Diet – a four letter word!
Over time through the course of history and marketing, the word diet has lost its way. Once upon a time diet would refer to the eating habits of a person, animal or community. But in today’s society, the meaning has been morphed into a word which strikes fear in many, indicating a period of deprivation during which you will be miserable as you miss out on all the fun of foods in the pursuit of weight loss.
Today we are constantly bombarded through multiple forms of media of different eating styles – Paleo, Vegan, Ketogenic, Atkins, South Beach Diet, Blood Type Diet, Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Lemon detox diet, Baby food diet, Kale-tarian, Fat Fever Diet, Carbs are king diet, The tapeworm diet – ok so I may have made a few of them up but you get my point.
The term diet now indicates a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The obesity epidemic is growing, not only our waistlines but also the amount of money we are willing to spend in the pursuit of weight loss. We now have more food type convenience products than ever before sprouting the promise of health and weight loss – but are they the solution or the problem?
Diet now tells us that if we restrict our calories or abstain from certain foods for a specified period of time then we will lose weight. Quite often weight loss will result but does that mean its healthy? What happens when the diet ends? Usually, we go back to our nasty old eating habits and the weight creeps back on and brings a few extra kilos for good measure. So then we start another diet and before we know it we’re in a vicious cycle with our waistlines and food.
Another issue to commonly arises from diets, especially the super restrictive ones are mental health issues including anxiety. People are restricting their diet so much and being extremely dedicated to their diet protocols that the thought of going out for a meal to catch up with friends has them hyperventilating into the nearest paper bag.
As perfect as we would all like to claim to be, slipping up while on our “diet” is common too. We give into temptation and eat a piece of chocolate cake because it’s a mates birthday and just one piece won’t hurt. Mmmmm actually that tasted good. So you have a second piece, this time with a large side of guilt as you realise that the hard work you have put in is slipping away as you shovel another spoonful in your mouth. We feel dirty and disgusted with ourselves as we start spinning into a shame spiral and think to hell with it! It’s all gone to pot now, may as well finish the rest of the cake!
We need to stop this over-obsession with “diet” and take a more realistic and rounded approach to food. The word diet should be stripped from the vocabulary and replaced with “way of eating”, “eat style”, “food preference” something to those effects.
Wholefoods should always, always be chosen over processed, fast and packaged options. Each meal should be seen as an opportunity to reset and refuel our bodies. And if we do opt for unhealthier type foods, understand it ok, as long as you don’t do it all the time this one choice is not going to undo all the other better choices that have been made.
Support for others is important too, eating habits are vastly different and what works for one person is not always going to work for everyone, we are all different. As long as the majority of food of choice is from fresh whole foods does it matter if it’s vegan or paleo? If someone is trying to break bad habits, change their eating patterns or has different food philosophy to you – don’t try and find fault with it, berate and belittle them. Support and encourage them in their pursuit of increased health and general wellbeing.
Allison is qualified in both Naturopathy and Nutritional Medicine. As the founder of Fundamental Wellbeing, she specialises in gut health and stress related conditions. Allison possesses a strong passion for all things health and wellness, she understands that balance is essential to life, looking for real world solutions to help clients reach their health goals.