“Diet is just a word. I no longer attach any emotion to it. Past or present”
When someone shared this with me, I immediately thought - wow, she nailed it. And this is how I feel about the word diet. It’s a word. And just like any other word, you can choose to assign past or future emotions to it.
You don’t need permission from anyone to change or have the desire to change your body. Remove the marketing, the drop 10 pounds overnight, all the magic fads and what is left is simply changing what you currently eat to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight.
I don’t believe diet is a bad word, I don’t believe that all diets are bad. I’m currently DIETING right this moment. Why? Because I want to look and feel better in my body. We only get 1 body on this planet - why not treat it like a temple instead of a garbage dump. And before you get upset, I’m not implying that if you aren’t dieting you are not treating your body very well. Life definitely happens to make some times easier than others. The ultimate goal should be an 80/20 mentality. 80% conscious eating and 20% fun. Let go of the shame attached to dieting. We shouldn’t have to do it in secret for fear of what others might say. You need all the support you can get. Scratch that. You DESERVE all the support.
I’m going to ask you a favor. Do your best to forget about everything from the past regarding the word DIET. It’s in the past. You can’t go back and change it, you can only learn from it. Diet is the same as desk is the same as water is the same as sidewalk. WORDS. Just because I tripped in front of a billion people in Downtown Seattle when I was 8 on a cracked sidewalk doesn’t mean I won’t ever walk on the sidewalk again (true story!).
What I have learned from past dieting…. Deprivation doesn’t work. I love how short nutritional cleanses feel. Eliminating foods or food groups leads to a binge cycle. I need to see SOME type of result for motivation. This is me - what works or doesn’t work for me might work for you! Every DIET is individual - because we are all individuals! Mind blowing right???
Here’s the permission that you don’t need ;) If you want to diet, diet. If you want to change your body, change it! Grab a friend, hire a coach, get the support necessary to achieve what you want. Look at the long game. Be patient. Trust the process. And ALWAYS ask for help when you need it!
When I asked how people felt about the word diet, there were lots of mixed emotions brought up when they shared their feelings. Some good, some bad - you can see how it all depends on their personal perspective.
Have you had the same experiences? Similar? Something completely different? I'd love to hear. Take a read and see what comes up for you.
“I’ve dieted for what feels continuously starting from the age of 14. I’m done with it. I’ve never felt successful. I don’t feel good in my body now so why would I ever try it again?”
“I’ve likely spent more money and more energy in “dieting” than any other hobby and I’ve had far less satisfaction.”
“I always attempt dieting but theres always something or someone out to sabotage me. If it’s not all the junk food at work, then it’s my spouse declaring Pizza Night. I give up. It’s always a lonely trip.”
“I was taught from a young age that if I wasn’t skinny and pretty, life would be hard for me. I think I wasted a lot of my younger years on striving for this perfection that never occurred. When I let go of that belief, I lost the excess weight naturally. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a definite long process, but it happened through taking care of myself, trusting my coach and being patient.”
“I’ve tried virtually every diet - let’s compare notes lol - and even so I don’t think it’s a bad word. Ultimately I’m responsible for my own feelings and for how I take care of my body. Have I learned something from each diet? Absolutely. Am I where I want to be in my body? Not yet, but I’ve learned that really it’s a journey. It’s not like once you “get there” you stay there forever. It’s about all the little habits that you built up on that journey that are now second nature. Support has been the best gift to myself. Everyone deserves to be happy in their bodies. We only get one.”
“I used to struggle with weight loss and maintaining it. I spent a year focusing on myself and really identifying my buffering mechanisms. Once I minimized tv (especially commercials - I pay extra for the no commercial option!) and my exposure to CNN (constantly negative news) or other “shock” news, I felt like I was more in control of my own emotions. And once I was in control of my own thoughts and emotions, it became easier and more natural to make more informed choices while eating. I was eating for fuel and not to stuff my emotions.”
“If Amazon came out with a DIET, millions would purchase it. We want it same day - maybe 2 days. Anything taking longer than 2 days is not worth the energy. You know I’m being majorly sarcastic, right? The real hidden benefit and what diets should be celebrated for is what you learn about yourself in the process. If you got lean, strong and confident in just 2 days - you would never learn any lessons from it. You would still be unhappy with your life. Just skinnier.”
“Diet is just a word. Why give all that power to a word. But that’s just me.”
The last 2 excerpts are by far my favorites and most closely tie in with my own beliefs and feelings about the word diet. In part 3 I’ll wrap it all up and share my opinion also.
What do you think about the above statements?
Part 1 - Background and History of Diets
Do you think DIET is a bad word? I posed this poll and question on various social media outlets over the last 10 days. I was curious what everyone's opinion was around this term - especially with the start of a new year, let alone decade!
This question sparked a lot of conversations over the last week. The actual poll results on the question were 60/40 in favor of the Negative - yes, they did consider it a bad word.
Culinary Lore detail the origin of the word DIET as the following:
The word diet used to mean the food and drink that we habitually consume did not appear in English until the thirteenth century, but it also had another sense, meaning “a way of life.”
The second meaning is more in line with the word’s origins, as it comes from the Greek diaita via diaitan. Diaita was a noun that meant a way of living, and also had a more specific meaning, signifying a way of living as advised by a physician, which could include a “food” diet and other daily habits.
The Latin Diaitan was a verb which meant “to lead, govern, or arbitrate one’s life.” The Latin word diaeta came from these roots. This word described a dietary regimen, as well.
In the Middle Ages, diet more often had this connotation of a dietary (or other) regimen prescribed by a doctor. Such “diets” were often fasts of one kind or another so that diet usually referred to a confined and regimented way of eating done for a specific purpose. This sense, of course, survives in the popular use of the word “diet” to describe a way of eating specifically done to achieve a weight loss goal.
Interesting, right? I’m curious who the genius was that started using “diet” in marketing… right? The one person who is responsible for over 90,000 results “diet books” on Amazon. Just google “diet” and you’ll get about 1,720,000,000 in .65 seconds (try it! It’s kind of fun).
If you are a women, you’ve dieted in the past with the majority of you trying more diets than you can count. Myself, included. If I recall correctly, the first “diet” I went on was right after high school. It consisted of a lot of running and very few calories. I also regularly consumed Shape magazine and Fitness something or other. While I didn’t recognize it then, every other page, picture or advert had something to do with losing weight. It took me until a good age to figure out that the headlines/articles and diets in then magazines were basically regurgitated in some way shape or form every couple months. I didn’t stop at the first diet either - I went on to many many other ones. Some I did specifically for weight loss, others for more the health benefits.
From what I’ve read (and trust me the history is kind of fascinating!) the dieting specifically aimed at women for weight loss occurred in 1918 by Lulu Hunt Peters - she published a book “Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories” which urged women not to exceed 1200 calories per day. That seemed to pave the way for things like Weight Watchers. Previous to hers aimed towards women, William Banting published the Banting Diet in 1863 based on his own weight loss results.
My favorite part of the research was stumbling upon this article from the Scientific American (link to article at the bottom). This was written in 2013 and it's still very very relevant IMO. This is an excerpt from the article.
The Marketing Diet Here’s how it works:
1. When a commercial comes on the TV, mute it, and go do something else until your show comes back on.
2. If a commercial comes on the radio, mute it for a few minutes until your programming comes back on
3. If a magazine is mostly advertisements, don’t read it, or find the article you want on-line where you can implement ad-blocking software, and where it won’t be sandwiched between a glossy Godiva ad and a South-Beach Diet promotion.
4. Packages are advertising. Keep that in mind.
5. The grocery store is basically a giant immersive, marketing experience. Also keep this in mind.
Think of every ad impression as a little brain calorie. Every time you see an ad, your likelihood to act upon that ad increases just a little bit more than if you hadn’t seen it. As you accumulate these brain calories, you could end up with a marketing-brain-calorie surplus, and then you’ll be more likely to behave in a way that you might kick yourself over later (this is that ground-breaking scientifically-advanced part I mentioned at the top)
One of the difficult things about diets is that we have to give up something that we often crave, and we often give in. But how many of us really love the assault on our senses that is a Dairy Queen commercial with creepy disembodied Rolling Stones lips urging us get a blizzard with our bacon cheeseburger? What would we really be missing?
I think this is GENIUS. I like to imagine that if we were left up to our own devices without all the chatter around us, we would make better choices. In fact there would be LESS choice which I think is also fabulous. Who needs 120 different types of cereal???
In Part 2, I'll be sharing stories and experiences from everyone anonymously who responded to my social media request for their insight. See ya then!
Full link to article: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/food-matters/the-marketing-diet-want-to-lose-weight-give-up-marketing-the-groundbreaking-scientifically-advanced-technique-guaranteed-to-melt-away-the-pounds-and-fix-every-problem-in-your-life/