The Real D.I.E.T.

buffet“I just don’t have time to eat.” “I am really not hungry anyway.” “I’m not permitted to eat that type of food.” “I can’t eat after 7 O’ Clock.” “I am looking forward to Saturday because that’s my cheat day.” “Seriously, I can go several days without needing to eat anything.” “Remember, I’m on a diet.”

Forgive me. I forgot. I assumed that everyone is on a diet. I seem to recall that none other than the stalwart Webster’s Dictionary set forth a relatively easy concept to understand regarding this deceptive word. From its Greek and Latin 13th to 14th century origins, diaita or diaeta, we find clear advice. The word literally means one’s daily regimen and manner of living or more succinctly, food and drink regularly provided or consumed. Interestingly, one can find additional, illuminating revelation from the Greek derivative, diaitasthai, whose translation directly counsels “to lead one’s life”. Thus, I concur with the ancients who saw merit in both an appropriate daily and long term perspective concerning one’s eating habits. Yes, of course, we can find early historical references to “dieting”. They, indeed, indicate that men and women have been fascinated with this weight loss craze for many centuries. Used as a verb, the word’s beginnings set forth a noticeable pattern for us today–“to cause to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules.” I wonder what those strict rules may have been for some of the earliest dieters. Where they more sensible than the majority of the suggested approaches today? Could they have been more healthy and productive than what we are offered today? Unlikely. We don’t have to go back centuries to discover that most of the fad weight loss plans of the day are simply recycled versions of an old model. Anything which focuses on the immediate or short term is rather ill suited for success.

So, those common “dieting” remarks which you might be well acquainted with need to be slightly altered so as to reflect the correct perspective. “I can’t afford not to eat.” You derive energy from food. The last time I checked, you are not a plant. Oh, if only you could go outside and absorb some rays from Mr. Sun then you wouldn’t need any solid sustenance. Of course, if you were a plant, you’d also thrive on rainy days. Yes, you’d look and smell great, particularly if you were a flower. But, alas, you need to replenish your energy and download your nutritional requirements from food. You need to make time to eat properly. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. I have heard people say repeatedly that they just cannot eat healthy or at all while on the job. Nonsense! Where there is a will, there is a way. “I am really not hungry, now.” If you are observing healthy eating habits, you might find yourself turning down an appetizer or lunch run on occasion. Please, do not let others dictate what you do. When someone tells you that your goal of modifying your habits is impossible, ignore that person. “Impossible is just an opinion.”-Paulo Coelho “I choose not to eat that particular food for a specific reason.” You don’t necessarily have to explain your newly formed habits to everyone you meet, however, it would probably be wise to inform your inner circle. This way you unequivocally establish your personal standards. They should respect your desire to adhere to these standards, and you never know, you may find that you positively influence a work associate. I am not promising any converts, so just focus on being a good example. “Late in the day, I am careful not to consume fatty, calorie dense foods.” Who started this incredibly foolish notion that anything you eat past 7 P.M. will be stored as fat on your body? What if you eat at 6:59 P.M., are you in the clear? Your body does not in any way shape or form go into total hibernation mode while you are sleeping. No, I am not giving you permission to have a seven course meal at 10 O’ Clock tonight. “I am looking forward to Saturday because I have fun plans with my family.” I don’t believe in cheat days. Unless you have already developed tremendous discipline, one cheat food item turns into two and one cheat meal into an all day event full of binge eating. Certainly, it then becomes even easier for one such day to become another, then once again, yet another day of dishonest eating. Let’s face it, nobody likes a cheater! You are lying to yourself if you think this is an effective dietary strategy. “The choices you make will make all of the difference in what you want to achieve.”-L. Tom Perry “Seriously, why would I want to go on a hunger strike?” No, you should never go several days without eating! However, fasting once a month is good for the body, mind, and spirit in many ways. “Remember, I am on a D.I.E.T.”

I highly recommend adopting a new recipe for your daily consumption of food, the D.I.E.T. method. This is an acronym which you may not be familiar with, Don’t Ignore Eating Time. The groundwork for this concept was developed by a brilliant woman named Michelle Collins Detrick.  It is much more than simply not skipping meals. At the core of this practice, is knowing and understanding how your body functions as it relates to eating. Let’s face it, who knows your body better than you? No one. You can become in tune to the sweet music your body is playing. Listen to it closely. Commit it to memory. Sing along with it. Hum if you must, but the melody beckons to you. It calls you to eat when YOU need to. This means eating on your personal timetable. It has been said that your metabolism is as unique to you as are your fingerprints. Weighing this along with other such factors as age, physical activity level, caloric requirements, and specific nutritional needs and personal goals, does it not become clear that you must disregard old style traditions pertaining to food consumption? You were programmed to accept these traditions since your childhood. Gee, thanks Mom. Although your approach has been adjusted throughout your life, it has not been because you have seized control of your D.I.E.T., but rather due to acceptable societal practices. High school schedules, college eating habits, (Wow, remember those days!), workplace ebb and flow, meals on wheels, (the habitual consuming of food on the run in one’s vehicle), the current manner in which you eat at home, and the strange obsession you have with the food table at social gatherings all have brought two common elements into your D.I.E.T., inconsistency and confusion. Why are you so willing to accept the status quo? It hasn’t worked for you or for many at all. Your relationship with food is quite a peculiar thing to say the least. What you think you love so much often causes you to hate yourself. “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”-Carlos Castenada

I believe that you can become very strong in your conviction to change your world be altering your D.I.E.T. You are going to be required to do some work. There will be a measure of experimentation daily. This is not an approach that one figures out completely in a single over-night crash course. You will be eating more frequently throughout the day, which will include healthy “snacks”. You will be consuming food to fuel your body for your active lifestyle and to regulate your blood sugar levels. You will not simply be on the prowl to satisfy your cravings. So, preparation will be a key ingredient to your success. Vegetables? Absolutely! Should you “go organic” and avoid dangerous GMOs? Of course, as much as possible! Will this be expensive? It does not have to be. Always keep in mind that this is for the long haul, the remainder of your life’s journey. This is partly why you will never be able to find your personal D.I.E.T. written down for you in a magazine. You will be its author. That’s the beauty of it. Exciting, isn’t it?

It is an on going process. Yes, I am aware that you dislike that word, but nevertheless, it is a wonderful process of fine tuning your listening skills. Be patient! Be confident! You have the ability to grasp absolute control over what, where, when, how much, and why you eat. That in a nutshell is what a D.I.E.T. is all about. For more details, stay tuned. Meanwhile start

photo credit: The-E via photopin cc