Spring Break: Crash diets

Carly Watson making one of her vegetable lentil soups that she has been eating during her vegan diets. (Hillary MacDonald / Ryersonian Staff)

Carly Watson making one of her vegetable lentil soups that she has been eating during her vegan diets. (Hillary MacDonald / Ryersonian Staff)

While most students are worrying about upcoming midterms, Carly Watson is worrying about what she eats, and how she will look during spring break.

Watson, a fourth-year graphic communications management student, said she has been thinking about her resort vacation in Punta Cana. She wants people to say, ‘“She never used to look good (but now she does).’”

Watson experimented with different diets throughout her life but said she never sees any major results.

Kyle Byron, a nutritionist, said that’s because our bodies are smart.

He said if people don’t get the nutrition they need, after a two-week period their metabolism will slow down and prevent them from losing more weight.

Watson was inspired to do a vegan diet thanks to Beyoncé, who posted on social media about doing a 22-day vegan challenge. She admits she did not do any research before starting her diet and is making up recipes. She is also allergic to tofu, nuts and soy milk, which are crucial components to a vegan diet.

Byron said doing an unbal-anced vegan crash diet can result in a loss of muscle mass, iron deficiency, bone loss and a lack of vitamins and minerals.

“Yes, you can be a vegan and be totally healthy. They’re some of the (healthiest) people in the whole world,” Byron said. “But if you have someone who yo-yo diets in university, they’re probably going to yo-yo diet as an adult.”

Watson will be spending her reading week with 15 friends and roughly 3,000 other students on a trip organized through a travel company.

One of her friends, Sachin Persaud, a fourth-year communications student at Wilfrid Laurier University, said he considered bulking up before the trip but didn’t follow through because the thought of working out was intimidating.

“I’ve always had a thinner frame and have never really been self-conscious about my body so I didn’t think bulking up was necessary for my confidence,” said Persaud.

Watson said she is determined to look good on her trip, especially after watching a promotional video made by the travel company that included video footage of skinny girls partying in their bikinis. She said she doesn’t want people to watch the promotional video for her trip and remember her as that “chubby, wasted girl yelling and being obnoxious.”

Bruno LeGreco, a life coach, said a large chunk of the population compares themselves to another person they want to be like. He calls this comparison “the chase and the fall. (When) you’re copying somebody and you’re constantly chasing, nothing will ever be good enough. Once you hit that target it doesn’t feel right and (you) go on to the next one.”

Watson said she plans to end her diet as soon as she arrives at her resort. The first meal on the menu: a slice of pizza and fries.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 5, 2014.


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