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Feature Articles: Body Image


Does What I Eat Affect How I Look?

Candance Gabel, M.S. R.D., Curriculum and Staff Development Coordinator, Family Nutrition Education Programs and Associate State Nutrition Specialist, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia

The saying, "You are what you eat" isn't really true. What you eat does play a role in how you look. However, eating isn't the only thing that makes a difference. Being physical activity is even more important. Replacing fat with muscle will change the way your body looks and the way you feel.

So, what should you do? Don't diet! Have you ever heard of a "Yo-Yo dieter?" This is a person who goes on one low-calorie diet after another. They initially lose weight, which by the way is valuable fluid that is pulled from the tissues in their body. Then once they start eating normal again they gain the weight they lost back plus a few extra pounds. Every time they start a new diet they lose weight and regain weight in the same pattern. They very seldom keep the weight off. So, their weight goes up and down like a yo-yo. People who have a problem maintaining a healthy weight will tell you they've been dieting most of their lives.

The best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is set realistic goals. Your goals should focus around what you eat and how much physical activity you get. Variety, balance and moderation are the keys to choosing a diet that is healthy and satisfying. Be active each day. If you make activity a priority then it will become a part of your daily routine. Once you adopt a healthier lifestyle you will improve how you feel both mentally and physically. When you feel better about yourself it will have an effect on how you look.




Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009







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