Importance of a well-balanced diet for a healthy body and mind

Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
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A fit and healthy body is essential for one to be able to live his or her life to its fullest. One can have a quick-thinking mind and a strong and active body only if he or she is healthy. Health affords one the capacity to use and maximize all of his or her potentials. A fundamental factor in the being healthy is making sure that one’s body is getting the right kind and amount of nutrition. Thus, it is important that one has a well-balanced diet. The National Health Service defined a diet as the food which one eats over a particular of time.

The recent years saw people’s obsession with their weight, losing pounds and curves, and staying thin. As such, the term diet has gotten a new connotation as the process of reducing and planning a rigid eating plan to help one lose weight. The second definition of diet is also the more popular one because of people’s increased interest in their weights. The combination of recent years’ health risks and people’s perception of attractiveness have made the second definition of dieting popular today. Though they hold various reasons for going on diets, the decision to diet is obviously for weight loss.

Why is the idea of weight loss deemed so necessary and attractive nowadays? First, dieting is widespread because it is a health and life necessity for many people. A proper diet is one that is suited specifically for a person’s activities and body type. It should also include a balanced mix of all the major food groups. The fast-paced lifestyles many people lead today have prevented them from practicing a healthy diet. Those who feel they do not have the time or extra energy to prepare the right kind of food for their diet fall prey to greasy fast food and often skip on vegetables and fruits.

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Another problem is that many of people’s occupations now do not require them to be physically. The combination of the two has resulted in the United Kingdom reporting a 300 percent increase in the number of overweight or obese people. As such, one reason for dieting and weight loss is to improve one’s health. Second, many professional athletes or aspiring ones view dieting as a way to keep their bodies in top physical condition. Sports require one to be in his or her best fitness levels. Athletes believe they may play better and faster and endure longer if they can improve their physical condition through highly-regimented diets.

Further, there are also sports and highly physical activities such as running, gymnastics and ballet in which the participants are encouraged, almost required, to be thin and prevent weight gain as much as possible. Third, the media portrays a certain body type and look to be the single most attractive look there is as such many feel compelled to look the same. The media influences people in their formation of the definition of beauty. People are living in the age of the media, wherein the media has the power to dictate people’s beliefs.

As such, whatever the media portrays as attractive or not becomes translated as the people and their culture’s real idea of beauty. Though they are not the only ones for whom this reason is true, teens are especially susceptible to this kind of influence by the media since they are in an age wherein they feel conscious about the changes happening to their bodies as well as what others think of them. Teenagers are still in the process of building their sense of identity and therefore have fragile self-esteems.

Their body images, or how good they feel about their appearance, are closely tied to their sense of self-worth and self-identity. Therefore when they are constantly bombarded with media images of beauty in the form of waif-thin women and muscled men, teenagers form it in their heads that these are ideal looks that they should have. They learn to identify with the media-prescribed image of beauty. Teenagers perceive and accept cultural notion of beauty as depicted by the media, and feel resolved to accomplish the same figures and looks by going on special weight-reducing diets.

These reasons are voiced out by millions of people scattered all over the globe, thereby making the idea of dieting a very popular one. Diets have also been profitable as seen in the many diet facilities and services present. Further testaments to how widespread the idea of dieting is nowadays are the seemingly endless list of diet fads. Recent dieting fads to take center stage include liquid diet, grapefruit diet, detox diet and different reincarnations of low carbohydrates diet. These diet fads, like fashion trends are always changing because of its extreme food restrictions.

These fads are never around for long because not many can force their selves into the kind of deprivation diet it requires of people. Weight loss diets easily become dull, repetitive and too limited thus people cannot stay on them for very long. The best and most realistic kind of diet is still the balanced diet with a slightly edited calorie intake for those who seriously and medically need to lose weight. People cannot be prevented from wanting to lose weight and as such weight loss diets are still thriving businesses. Weight loss diets may be restrictive but most are generally safe to follow.

The problems most people have who have discontinued dieting are the feelings of deprivation and missing the food they used to eat, and being unable to successfully fit their diets into their lifestyles. Diets only become dangerous to one’s health when they are done excessively, beyond what nutritionists have planned and what people’s bodies can handle. Pushing one’s body beyond a certain painful point can turn weight-loss diets into psychological and eating disorders. Two of the most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Both are expressions of dissatisfaction with one’s body size and shape and the extreme lengths of weight loss. Anorexia is person’s intentional deprivation of his or her self from food intake due to the fear of becoming fat. Anorexics are also psychologically disturbed believing that they are overweight despite the fact that they are already very skinny. Earlier compliments regarding their weight loss act as anorexics’ motivation and reinforcements so that they continue their practice of not eating even when they have become unhealthily thin, exceedingly weak, sick, or near death because of hunger.

On the other hand, bulimia is an eating disorder wherein one goes on excessive or binge eating then as if to negate the eating, follows it with severe and harmful methods of weight control. After an uncontrolled and massive food intake, bulimics attempt to prevent weight gain by quickly purging the food from their bodies through methods such vomiting, intense fasting and repeated use of laxatives. The repeated abuse causes bulimics to become prone to stomach and esophagus ruptures, irregular bowel movement and tooth erosion.

Apart from the physical harm, bulimia is also an addiction and psychological disorder. When bulimics binge on food, they feel temporary calm and separated from their depression. However it is quickly turned over by the feelings of guilt and self-loathing which compels them to purge what used to be the object of their calmness, food. Bulimics’ self-loathing and unstable personality makes it more probable that they will perform more intense forms of self-damaging actions such as suicide. Dieting can lead to dangerous and hazardous health situations when taken to the extreme.

Eating disorders stemming from a person’s desire for weight-loss represent an intense lack of self-esteem and an absence of a positive body image. The lack of these personal strengths makes people predisposed to unquestioningly accepting the media’s single and prescribed definition of beauty. Dieting is one of the tools people use to reach this beauty goals but sometime people are unable to limit the steps the take to feel attractive and accepted. Whether due to a need to improve one’s health, stay physically fit or fit the cultural notion of beauty, diets must be made wisely and realistically.

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Importance of a well-balanced diet for a healthy body and mind. (2016, Sep 05). Retrieved from

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