What springs in your mind when you read the word diet?
For most people it is things like
Basically, nothing enjoyable or anything that most people look forward to. Nothing that anyone wants to be doing long term for sure.
This is a prime example of the corruption of the meaning of a word over time.
The origins of the word DIET are Greek – not much of a surprise there as so many are, but that’s besides the point – the original word was Diaita, which means A WAY OF LIFE
Let that sink in for a few minutes A WAY OF LIFE
Now, how many of the DIETS that are around would you take as a way of life, for life??
There really should be 2 different words for describing diet – but instead they are bumped into one and that can cause a shit load of confusion
The main version of diets that are the closest to the root meaning are;
Omnivore (the basis of what most people eat – at least in theory – with a balance of plant and animal food sources)
Vegetarian (no animal meats eaten but still food from animal products consumed like eggs, milk, cheese etc)
Vegans (no animal products eaten at all)
There are a few other ones that fit into the gaps, but these are the main diets as in A WAY OF LIFE looking at eating.
These are all lifestyle choices that reflect the person, their thoughts and values and go beyond just what is stuck in someone’s mouth.
Then you have the what has become the other meaning of the word in todays society. The one that is mainly linked with all the negativity that you were feeling about food when you started to read this. That you resonated with as you read those opening words.
In this section you have things like;
Special K diet (I had to look that one up)
Cabbage soup diet (why? Just why?!?)
I could go on, but you get the idea.
None of these ones are designed to be a way of life or to be lifestyle choices.
Now, I’m sure there’s going to be some people out there who are going to say that these are lifestyle choices for them and that they are ways of life to them, and that’s fair enough. It’s good that they have found something that is working for them.
For most people in is unneeded suffering, restriction and deprivation. They are designed to give you fast initial results but aren’t sustainable in the long term. They’re made to be so complicated and/or extreme because they don’t want you to succeed long term.
You’re supposed to get that initial hit of weight loss, so you know this ‘works’ but then when you bounce back, when you’ve ‘fallen off’ or start eating normally again the weight jumps back on and you feel it’s YOUR failure that has meant you didn’t keep the weight off. But you KNOW that the diet works because you dropped 10lbs in 2 weeks when you started it – insert whatever your result was there.
So, you go back to it.
You buy the new book, you buy the next program, you upgrade, you buy more of their products (seeing a pattern here??)
You lose weight by eating less than you need and gain weight by eating more than you need. None of the ‘diets’ above have any special magical power to them, they are all just restrictions in eating less than you need in one form or another – some more severe than others.
You can achieve the same thing with just better portion control of diet in the truer meaning of the word. So that you’re eating less than you need, in a more enjoyable way (for most)
Whatever method you choose to follow for your diet. There’s some things to bear in mind;
Before you start anything drastic keep a food diary for at least 5 days – be honest with yourself and write things down AS YOU EAT THEM not at the end of the day. At the end of the day it’s easy to forget the 4 biscuits you had with the coffee.
Why do this? Well it’s a base line and gives you an honest assessment of where you’re at. This isn’t for you to beat yourself down with, but it might highlight something to you that’s an easy fix and that can take you where you want to be without making a drastic change.
Picture this for a moment – what if it turned out that the biscuits you ate with your cup of tea added up to 2 packs a week and that’s what is holding you back from your goals. Would you prefer to know that and work on cutting those biscuits out and not having to change anything else OR just throw it all in and eat cabbage soup for a few weeks because EVERYTHING must be wrong??
If you can’t see yourself HAPPILY eating like that in 6 months’ time question the point in starting it now.
No one reading this is a professional athlete/model etc that HAS to be hitting weight like they do so you are allowed to be happy with your food and enjoy it.
Slow and steady is the way to go if weight loss is your goal – being honest with yourself here, you didn’t wake up one day and overnight you’d just put on the weight you don’t like had you? Well getting rid off it LONGTERM is just the reverse process. You’re not going to wake up tomorrow with it all gone – as much as we’d like that to be the case.
Be aware of how you go into your change in diet. If you preload your mind with words like restriction, suffering, deprivation, hell, misery etc then you’re setting yourself up to fail because it’s going to be a chore for you. Instead frame your mind with what you enjoy about it, that you can do it and how much better you’re going to be feeling when you have the new habits ingrained.
Enjoy the journey, if you can’t do that then you’ll hate the destination – or never get there 😉
Being happy with and eating enjoyable foods doesn’t mean just eating crisps, pizza, ice cream, cake etc. You can be happy with eating a healthy balanced diet as well – if you are finding that the junk food is the key to your happiness then potentially you should be looking into other areas of your life in things you feel are missing – but that is beyond the scope of this blog post to tackle.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought 😉 and maybe mad you have a look at what you are doing and how you are doing it.