I detest the word “diet.” The noun technically describes what an animal eats. The verb, however, means the purposeful change in diet (n.) to foster weight loss through a reduction in specific foods and/or calories. Both noun and verb connote the hopeless impermanence of New Years resolutions. So if I tell people I’m on a low fat, low sugar, plant based, whole foods diet. They say, “Are you trying to lose weight?” or “How’s it working? Have you lost weight?” As if the only reason for changing one’s diet is to fit into a smaller pair of jeans.
Our society’s obsession with food and dieting is unhealthy. We all know this. So that’s why I try not to use the word “diet” when I talk about what I do and don’t eat. I prefer the term “nutritional plan.” My food choices are part of a plan based on personal research and professional advice intended to provide my body with nutrition and energy. I’m treating my my mind, body and soul — not my waist line.
As Erin discussed in her post yesterday, I kept a journal to figure out what foods and situations triggered migraines and stomach problems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is part of a treatment plan, but there isn’t one standard diet for every patient. The more I think about it, the more I realize it’s crazy that one diet claims to work for everyone.
There was a time when I ate to satisfy my hunger, without much thought for nutritional value. Or I ate to make myself feel better. I
was am an emotional eater, i.e. I deserve this cupcake because I had a really bad day!
I believe food can be prepared for enjoyment, however, pleasure can’t be the only consideration in what we eat. Likewise, food is not the only source of pleasure in life. The biological purpose of eating is to provide our bodies with nutrients and energy to survive. Which is kind of a “Duh!” idea, but I find it hard to grasp at times, especially if I’m really hungry, working late, or getting a craving.
Focusing on the nutrition and health aspects of my individualized plan helps me stay focused when I walk past a bakery or a pizza place (there are so many in NYC!). This nutritional plan is just one part of a larger journey towards a more balanced life. Which is why I’m not dieting and I hope this isn’t just a fad.
What kind of nutritional plan are you on? Do you have issues with the word “diet?”