The horrid four letter word that causes so many of us to duck and take cover….. DIET. WHY does it have to be such a horrible word for so many of us? WHY does it have to come laden with heaps of emotional baggage?
I personally believe that diets are more psychological than physical (even though, when crafted correctly, they have wonderful physical benefits). Our society as a whole seems to have unhealthy connections with food and some individuals are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have even more disorder heaped on them by family patterns, personal biology, etc.
What is the actual definition of the word “diet”?
http://www.dictionary.com defines diet the following way:
- food and drink considered in terms of its qualities,composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet.
- a particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease: a diet low in sugar.
- such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I’m on a diet.
- the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group: The native diet consists of fish and fruit.
- food or feed habitually eaten or provided: The rabbits were fed a diet of carrots and lettuce.
Only two of the definitions listed above really have to do with diet as society most often defines it – changing our eating patterns in order to be healthy (or, in most cases, specifically to lose weight).
One of the things I never understood is the many people who crash diet, lose weight, feel great, and return to old eating patterns. If you are losing weight with the intention of “arriving” at your determined goal and returning to your old eating patterns, do NOT even bother – this will not help you. In fact, in the end it is more likely to harm you.
The only diets that really work are lifestyle eating changes – something a person looks at PERMANENTLY changing in order to meet AND maintain a healthier body/ lifestyle/ etc. Ironically, this is not so hard physically. Recently I discovered the need to cut out gluten, as I seem to have inherited a family gluten intolerance. At the same time I cut out sugar as I often struggle with candida. The combination was difficult emotionally, but amazing physically. After a week or so of feeling horrible due to sugar detoxification, I started to feel GREAT. I had more energy, suddenly I could skip a meal or eat a meal late without feeling faint, as my blood sugar stabilized the minute I got the gluten and sugar out of my system. I sleep better, I feel better, I have more energy. THIS IS GOOD FOR ME.
Yet, so many people will take something that really is good for them, that makes them feel physically better, and will turn it into deprivation. IE: “I am so miserable because I have to eat healthy and take care of myself and therefore I am completely depriving myself of this candy bar.” I would challenge a person to ask themselves, “Is this really deprivation?” It seems to me that it is the polar opposite – that this is giving your body a treat, exactly what it needs.
I think if we are able to get a handle on the false beliefs about food, what food is really for (energy to make our body run, NOT for stuffing feelings/ celebrating occasions/ declaring love/ etc.) and whether or not we are “deprived” when we deny ourselves the crap that hurts our bodies, THEN we will truly be able to make some headway into the “diet” world.
Imagine if candy was seen as it really is – poison for our body, and brussels sprouts seen as what they really are – healthy nutrients that help us function at our best. Perhaps we could learn to crave that which keeps us healthy.
Get into the true emotions of dieting, learn to understand that diet is a healthy lifestyle choice that will enable you to feel better for the long-term. Understand that in order to be truly healthy the decisions and patterns need to be a life-long commitment. Eventually you will even stop craving the junk – in fact, some of the junk food will eventually repulse you! It is true, that candy will go from being the perfect afternoon snack to being too sweet – it really does happen. It takes a while, months, even a year or so – but if you stay the course your taste buds change and your cravings become linked to health.
If you are planning to make a lifestyle change that includes food – come to it with the right attitude for success.
- It is an honor to be eating healthy, and something to enjoy.
- Every healthy choice can be celebrated – and you should be proud!
- Junk food hurts you, you are not being deprived, you are being liberated.
- Look for the daily victories and notice how much better you feel.
As I sit here 388 days ’til 40 I am very glad that I am focused on being healthy. I kept up a healthy food choice lifestyle for almost three years solid. About four years ago I stopped keeping up and went for “easy” and unhealthy foods. I paid for it with my health. I am now 6 weeks into the healthy eating again and I hope this time I last much longer than 3 years, I want this to be forever.
Remember that, cyber-world, when I turn 40 I WILL still be eating healthy – that means no cake, perhaps a candle on a watermelon?
Yours in health~