send you spiraling into depression and a box of doughnuts. But if you had all the facts about both rather than just the promotional hype, you wouldn’t need to glaze away your problems:
1. BMI Fixation – at best, it’s a limited indicator of how your body mass has changed over time. However, it ignores the difference between muscles mass and fat mass, and doesn’t account for weight distribution. You could be all rippling biceps and rock-hard abs without an ounce of fat and still be labeled overweight. There are significantly better ways to measure your health.
2. Reality TV – these people aren’t living normal lives. It’s a 24-7 weight-loss environment with no other distractions. And, they’re losing at alarmingly unhealthy rates. You want to drop one or two pounds a week not one or two tons. Accelerated weight loss can lead to considerable health difficulties.
So, ignore the body-mass-index obsession and turn off the television. Don’t let the outside world depress you. You can do that by yourself.