The other day I watched a really cool documentary called FedUp. It was about healthy lifestyles and diet and how The US has created a diet so over processed and drenched in sugar this it’s slowly killing us. Although it was similar to every other nutrition/testimonial/ “I transformed my life and now I want to share my discoveries” documentary, it veered off to discuss the word and the psychology of the term “diet”.
Diets are advertised all the time. Celebrity diets, South Beach, cleanses, fixes, etc. The ads all have thin, attractive, and happy people who seem to have improved all quality of life by dropping those few extra pounds. A week or two of strict rules for a lifetime of a beautiful seems worth it, right?
Well, let’s look at it a little deeper. How many times have you or someone you know tried a diet, had success for the duration, and then when the desired weight was dropped, discontinued the plan? Why stay on it any longer if you’ve reached your goal? This way of thinking leads to “yo-yo” or “crash” dieting. You look great, you’ve worked hard, and then all of a sudden your pants don’t fit and you start all over. The reality is that diets shouldn’t be viewed as a “fix” they should be viewed as a “life style change”
(noun): 1.a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
(verb): restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
Synonyms of diet include: limitation, restriction, and fasting. Does that sound like an exciting time? No. Well, not to me at least!
The nutritionists featured in the documentary felt the same way. By limiting and restricting, the diet process already seems negative and difficult. We need to replace them with positive phrases to change the way we think and feel towards the experience. The point they were trying to make was: Let’s stop calling it a diet and start calling it “a life style change”. I’ve always had a problem with the word diet. As soon as I told myself I was going on a diet, I’d immediately be hungry and want to eat everything in the fridge. Change is new and exciting, lifestyle sets the tone for a long and gradual process instead of a quick burst. Better yet, it makes it a priority. When someone says they have a “health” or “active” lifestyle, people may think “wow you must work out a lot” or “you probably set aside time to do that because you make it a priority”. This leads me to my next point- diet and priority.
Shortly after seeing FedUp, someone on my Instagram shared this quote which fits in quite nicely with everything else I’ve been saying in this post. Diets are what happens when we don’t want to make clean eating a priority. If you say “I don’t have time to cook” or “I don’t have time to workout” do you really not have time? If you change it to “It’s not a priority for me to cook or workout” and you don’t feel wrong, then time really is a factor. But, if you do this and you feel a little guilty, then maybe you should reconsider and try to make a change. This works for all kinds of things! I’m really bad at doing the dishes. I’m that horrible roommate who leaves them out… for a few days (oh my gosh I know. Its so bad!). So, when I’m bumming on the couch and think “ugh I’ll do them later, I don’t have time” I started to change my phrasing and now my sink is clean!
The last thing I want to add on to dieting is that every pound counts as a victory. I feel like America sheds more light on “big success” stories- we even have TV shows based on it (Biggest Loser anyone?). Now, before I start- I am NOT putting down those amazing stories where someone went from 400 to 130lbs. Those are beautiful and wonderful stories of triumph and personal growth and self discovery. What I mean is that stories of someone’s struggle to lose 5lbs may be over shadowed and maybe not celebrated as much as it should be. For instance, I was never an obese person. When I lost my weight, it was really only 10, maybe 15lbs and I was able to cut my dress size in half. But I worked just as hard for it and I couldn’t be more proud! Anyone whose working hard and losing any amount of weight is amazing! Be proud of that 3 pounds you lost and don’t ever feel like it’s not as good as that guy who lost 300. We are all working on ourselves and we should support each other in our individuals weight goal journeys. »♥«