By Taylor McLamb

As humans, we’re required to eat, it’s nourishment that keeps our internal fire burning, giving us the much-needed energy to conquer our day. Unfortunately, the diet industry in America has negatively impacted our relationship with food by labeling food groups as good or bad, reinforcing the association of guilt when eating, which causes many people to restrict and be lured into fad diets. The weight-loss industry brings in $20 billion annually, promising a perfect weight loss by guzzling green juices, fasting, throwing out terms like gluten-free, fat-free, Keto this and Paleo that. All of this can be incredibly expensive and overwhelming, causing many to become serial dieters, jumping to and from the next flashy trend, often creating eating disorders and health problems in the process.

There may not be a magical pill or smoothie that will make you lose weight overnight, and sometimes these can harm our bodies in the wrong way. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier, it’s encouraged, but many people jump to these fad diets, also known as short-term diets, because of the immediate results they promise. While the diet may seem like a quick-fix at first, one of the reasons these diets might not work is because they’re incredibly overwhelming – they contain a list of strategic, strict rules to follow, causing you to obsessively plan out what you can or can’t allow yourself to eat. These strict guidelines reinforce the idea that certain food is forbidden, causing many to restrict the nutrients their body craves, which eventually leads to health problems or a binge, gaining the weight back that they lost and starting the cycle over again.

There’s a way to be healthy without making food the enemy. According to the CDC, the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t about making short-term dietary changes, but rather, it is about adopting a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity. In order to build a healthier relationship with food, we have to break down the socially-constructed barriers that the diet industry has created. All food is good in moderation. Give your body what it needs by following a well-balanced diet which includes a healthy amount from every food group. By doing this, you’re making beneficial lifestyle changes rather than following a rigid short-term diet, which will be healthier for both your body and mind.