Beginning of the year. All these health-related resolutions are made. New workout programs. New eating regimes. New weight loss goals. It’s pretty much all people are talking about these days.
You know what else I’m hearing though? The nasty D word! You know what I’m talking about. The one that you feel guilty about every time it’s uttered. The one that you’re not “good enough” at. The one you’ll probably honestly quit within the next few weeks…
Yeah – DIET. That’s the one.
I personally hate the word. Just hearing it makes me cringe.
And just to clarify what I mean by diet. Sure, we all follow some sort of “diet” in the sense of what we eat. For example, my normal diet consists of fruits, veggies, whole foods, cupcakes, and wine. But that’s not the term that I hate. I hate diets in the form of something restrictive or something you must conform to or else you’ll fail. A diet you have to pay money or sign up for. A diet that’s “faddish” or popular just for now. A diet with unhealthy or unrealistic claims.
So if you’re one of those who have made a resolution to follow some sort of DIET, I’m going to be the first one to tell you… diets suck!
And this is why:
1. Diets are unrealistic to maintain for life. Generally a a diet cannot realistically be something that we do for our entire lives. Cutting out all sweets (or whatever the restriction may be) for the rest of your life is just not realistic. You will eventually cave and then feel guilty about it and feel as though you are a failure.
2. Most likely, when you end your diet, you will gain the weight back. Congratulations. You lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks by drinking only lemon water, apple cider vinegar, and chewing on celery sticks. But as soon as those two weeks are over and you start re-introducing everything back into your meals, you are just going to gain that weight back. As much as you tell yourself that you’re not going to go overboard and that you’re going to do it right, it just never works out that way. The weight always comes back.
3. You deprive yourself and set yourself up for bingeing. So, all those foods you’re not allowed to eat on this diet. What happens when someone tells you that you can’t have something? You want it even more. Chocolate cake is going to start sounding really good. Then it’s going to nag you. Then it’s going to show up in your dreams. And then there’s a chocolate cake in the office one day and you tell yourself just one bite. That’s all. Just a taste. And before you know it, you’ve eaten three pieces and are thinking about taking some home “for your kid,” just so you can go nuts on it in private. I’m not being dramatic here. I’m being realistic. This is what happens when you restrict foods.
4. Inconvenient. Do you really want to be that person? The person who can’t go out to eat anywhere because of the diet they’re on. Or the one who has to always bring a separate meal to gatherings just for themselves because you can’t eat what the host is making. It’s inconvenient for you and it’s annoying to other people.
5. Diets can be expensive. I know that healthy food in general is more expensive than junk & processed foods, but specific diet food is even more expensive. Slap a diet name like Weight Watchers or Adkins on a label and the price will jump higher than if it was just regular food not endorsed by a diet brand.
6. The mood swings you experience due to stress and deprivation caused by your diet. Let’s talk a minute about that thing that happens when you’re super hungry. You want to eat. You want to eat something very specific. And you want it to eat it now. And if you don’t get it right now, something crazy will start to happen. And we call this HANGRY. Hungry + Angry. And you think this is just a thing the internet people made up? Nope, there’s a science behind it. Basically, your brain needs energy in order to function, right? Sugar is the only molecule your brain will accept for fuel. So when the sugar in your bloodstream goes down, so does your brainpower. When your calories are too low or you’re cutting out ALL sugar, your brain doesn’t function quite right.
7. Dieting takes the enjoyment out of food. When you are so involved in dieting, you lose all the fun. Often, you’re eating the same foods over and over again and you get sick and tired of them. You no longer look forward to meal time because it’s such a drag to eat foods that maybe you wouldn’t choose if you weren’t on a diet.
8. Too much focus on weight loss and calorie counting. All the counting, measuring, and charting. It’s just too much. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s not really necessary. Our bodies came perfectly equipped with this awesome scale that works perfectly. Better than any scale you could buy at the store. It’s a scale that tells you when you’re physically hungry and when you’re physically full. That is it. All we have to do is actually listen. Imagine that. The key is to TRUST your body and to truly listen.
9. Your family doesn’t necessarily want to go on a diet with you. Isn’t that the worse? Does your whole family groan and roll their eyes when you tell them that you’re going to start eating differently? Sure, there’s one thing to get your family on board to adopt a healthy lifestyle. But to force them to cut out certain foods just because of your weight/health/etc issues. In my opinion, that’s not your place.
And before you tell me that I’m in the wrong here, I’m going to tell a quick little story here. Because I know some of you are shaking your heads at me and want to tell me that it’s a parents’ responsibility to keep our kids healthy, and if that means cutting out all sugar and junk, then that’s what you’ll do. Okay, so this is what happened to me as a kid. My mom led me to believe that there were bad foods. Some of these bad foods were my favorite foods. Potato chips with nacho cheese. Donuts. Cookies. She never told me I couldn’t eat them, but she wouldn’t allow them in the pantry. If I wanted those foods, I had to use my own money to buy them (punishment), and then they had to be stored in a lockbox that only I had access to. I know this was not meant to punish me, and it was only to help my mom while she was dieting, there was still this idea in my head that these foods were bad. So with that lesson, take just one thing – don’t make your family diet with you if they don’t want to!
10. Cake, ice cream, and wine aren’t usually included on any diet plan I’ve seen. And here is the most important reason why diets suck! I love sweets and I love wine. No, I don’t indulge in them too often. But I know I can if I want. I refuse to adopt any sort of plan that requires me to kick these delicious foods out of my life. Sure, I’ll never be super super lean, and I’m okay with that. But I can still be healthy. Especially if I make my treats from home.
So this, my friends, is why DIETS SUCK!
Once again, this was another crazy long post, but it all needed to be said. I would love to hear your opinion. Do think diets suck?
Take a picture with your favorite “non-diet” food and tag me on Instagram (@happyfoodholly) with the hashtag #inspiredbyholly