The D-word has gotten a bad rap lately, but it’s no fault of the word itself. We went and messed it all up! In fairness, if we hadn’t messed up the existing word, we probably would have come up with another word and given it just as negative of a connotation.
In days long gone, and today only in scientific circles, the word diet meant/means “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” And the word itself comes from the Greek word ‘diaita’ which means way of life – seems simple, right? But like I said above, we polluted it and now it more commonly refers to “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”
What the F***? (Food, obviously)
Seriously, what the heck happened? Why and how did the word for what we eat get turned into a minefield? Every conversation around what we eat gets turned into ‘dos and don’ts’ or ‘shoulds and shouldn’ts’ when we use the word ‘diet’.
Even just thinking about the word brings up a bajillion thoughts, trendy words, and emotions – 99% of which are negative. And no wonder! In her book “The Bodywise Woman,” Judy Mahle Lutter states up to 50% of women are on a diet at any given time. Half of women are constantly stressing, putting themselves down, and (likely) not eating enough. Only to then yo-yo the other way and go overboard because the amount of discipline it takes to keep to a strict diet is freaking exhausting. And damn, does a pint of Cookie Dough Ice Cream feel good or what?
So when you’re out in the world interacting with other women, odds are dieting and food issues are stressing you (or them) the f*** out. Remember that next time someone steals your parking spot even though you KNOW they saw your blinker; or a co-worker has a bitchy comment; or any other array of asshole-ish type activities… It’s perfectly reasonable to assume they’re stressing about food.
Marketing the D-Word
Because we’re human and have insecurities about weight and dieting, of course someone would capitalize on it (shaking head & rolling eyes).The diet and weight loss industry is hovering around $73 billion. Yep, with a b – billion. And Americans are solidly in first place for spending more than other nations on diets, diet products, and weight loss surgeries. Whether that’s because we’re more in need of those things or we’re just more vain is TBD.
That means all this villainization of the D-word and havoc on our sanity is perpetuated for profit, and all the while none of it even makes sense! First fat is bad; but no, wait! Carbs are bad. Except you should eat whole grains. But read the food labels because they’re allowed to say it’s whole grains even when it’s mostly-but-not-really whole grains. You get the point, so again, what the f***? (obviously still food)
Letting Go of the Stress
Based on just the few paragraphs above, you can begin seeing the truth of my phrase about ‘diet’ turning into a minefield. It’s a seemingly endless conversation with no real conclusions or recommendations because it’s all dependent on who is currently involved in the conversation. As soon as the involved parties change, the narrative changes about what’s best and how we should or shouldn’t eat.
Which is why I’m all about physical activity.
Sure, I like to weigh in every now and then on food (mostly because I like to eat!) and some popular food conversations. But my ultimate goal is to get more women like you to let go of the stress of eating and instead, put that energy toward moving your body every single day.
It’s not just about the activity though, there’s a trickle down effect when you’re focused on moving your body every day instead of your ‘diet’. The stress factor alone will have huge impacts – you’re changing out a massive stressor (the diet) for a stress reliever (the activity). You’ll also find yourself making healthier choices. You’re going to start thinking of yourself as a healthier, more active person. That mind shift alone leads to a million tiny decisions (splitting dessert instead of eating one by yourself) that add up to huge results over time.
By focusing on the physical activity and getting fanatical about doing it every single day, you’re creating new habits and a new lifestyle… dare I say a diaita? No more deprivation or starvation. No more mentally berating yourself for what you ate.
I know it’s easier said than done – to go from a diet crazed and food focused mentality to a physical activity one, but if I can do it, you can do it too. When you start seeing and feeling the difference, you’ll wonder how you ever let yourself stress so much about food. If you aren’t sure where to start, grab my 30 minute workouts and go one day at a time.