When We Feel the ThinkQuest Spirit
Reflections – Ade
In this project, my job scope included the types of fad diets and the introduction to fad diets. Through this project, I have learnt about the diverse variety of fad diets and I was struck by the ridiculousness of weight loss that some of these diets guarantee. Therefore, through this project, I hope to correct the misconceptions that ignorant people fall into. Through this project, I have learnt about the basics of dieting, which is that weight loss can happen when the calories burnt by physical activity is higher than the calories taken in. While fad diets adhere to these rules, they use extreme measures and distort the meaning of healthy dieting. Therefore, I do not support fad diets as they promote the wrong values and could be dangerous when done without caution. In this project, I had difficulty juggling between my various commitments such as my Co-Curricular Activity and various other projects. The lack of sleep caused me to fall sick several times, reducing my productivity. Many members of our groups were also taking part in a major competition called Odyssey of the Mind, and had to split our dedications between the two projects. We managed our time properly, completing more work when there are fewer commitments. We sacrificed our lunchtimes every day to do thinkquest, and tried to distribute the work evenly so that no team member would be over laden with work. On retrospect, I have enjoyed this experience greatly as it has enlightened me on the existing types of fad diets and made me more conscious of my diet and choosing healthier choices. I have also learnt how to manage my different commitments and project work.
Reflections – Christine
Through this project, I have rectified many of my previous misconceptions about dieting. Previously, I was influenced by campaigns promoted by celebrities and magazines, misleading me to believe that fad diets were an effective way of losing weight. In this project, I did the ethics of dieting and critical thinking summary with Su-min, along with the myths of dieting and its truths. I learnt about the fallacies of these diets, including facts such as not all fats or carbohydrates are bad, learning the proper and healthy way of dieting and that there is no shortcut to dieting. I learnt the fundamentals of dieting, along with the wrong notions that fad diets project. We faced many difficulties while doing this project, such as conflicting opinions and time constraints due to different schedules. Moreover, this period of time has been swamped with many exams and competitions, giving us a limited time frame to work on our project. To solve this problem, we set ourselves a stringent time schedule, and met up during school breaks to discuss our progress. We also set a “Thinkquest hour” daily from 9pm to 10pm daily to ensure that work can be done. We prioritized this project above our schoolwork and made sure we did proper time management. Through this project, I learnt how to cooperate with different personalities and be more open to suggestions. I have learnt to keep composed in times of stress and hold my temper. Overall, this has been a very enriching experience as I have learnt many facts and misconceptions about fad diets, allowing my teammates and I to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Reflections – Elysia
In this project, I was allocated the task of doing the timelines and consolidating the information. Doing this topic has been a refreshing experience for me as I was previously quite clueless to what fad diets were. Previously, I had been taken in by the promotions of fad diets which guaranteed weight loss in a short span of time. Through this project, I have gotten a clear understanding of fad diets and do’s and don’ts of dieting. I have not only learnt the history of dieting, I have also learnt about the types of diets popular in today’s society. I have learnt about the common myths of fad dieting, some of which I have committed before. I have also learnt about the new food pyramid, and the components of food groups which make a balanced and nutritious diet. This is important especially for teens as we are still in our development stage. Fad diets compromise on certain food groups which are an essential part of our diet, leading to harmful effects. I have learnt to discern between good and bad diets, and make healthy choices in meals. The main difficulty I met with in Thinkquest was the lack of time. The timing happened to clash with my sports competitions and it was hard to devote time equally to both aspects. I had also set too unrealistic goals for myself and was eventually unable to meet with deadlines. As it was my first time working with some of the group members, I was unfamiliar with their working styles and had a hard time getting used to it. As a result, we had confrontations due to inadequate communications and misunderstandings arose. However, we managed to straighten out our differences and I learnt to adapt to different working styles. Overall, I enjoyed this experience as it has been a great eye-opener and I have learnt many skills such as teamwork and organizing information.
Reflections – Jiawen
In this project, I countributed by sending out email interviews to the professors from universities across the United States of America, handing out survey forms to our peers as well as collating and analyzing the results. I found this collecting of first-hand data relevant for me, as Su-Min and I are also embarking on another project that requires the collection of primary sources. As such, these experiences have enabled me to use my skills, as well as to learn more about research methodology and how to work with people I did not know too well, and how to engage them in our cause. Additionally, I was in charge of coming up with the fallacious logic present in fad diets. It was a good experience as it taught me to think critically and from different points of view, and enabled me to understand more about fad diets that I sometimes fall into the trap of. I feel more aware now, and hope for more people to join us in our cause. When I first began this project, I hardly knew most of my other team members. Also, as we were from different classes, coordination was a challenge. Yet through the challenges this project has put us through, I feel like I understand them better, and that we were -and still are- bonded by a common goal. It has been a very fulfilling journey, and no matter the results, I hope to be able to participate in this competition again next year .
Reflections – Pei Yi
My contributions to this project include the comparison of healthy, balanced diet to that of a fad diet and introduction to healthy diets. To complete my part of the project, I had to do extensive research on both healthy and fad diets. The comparison of healthy, balanced diets to fad diets have allowed me to clearly see the differences in both which make healthy dieting a better option. Fad diets allow you to lose weight dramatically over a short span of time; however its effects are usually temporary. Healthy dieting and exercise on the other hand, requires time and effort, but the effects are usually longer lasting. I have learnt that fad diets usually involve eliminating a major food group or eating a specific food in excess, which would deprive the person of essential nutrients needed for growth. In this project, I have met with many difficulties, such as being unable to source for information. As some of the information is not well substantiated, they may be filled with errors and are not reliable. To ascertain their reliability, I had to cross-refer to several sources such as books and journal articles, to ensure that they are credible. Other problems include disagreements between team members, especially when working together for long hours causing a rise in tension. We also had different ideas and plans, causing unhappiness when one’s idea is shot down. However, I believe that we have all learnt to tread more carefully and express ourselves more effectively to ensure minimal miscommunication and disharmony. Overall, this has been a fulfilling experience, and my knowledge about diets has improved by leaps and bounds. I have also enjoyed working with my friends on a topic that we are all passionate about, and hope that our readers will enjoy reading the fruits of our labour.
Reflections – Su-Min
For this project, I was in charge of all the photography and visual effects. I was the overall leader of the group and conducted the meetings and delegated work to my team members. I also did the ethics and critical thinking summary with Christine. Throughout this project, I have learnt many leadership and communication skills. I had to organize meetings, make sure that my teammates adhere strictly to the schedule, and mediate between conflicts. We did our project on fad diets and our group has always been health conscious and we hoped to improve our quality of health through this project. I have learnt numerous detriments that fad diets bring, changing my original perspective towards it. Initially, I was skeptical that losing weight could be such a short and easy process, and the research has proven my doubts right. I have also learnt the reasons behind its failure, and the mechanics behind dieting. In comparison to the stable and permanent results healthy diet and exercise promise, fad diets are definitely not an option I would try. We encountered many problems along the course of the project, which included time constraints and difficulty in meeting deadlines. Due to conflicting schedules, we had to set aside an hour daily to commit to Thinkquest. This was met with opposition initially, and led to disagreements and discontent. Many of us were also tied down by other commitments, such as from academics, CCA competitions and other areas. I also had difficulty ensuring that they met every deadline I set, which sparked off more disputes. However, we managed to settle our differences by setting aside certain meetings to clarify our doubts and straighten out our conflicts, resulting in a happier working relationship. We also did up a reasonable work schedule which everyone was agreeable to. Thinkquest has taught me many life skills such as teamwork, time management and tolerance. It has been an outlet for us to share our research and beliefs, and make contributions to society. Despite our ups and downs, I had fun in the process and hope to be able to do it again next year!
We participated in Thinkquest in our own time, and hence there was the challenge of finding and arranging suitable time slots for all of us to meet up (after school or on weekends) to discuss the project. Also, many of us had different commitments that required different commitment levels. However, we overcame this challenge by making concessions, and prioritizing our time such that there would always be at least half of our group present at a small meeting, and most of the members at larger meetings. Additionally, we also conducted discussions via technological mediums such as instant messaging.