New Year's resolutions are like new gym memberships. You start out motivated, raring to go, but (unless it's really your thing) the inspiration quickly fizzles out and it becomes a chore...
Every year at least one person will ask you what it is you're planning on changing in the new year and the usual responses get thrown around: get healthy; eat less junk food; save more money; go on a diet; master a skill; actually use your gym membership. But, while those responses are all well and good, on the whole only about 80 percent of people who make resolutions (let's call them "resolvers" to make it easier) stick to them. Why?—Because they're unrealistic with their goals. Whilst being healthy and dieting aren't bad ideas, the actions people take to achieve them (which ultimately fail) can leave you worse off than before you started.
Binge eating, also known as comfort eating, is unhealthy. Generally, people binge junk foods that are sweet, carby, or fatty in nature (chocolate, pizza, crisps/chips, etc.) and, for reasons that are obvious, this is super unhealthy for you. BUT, binge dieting, also known as fad dieting, is equally as bad. But what is binge dieting?
Binge dieting/fad dieting is hopping from one diet to the next in the hope that the new *better* diet will solve all of your problems—helping you to achieve the results you desire. This is wrong! First of all, your body can't handle switching dietary habits too frequently, because it gets used to a certain level of whatever it is you're putting in it. For example, if you do a fasting diet (five days eating normally, two days "fasting" on only 500-600 calories) and then decide to switch to a very carby diet or to start introducing frequent "cheat days," your body develops dietary expectations and starts to store the food you're putting into it as fat or start burning off too much. Not only will you not get the results you want, but this way of dieting is unhealthy for your body—especially when you achieve the results you aimed for and then return to your original diet, undoing anything you had already achieved and then feeling you have to diet again.
This type of dieting is also bad for you because, whilst their enticement is the fact they help you achieve results quicker than a balanced, healthy diet will, there are some serious negative side effects that are associated with this style of losing weight.
Firstly, the biggest concern is dehydration. The weight lost from these diets is generally "water weight"; the loss of this leads to rapid dehydration, which can give you: headaches, eye aches, loss of focus, general weakness, irritability, and delusions (like thinking you feel better from dieting!). The easiest way to solve this is to remember that water is your friend! If you decide to eat into this dieting concept, make sure you drink plenty of water. It is recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that you should drink about three to four litres a day.
Another issue caused is tiredness, because you are depriving your body of calories which give you energy. This can lead to: a drop in productivity, depression, interrupted sleeping habits and insomnia. Rather than focusing on eating fewer calories and low-fat branded foods, it's better to focus on eating healthier foods (fruit, veg, proteins) in smaller quantities and more frequently!
Being healthy—and staying healthy—is a feat. Sticking to a balanced diet can seem impossible because the results aren't immediate. And, whilst binge dieting can feel like it's working quicker, the side effects from this form of dieting are not good for your body—or your mental health. A balanced diet—which you most likely learnt about in school—is the best way to work toward a healthy lifestyle.
Getting fit and healthy requires commitment and determination. It is a lifestyle choice and something you must actively change—there is no quick way to cheat the process. So, despite the New Year already being nearly a week underway and, probably around 80 percent of "resolvers" having most likely already given up on their resolution, that's okay. Being healthy doesn't need to be rushed into and you shouldn't diet because you feel pressured to create a New Year's resolution. Change happens when you are ready.
So, take your time to consider what is best for you. Don't just jump into something because you feel that you should, or because people you know have. Instead, why not ditch the resolutions and the unhealthy dieting choices? Your body deserves better.