Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

Content warning: discussions of weight gain, dieting, weight loss, and disordered eating. If you are concerned about your eating habits or if you would like to speak with a counselor, please see the Mount Holyoke Health Center’s Resource Page, which includes the phone numbers for Counseling Services and the MHC nutritionist.


It was a pleasant day. The lake looked like a flash-frozen puddle of muddy water and leaf debris, my Mumbai-bred body was spasming in the cold, and Jorge the goose (who is, very strangely, still alive) was doing what geese do and walking around campus making strange mating calls. It was in that moment that my friend asked me the following question:

“Srishti, what do you hate the most in the world?”

This question caught me by surprise.

“Honestly, I hate the prospect of dieting,” I replied.

My friend nodded in silent agreement as the both of us considered what I believe to be the single most devastating and annoying fad that our society faces today.

There are an endless number of fad diets out there to choose from: high-protein diets, juice diets, broth fasts, grapefruit diets, food-combining diets, crazy for cabbage diets, and of course, the you-can-survive-on-just-water-except-water-bloats-you-so-don’t-drink-too-much diets. Now, I’m all for people, animals, and aliens alike all aiming to lead as healthy and happy a life for themselves as possible: but here’s the thing, most diets do not contribute to your health. Instead they contribute to the notion that one’s weight is directly proportional to one’s health— an idea that is not only fatphobic but also dangerous.  

The first problem with dieting is that it often never lasts: it is a temporary measure taken to lose weight and very rarely does it translate to a healthier lifestyle— and if you make temporary changes you can expect the outcomes to be temporary as well. Weight-cycling is a particularly dangerous trend, wherein a person’s changing dieting habits lead to weight fluctuations that results in their body malfunctioning in a variety of ways (liver problems, heart problems, and an increased risk of diabetes). Moreover, when you lose weight this way you’re not losing just fat, you’re losing muscle as well— and while it is much easier for your body to gain back your fat (because weight loss causes a decrease in the production of the hormone leptin which leads to an increased appetite), it is not easy to regain the muscle you have lost. You may think you’re dieting as a favor to your body, but your body thinks you’re starving and begins to start storing fat as a favor to you (thanks body!). In other words, your diet may allow you to lose weight temporarily, but you’re likely to regain the weight soon after and risk losing out on the nutrients and vitamins needed to keep your body healthy.

Although there is ample scientific reasoning behind why you should not diet, I think the real problem is that dieting is rarely something you do on the side while the rest of your life carries on as normal— it is something that has the potential to take over your life. All that time you could have spent finding the cure to cancer is eaten up by you wondering about how little and what you should eat that day. All of a sudden, you can’t attend a wedding or a house-party without wondering whether the menu will contain something that won’t mess with your diet. The most annoying thing about diets? Unsurprisingly, they are especially prevalent and engineered towards women. What is even more alarming is that the younger a woman is when she starts dieting, the more likely she is to end up with an eating disorder. There is no doubt that making a conscious decision to eat healthier will lead you to look and feel better about yourself, but monitoring every morsel that enters your body is not the way to reach either health or fitness— although it will certainly help you pander to societal conventions on what a healthy woman’s body should look like.

In conclusion, by all means, continue to view and click on the like button on videos and photos of celebrity fitness gurus and Instagrammers doing obscene stretches with their statuesque bodies twisted into a knot as they hang upside down from a tree in Dharmshala while lifting 300 pound weights with just their toes— BUT if you witness another “Sunday binge” post in which these finely molded individuals are making orgasmic noises as they eat a teaspoon of chocolate pie and harp about how you should “take a break from your diet once in a while” and how “one day won’t cause you to gain any weight” — please feel free to smash ten Oreos topped with whipped cream into your mouth in mutiny.


Image Credits: 1

If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, or if you have any questions or comments for us, please email mt-holyoke@hercampus.com.

Mount Holyoke College is a gender-inclusive, historically women's college in South Hadley, MA.