I don’t diet. Never have; never will.
Dictionary.com has several definitions for the word “diet,” and this one happens to really get under my foodie skin:
Such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I’m on a diet.
I know many chronic dieters. The ones who find some sort of new trend to follow every year: pills, cleanses, all protein, no fat, Paleo, going gluten-free, and many, many others. Some adopt a new diet program for health reasons, and others in a desperate (and hopefully easy) attempt to lose weight.
In case you cringed at my inclusion of “gluten-free,” for some, going gluten-free is a necessity. I wasn’t talking about folks who have celiac disease or an intolerance — it’s those who believe life sans gluten is the latest and greatest diet-y thing since sliced rice bread. Diets based on medical necessity? Those are important. (So we’re clear.)
When my husband was diagnosed with sudden onset type 1 diabetes in 2012, I thought we might have to turn our household’s eating habits on its head. Things like, replacing natural sugars with “no sugar added” a.k.a. “lots of chemical sugar substitute” options. NOPE.
Turns out, after some research and reading on my part, our way of eating didn’t have to change much at all. All the changes we were preparing to make? Removing sugar? Limiting carbs? We haven’t had to do any of it.
Instead, we continue to eat sensibly in our house. And, by sensibly, I certainly don’t mean we never have sweets. Or that we’re all organic all the time. Or even that we always eat brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
Hey, remember? I’m also a foodie with a cooking blog. You can see what we eat for dinner and dessert a lot, since that’s what I blog about — and especially if you’re following me on Instagram or Facebook.
There’s no special trick we’re doing to stay healthy. We just watch our portions, and try to eat well-balanced, colorful, unprocessed, from-scratch meals as the majority of our meals.
I tell my kids that at home we try to eat good food that fuels our body most (not all!) of the time so that when the opportunity comes to have a really awesome giant chocolate cupcake while walking in downtown Frederick, or a bag of cheese puffs at a friend’s birthday party, it’s no big deal.
My point is, “diets” aren’t a lifestyle change. Most diets aren’t setting you up for a long term way of eating that will work towards your body’s advantage, both in fat burning and metabolism.
Plus? Exercise is important! You don’t have to run marathons, but you do have to get your heart pumpin’ every now and again.
3 Reasons I Don’t Diet
1. Diets aren’t about a lifestyle change.
They’re an attempt at a quick fix, and often times not sustainable. How can you expect to lose weight, get healthy, and/or feel good if it’s short-lived? I’d also argue that those elimination diets, where you’re deprived of a complete something, usually set you up for failure.
I can’t have any wine for four weeks, so now at day 31, I MUST HAVE ALL THE WINE. ALL OF IT.
2. Diets are not practical.
I’m a foodie. I like to eat what I want, when I want. I’m not talking about gorging (okay, maybe sometimes); but, there’s nothing more frustrating than going out to eat with someone who’s on a voluntary diet (i.e. not medically necessary) and can’t join in on the yumminess. No pie for me, I’m on a diet. Blergh. #foodiefail
3. Diets are often not really helping the weight-loss cause, nor are they very healthy.
Your body was made to absorb vitamins from food. But that only works if you’re eating a wide variety of fruits, veggies, fats, and protein. And, those “low calorie” drinks, snacks and frozen meals? Well, they can actually make you more hungry, and make it more difficult to lose weight. Marketers are smart, and they’re good at their job. Many people believe chemical-laden processed “low calorie” foods are actually better for them than the real deal. They believe that diet food = a healthier option. (Um, no. Google the word obesogens.)
Eat the real stuff, people. Whole food does a body good.
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