The “D” word – is Diet a dirty word?
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word diet I tend to cringe. I immediately get cynical, and think “Great! what have they come up with this time?!”. I start thinking weight loss, restriction, starvation, hassle, stress, carrot sticks… but when I remind myself of the other meaning of “diet”:
The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
– I calm down.
Now I admit a lot of my angst comes from growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, when there was a lot of diets and programs promising all kinds of weight loss and magic cures (I read way too many women’s magazines back then!?). Not that it’s changed much now of course, there’s still a diet for everything.
Like many, I’ve tried all sorts of “diets” over the years: pineapple juice diet (which lasted less than a day), weight watchers, low fat, vegetarian (for ethical reasons not weight loss), veggie soup diet, CSIRO, I’m sure there was more. I could never sustain any of them for any length of time (except the veggie one).
It wasn’t until recently that it hit me that this was ok. I wasn’t a failure for not being able to sustain these ways of eating. Some diets are only meant to be used for short periods of time, and some you have to continue for health reasons.
Personally I feel better for not eating gluten, dairy and refined sugar. I’ve been doing this on and off now for 20 years. So technically this is my “diet” – this is the way that I habitually eat. I guess this is where the saying comes in:
“the best diet you can follow is the one you’re going to stick with“.
The tricky part is finding the best food for you to eat that suits your body and its nutritional requirements now. Taking into account that we are not static beings and our nutritional needs change with the stage of life we’re in, what we’re doing in our lives, where we live, how much we move, and lots of other things.
So while “diet” has many negative connotations, and there are so many out there to choose (Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Ketogenic, LCHF, Atkins, Pegan, FODMAPS, GAPS, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free…). I choose the one that works for me, that makes me feel good and healthy, and I do the same for my clients. And if someone’s put a label on it, then so be it.