Here's an article I wrote about a year ago and never used. I stumbled across it this morning and thought it might be appropriate. After all, it is the time of year when most people disregard their healthy eating habits for a few weeks and then jump back on the "dieting" bandwagon in Janaury. -NMC
According to Merriam-Webster, diet means “food and drink regularly provided or consumed” (1). Why then does this word have negative connotations for people who want to lose weight?
The reason is that diet usually means caloric restriction, which means not getting to eat the yummy, inexpensive foods that surround most people every day. Caloric restriction means having to take time to buy, prepare, and pack foods that are not regular choices. Diet usually means deprivation and a change in habits - things that are not fun or met with enthusiasm. The challenge with calorie restricted diets is it forces people to break their normal habits, their cultural norms, and their usual eating patterns. Following the same habits, norms, and patterns results in the person’s current weight; these things must change for weight to change.
Unfortunately, dieting often ends with no weight loss or with lost weight being regained. In the worst cases, dieting methods include following fad diets or cutting out entire food groups or specific foods. If it were as simple as picking up a book and following a one-size-fits-all plan, then everyone would reach and maintain their goal weight. It’s not that simple. This is because people haven’t been given safe, accurate information about food, energy balance, and behavior modification.
Dieting doesn’t begin with food; dieting ends with food.
Dieting begins with digging deeper into one’s motivating factors (goals) and with education about healthy foods and preparation methods. Talk or write about your motivating factors and keep asking yourself WHY something is motivating. You will drill down to what truly motivates you by continuing to ask yourself the question of "why?"
After you discover that deep-rooted motivation, making changes to your eating habits will be easier and dieting won't seem like a chore. Dieting will no longer be a dirty word. The focus will be on making healthier food choices in order to get you to your goals.
(1) Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diet