There's been a lot of buzz lately about Bob Harper's new book Jumpstart to Skinny. If you aren't familiar with the book, it's a short term plan for losing a lot of weight. To be specific, Bob recommends an adult woman eat a mere 800 calories a day while doing at least 45 minutes of low intensity cardio per day. This amount of calories is way below any woman's basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you need to actually function properly). Why would you want to risk the health of your organs to fit into a bikini? I am by no means an expert on weight loss, and I do not have what many would consider an "ideal body." The fact that this man is promoting a 800 calorie diet to people as a "Jumpstart to Skinny" is, in my opinion, immoral. Calorie restriction of this magnitude is dangerous. A Time magazine article states that while caloric restriction can lower your cholesterol, it gives no other health or longevity benefit. It may even slow immune function and wound healing.
People are so shocked and offended when you tell them that it doesn't have to be this hard. You don't have to eat a cardboard salad and go to bed feeling deprived every night. How is your body supposed to drop weight when you aren't nourishing it enough to properly function? As a society, we've reached this point of desperation where we will diet by any means possible and deal with the aftermath once we get to the destination. I understand how sick it is because I used to think that way. I have taken every diet pill, done every diet: low carb, no carb, all carbs, vegan, vegetarian, nutritarian, primal, paleo, juicing, and fasting which usually always resulted in a binge. Then I decided to stop. I stopped trying to be thin, and I started being healthy. A healthy person is active. A healthy person eats nourishing food and enough of it.
Like I said before, I do not look like most people's ideal woman so my opinions mostly fall on deaf ears. However, I ran my first 5K this year. At the beginning of the year, I couldn't run for 30 seconds. I have actual muscles. I have energy. I don't have health problems anymore. I have a body that can live a life, and isn't that really why people want to lose weight in the first place? Why can't we pursue health for it's own sake? Why is it only okay to eat vegetables or be active if we are trying to get a "bikini body"? When I am healthy, I can lift my groceries, I can run away from criminals, I can do fun things like swim and run. When I eat food that is good (and by good I mean actual vegetables and sometimes animals and not crap from a box), I don't feel like shit. When I don't feel like shit, I can actually live my life. I can dance, sing, do it with the lights on, work, love, and live.
There's this fallacy that everyone believes that you can't truly experience life in all it's beauty, glory, peace, unless you look a certain way. Life doesn't work that way, though. Life begins now. Life doesn't wait for you to look thinner, beefier, or to be free of health problems. It's happening NOW. So, if you hate yourself because you are fat, thin, too girly, too manish, have a 3rd arm, whatever....don't STARVE yourself in pursuit of some ideal body that you feel will make things magically happen for you. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Walk around the block. Smell the fucking flowers. Say hello to your neighbors. Make yourself a REALLY GOOD MEAL. Spend time with your loved ones. If at the end of the day, you still think, "Hey, my pants are too tight." By all means, pursue HEALTH by making better food choices and exercising more. The self-hatred, constant self-criticism, punishment, guilt and shame isn't required. You can have a really awesome life being 20 pounds overweight. You can love your body at the exact same time your are working to make it stronger, faster, and better. You can be happy RIGHT NOW, regardless of how you look.