Thursday, October 4, 2012

For Better Health: Don't "Diet"

Do you have any friends on a diet? Hahahahaha! ROTFLMAO!

Stupid question, eh? I can name at least a dozen friends on a diet at any one point in time. It’s an American pastime. And the font of big bucks for diet creators.

Oh, and the creativity of the diet creators! Who wouldn’t want to do the South Beach Diet (impying images of beach-body-beautiful), or the Mediterranean Diet (sunny beaches, laid back life style, perfect weather), or even the unnamed lose-100-pounds-in-one-hour diets?

Why am I against the plethora of “diets”? Perhaps it is because I consider myself fat if I have to upsize to Size 2. (No, that’s for SURE not it!) Or perhaps it is because I own major stock in a bacon factory. (Would that I had the kind of cash I could play stock market roulette.) Or maybe it’s because I have so many friends who are perpetually dieting because as soon as they go off the diet-du-jour, they gain the weight back.

Have you ever looked up the word “diet”? See, I’m an etymology kind of guy--love, love, love words and their origins, connotations and denotations, you get the idea. So diet is very interesting. This is from

1175–1225;  (noun) Middle English diete  < Anglo-French, Old French  < Latin diaeta  < Greek díaita  way of living, diet, equivalent to dia- dia-  + -aita  (akin to aîsa  share, lot); (v.) Middle English dieten  (transitive) < Anglo-French, Old French dieter,  derivative of the noun

Get it? Diet isn’t a short-term shock to your system; it’s a way of life.

Sure, you might lose pounds, even a lot of pounds with the extreme diets. But the research is pretty compelling that most people gain it back and pack on more pounds. Net gain: negative numbers long-term.

A dear neighbor was talking about his latest diet: 600 calories a day. That is dangerous, and I didn’t hold back on my concerns. But even very smart people  seem willing to take the risks they know lurk in such diets in pursuit of the elusive perfect body--or at least not as grossly over-weight.

I am in need of losing more than a few pounds, and after a medical crisis this spring, I decided to finally, really, seriously take charge of my health. No more sporadic exercise; that was one reason I was in the trouble I was in. No more yo-yo dieting or saying I was going to lose weight; that was another reason I was in the trouble I was in.

No, this time I was going to diet, in the etymological sense of the word. This would be my life-style eating plan, my forever-eating plan. I’ve lost 25 pounds in 6 months. I say 25 pounds in that time, but in reality it was shorter; I’ve maintained that weight loss rather than losing more because I broke my arm and couldn’t exercise. At least I maintained. Now that I am healing, I am going to get back to exercise, so I expect to take of the pounds I still have to lose.

I have to preface my diet “secrets” with this disclaimer. We already ate pretty healthfully--whole grains, 1% milk, olive oil and other healthful fats, lots of fruits and veggies, more chicken and fish than beef--you get the idea.

So my diet, my life-style plan revolves around regular exercise, portion-control, and smart food choices. That’s it. I don’t count calories or weigh food. If someone invites me to a birthday party, I’m going to eat the cake. I won’t beat myself up over it, but I won’t eat birthday cake every day. And I won’t pick up the biggest piece on the table.

I’m into simplifying. I can do this the rest of my life. It’s not a gimmick, not a quick-loss plan, but my goal is not the immediate number on the scale. I want to live a quality life for as long as I am given breath. I want a diet--a way of living. I don’t want to be searching for the next weight loss miracle.


  1. I totally agree with you. I don't believe in crash diets. You can lose weight by increasing exercise, portion control, and healthy choices. Sounds like you've done a fabulous job.

  2. Yeah, well that little health thing gave me the push to do what I knew anyway. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I know you're a recipe girl--check out my February Month-of-Soups. It was quite a deal!