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It was recently brought to my attention, that I see dieting in a completely different way to just about anyone else in my life. I’d been told that diet is a bad word and a bad practice. Of course around this time of year, you tend to see more people signing up for gym memberships and discussing their weight. Just like about everyone else, I’d decided to go back to the diet I was on during the summer—an idea that the people around me completely misunderstood.
I was about to jump to my own defense, but I found myself saying "Hey Siri, define diet" before anything else, and to my surprise, the definition of diet is to "restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight." I was shocked! I’d genuinely been living by an entirely different definition, and now I could finally understand why people would look me up and down when I said I was dieting, making passing comments like "but you’re already skinny" or "why can’t you just like yourself the way you are" or even "don’t do that to yourself, don’t get involved with that stuff"
I was obviously aware of the negative connotations surrounding the word, but I’d always put that down to people not understanding what dieting actually is, rather than it being me who didn’t know the textbook definition of it. I believe dieting has evolved far from the original definition and can actually be a positive thing. However, much like anything in life, if you go about things in the wrong way things can get ugly. Today, I want to talk to you about the topic of dieting and why I encourage it, rather than condemning it.
The definition of dieting that I’d been living by, is that a diet is simply transforming and regulating your eating habits and portion sizes. Unlike the textbook definition, this one is much less specific. Rather than it just being about losing weight, I believe people can use dieting to change or maintain weight, as well as making more health beneficial choices. A diet should never be a punishment, or a way of depriving yourself of the things you like and enjoy. It should act as a way to take control of your eating/drinking habits. I tend to crave sweet things more than anything else, and rather than eating huge amounts whenever I please, I use dieting to manage how often and how much of sweet things I eat per day. This way, I can be healthy and eat all the things I like.
Similarly to what I said regarding exercise and working out, dieting is extremely personal to the individual and isn’t something that you should copy off of someone else. Creating a diet that works for you and makes you feel comfortable is essential, and having the right mindset and intentions will ensure that you aren’t inadvertently participating in dangerous practices. For example, there’s a difference between cutting out the extra things you don’t really need, vs. cutting out the nutrients that are essential for your health.
Much like anything else in life, do your research and instead of applying everything you read to yourself, adapt it in a way that suits your health needs and your lifestyle. There’s no guarantee that what works for others will benefit you in the same way. Dieting doesn’t have to be about no sugar, no dairy, no carbs. I’ve certainly never cut any of these things out of my diet, and still manage to live healthy. It’s all about balance and being in control.
So, staying true to one of my new year goals, I’ll definitely get back to my summer diet because summer 2018 was a time in my life where I was in my best shape and healthiest form (I’ve also drank wine everyday this year, which definitely needs to stop).
If you plan on dieting this year, make sure you do so responsibly, healthily and happily.