Should You Diet?

A significant number of us are now concerned about our weight. This cuts across age groups, social and economic strata and geographies. In fact, you may be hard pressed to find someone in a group of people who is not concerned. Naturally, many turn to some version of dieting. On the advice of a friend, I gave up eating wheat and switched to rice instead. Everything else remained the same, and I ended up gaining about ten pounds. I was suitably embarrassed not just at having put in a year’s worth of effort but also that I looked well fed at the end.

There is plenty of stimulus to diet. Almost every publication worth its salt has some information or advertisement on how someone shed a gazillion pounds drinking matcha tea or some protein shake or even heaven forbid by using a belt that vibrates. If only!

The harsh truth is that excess weight is symptomatic. It is the equivalent of a high temperature; your body telling you that something is wrong. More importantly, you didn’t just gain those twenty pounds in your sleep last night. What makes you believe that a silver bullet exists that can get you to lose it in ten days?

A host of issues can result in excess weight including poor diet, lack of sleep, a highly stressful life, illness and your genetic makeup. A quick-fix diet is not going to solve this; at least not permanently. Therefore when you start drinking soups all day to shed pounds, it may result in temporary weight loss, but the weight comes roaring back with renewed vigor.

What you need to do instead is think about a long term lifestyle change. It would not be an exaggeration to label you unwell if you are carrying excessive weight. Someone who requires clinical intervention. That response includes clean eating habits, adequate rest,  time spent in the sun and a calm state of mind; not the weight loss equivalent of instant coffee.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.