What do you think of and feel when you read, see or hear the word, diet? You may immediately associate the term with weight loss, guilt and things to cut out and not eat. I see the words ‘die’, ‘tied’ and ‘tedious’ and feel a mixture of emotions that include mostly anger and frustration.
As a trainer, I believe the word diet is misused and misunderstood. Here I will give you examples of some of the existing weight loss diets, what the true meaning of ‘diet’ is and why the term needs to be approached from a different perspective.
There is a long list of weight loss diets that you will have heard of and at one time or another attempted. Here are a few examples; crash diets (Grapefruit, Cabbage soup), low carb diets (Atkins, Dukan), low-fat diets, low-calorie diets, very low-calorie diets, Fit for Life, Blood type, Food combining, Alkaline diet, Eat Clean diet, Weight Watcher’s diet to name a few. Most of us think to go on one, feel the need to be part of the latest diet trend, have high expectations of weight loss results, feel annoyed to be going on yet another one, feel as we are constantly on one, or believe it is time to change to a new one. Without a doubt, one thing is certain, we are all on a diet. It’s really that simple. If you eat food, you have a diet.
The word “diet” actually means to eat. This is an obvious conclusion as if we did not diet, we would die. The word means ‘the food and drinks that a person or an animal regularly consume.’ For example, the diet of a blue whale is krill and the diet of a human being is water, fish, fruit, vegetables etc. So again, to be clear: any food you eat is your diet. To eat food is to have a diet. All animals have diets.
Another trap of the word diet is feeling tied. It is all consuming and overbearing to be on a diet all of the time. And finally, counting calories is simply tedious not to mention unsustainable, boring and happily, unnecessary.
Diet should be associated with anything that involves our normal or recommended way of eating for health, and anything restrictive or unsustainable needs a new word or must always have the ‘fad’ prefix in front of it! However, for those of us in the middle who do want a healthier approach to eating without resorting to such extremes, it is high time we take a look at what this word actually means. And it’s nothing to be scared of.