Friday, November 5, 2010

The Four-Letter Word

Hello fitness peeps! I think it's time we talked about that dreaded four-letter word that we all know and have come to despise. There's no point in me beating around the bush about it, I'm just going to say it. Get ready... here it comes... DIET.

"It's called 'DIET' because all the other four-letter words were taken."
The word diet simply defines the food we ingest each day, but now it has become a four-letter word that has different meanings for different people. For some, "diet" has become synonymous with failure. They've tried every diet you could name and while some of those diets equaled a few pounds lost, they never seemed to work out for them in the long run. Me? I have a love/hate type of relationship with the word. You see, I've found that it's not that a lot of the diets you hear about don't work, in fact, it's quite the opposite, the majority of diets out there do work. The key to any diet being labeled as a success or failure is actually sticking to it, that's the part I always had a hard time with and that's the part that the majority of our population has a hard time with as well. Dieting has become a national pastime, with everyone waiting in line for the next diet of the month. There are some very valid diets out there: diets for diabetics, for stroke victims, for ulcer patients, and so forth, but when I say "diet of the month" I'm talking about the kinds of diets that require that you only eat in a prescribed way. The reality is, the idea of only eating one type of way, maybe only eating one type of food or cutting out an entire food group, is just not something most people can stick to for long term, and more importantly, can actually be very unhealthy for your body. Diet is actually a good word; it's dieting that starts the trouble. As I stated above, diet means the food we consume that fuels our bodies, while "dieting" offers only the two d's: deprivation and depression.

So how do we bring the word diet back to its original meaning? How about simply viewing diet as the fuel we give our bodies? The better grade of fuel we put in our bodies, the better our bodies will run! Sticking with the gasoline analogy: Your "regular" fuel is sweets, dairy, and fats. Your "unleaded" fuel is carbs and proteins. Your "premium" is fruits and veggies. Most of the time you want your body to be running on a mixture of premium and unleaded, with limited amounts of regular. Moderation is key! I'll be the first to admit, portion control has always been a big problem for me (I come from a family, as most of us do, where eating seconds was just a natural thing to do if the food was good), but I'm hear to tell you, it doesn't matter what type of foods your eating, if you're eating too many calories you're going to gain weight! Eating healthier helps. Once you start a more healthier diet, you become more aware and concerned with what you're feeding yourself, and therefore how much you actually need. You see, a diet that consists of healthful eating is forever!  

That's why personally I don't like to think of myself as ever being on a "diet" or "dieting", but instead, I have developed a new healthy way of eating for life!