By Toby Watson
For those of you doing the Healthy Eating Challenge and for those of you who are not but are trying to eat better, here is some food for thought. Diet with a capital D is a bad word and should not be uttered at all. Diet, lowercase d, is ok. So if you say, “I am on a diet,” I will scowl and shake my head. If you say, “My diet consists of these foods,” I will smile and silently applaud. Are you able to tell the difference between the two words? It is important that you do, or you will never truly reach your fitness or nutrition goals.
So let’s look at the word Diet as in “I am on a Diet!” That has all sorts of negative thoughts and meanings associated with it. You are restricted to what you can and can’t eat; you are doing it for a short period of time to fix a problem, and the bottom line is that it is not at all sustainable. So why would you want to be on a Diet? If a diet ends, and you are going to go back to your old habits and gain the weight back, or become inflamed again or whatever the results are after you quit the diet, why do it? Diets also lead people into feeling guilty if you slip up and have a cookie or a beer. You end up feeling guilty for a day or two, and then you starve yourself or end up sneaking food. So diet should become a four letter word in your house that is not allowed.
Now let’s talk about the other diet and what your daily diet consists of. This is a much better relationship with the word diet, because you are using it to mean “this is the way I eat.” Your diet may consist of anything from whole grains, veggies, ice cream, and beer, but it is what you can sustain, maintain, and eat on a regular basis. You have a good relationship with this word, because it doesn’t cause you added stress. You aren’t cheating if you eat something like ice cream. Can you tell the difference? What is your relationship with the way you are eating today?
My diet consists of meat, veggies, nuts, and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. After two years of eating this way, it is no longer a diet. I have a good relationship with my food, and if I decide that on Thursday night or at a football game or heck, just for the fun of it, I am going to eat two Dairy Queen Blizzards and drink 10 beers, I don’t feel guilty. Yes, I feel sick and will probably break out like a 12-year-old, but I no longer feel guilty for eating things that are not part of my daily diet. Feelings of guilt and words like cheating are very negative and make the whole experience terrible. I am okay if I eat crap one meal or one day or one weekend, because I know that most of the time I am eating well and fueling my body properly. That gives me the ability to have a better relationship with my daily diet.
As for those of you taking part officially or unofficially in the Healthy Eating Challenge, I know many of you are thinking of it as another diet, but try to change that mindset into something positive. Figure out how to live with eating well on a regular basis and not feeling restricted. During the challenge, we are asking you to be very strict, but that is so your body has a chance to recover from all that inflammation and you are able to know how different things affect your body. When this challenge is over, I am hoping that you will be able to make better decisions and will start to change your daily diet to one that is better suited to you. I hope that if you want to go out and have a good time you don’t feel guilty and are still achieving your goals.
So remember, diet is a four letter word. Don’t use it!
Diet, Another Four Letter Word
By Toby Watson