You know what cavemen and cavewomen never said.
“Honey, I have had a few too many organically grown vegetables and fruits and that deer that has bounced around the woods eating grass for years that we ate for the last few days certainly is making my butt look fat. I need to lose a few pounds. I am going to start eating 250 calories for the next few weeks and I should be good.”
(Take assumptions and caveman quotes with a grain of salt)
Surprisingly, this was not a way of life until the abundance of the second half of the 20th century showed up alongside fast food and cookie dough ice cream.
Dieting Versus Diet
There was a time when the word “dieting” was nonexistent. Long before “dieting” came this word “diet”. The two are extremely different and often confused for one another in a negative connotation. Let’s clear it up once and for all.
Dieting is the effort towards limiting intake of food or types of foods with the desired result to be to lose weight over a specified period of time.
A diet is the food and types of food one consumes on a regular basis for their entire life.
Not clear enough. Let me help.
When I was asked to be in a wedding for a couple friends a few years back, the bride-to-be asked me the one question I hate to hear the most. “How should I lose weight for the wedding?”
That’s a big red flag people.
I started to explain what she would need to do to which she nodded that nod people give when they are absolutely not going to take your advice. You know that nod.
After a few of the nods, I stopped and said, “You shouldn’t just be doing this for the wedding. This is a way of life.”
There was that hesitant laughter followed by us going back to enjoying dinner and drinks that weren’t helping her cause much.
A few weeks later, her husband-to-be started laughing out of the blue when we were having a conversation with his bride. He told me that she had asked a friend of theirs, who was a personal trainer, for the same advice and HE REPEATED THE EXACT SAME THINGS I SAID.
The entire issue boiled around the perception and choice of dieting versus a diet.
See, a diet is a way of life. My diet consists of A, B, & C. Now, A could be orange chicken, B could be pasta and C could be pancakes. Despite not being the healthiest, these three choices create a diet. What I was trying to get the bride-to-be to realize is that she needed to work on her diet. Not for 9 months until the honeymoon, but for her life. Dieting should have been off the table before she could say, “Happy Hour!” She needed to address A, B, & C (and the rest of her primary nutritional sources) within her diet. She needed to change the orange chicken, pasta, and pancakes to healthier choices for the long haul and not a few months.
Dieting takes into consideration an end date. 1 month. 6 months. 1 year. A diet has no end date that you set. It ends when you end, if you get my drift.
What do you choose? What have you chosen in the past?
Do you choose the lifetime choice or the end-date choice?
Like all of the self-reflecting questions here, only you can truly know the honest answer.
How You Can Change Your Diet(ing) Predicament
It took me a long time to realize the difference between dieting and diet. My family isn’t the healthiest of individuals and one of my closest family members has been a serial dieter their entire life. To this day, most of my family still doesn’t understand or accept the difference despite my endless educational attempts.
However, you can choose to be different than the growing numbers of yo-yo dieters. The following are my suggested action steps to changing your diet(ing) predicament.
1 – Over the last 6 months, have you been dieting or have you been on a regular diet? Answer honestly. No one will really ever no, but yourself. If you are of the dieting variety, proceed to #2. If you are of the regular diet variety, proceed to #3.
2 – Ask yourself the following questions: Has dieting brought about the results I wanted when I started and do I feel good? Answer those, before continuing. I said…answer them. Okay. That was somewhat of a trick. Why you ask? Because, often, people who are dieting are not able to answer yes to both of those questions. They often answer yes to one or no to both, but rarely yes to both when dieting. You need to be able to say, “Yes,” to both.
3 – Grab a pen and paper and write this down. Go ahead. Go get the pen and paper. We’ll wait. Once you have both, write down one physical activity you want to be doing or capable of doing at the age of 80 (Yes, you can include sex as your activity you horny beasts). Prior to 90% of the time you are sticking food or drink in your mouth, I want you to ask yourself, “Will this allow me to do (fill in activity from above) when I am 80 years young? Your answer should help you decide, each time, whether to continue gorging on popcorn chicken or grabbing an apple.
4 – Write down a diet list consisting of 20 natural foods that you could see yourself eating for the rest of your life. Key word being ‘natural’. I love orange chicken and I damn well will be eating it sometime in the future, but my diet does not consist of orange chicken on a regular basis. It is a cheat meal. 90% of what I eat can be narrowed down to a list of 20 or so things that I eat over and over and over. This list contains lots and lots of fruits, veggies, and meat. Why? Because they taste good and they provide the necessary nutrition to get the results I want.
That’s about it. If you are struggling grasping this concept, feel free to start at #1 and work through the questions again. If you are still having issues understanding the concept, we need to have a little talk.
Dieting could have been a great thing. It could have been something that normally healthy people did to shed 1-2 unnecessary pounds over a day or two. Unfortunately, it has become a way of life rather than a temporary option. Be the start of the reversal of such choice. Stop dieting today.
photo credit: Lord Jim via photopin cc