Diet: A Four-Letter Word


One of my least favorite words related to health and wellness is diet. In my opinion, this four-letter word causes a lot of confusion and stress. Simply skimming the surface of this multi-billion dollar industry we have the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, diet pills, diets associated with blood types, free online diet plans, 30-day detoxes, and diet books such as Flat Belly Diet, Carb Lovers Diet,  and The Ultrasimple Diet (what an oxymoron). Throw in variables such as fat–both the good and the bad, calories, calories from fat, sugar, sodium, fiber, carbohydrates, and protein and it is no wonder we’re confused. Even I get confused sometimes and it’s my job to understand this stuff!

If diets work why are there so many? Clearly the golden ticket has yet to be discovered because worldwide there are individuals struggling to maintain a balanced way of eating and the results appear to be leaning towards an increase in chronic disease related to what we consume. I bring this up because as we near the end of this first month of 2014, I’m seeing a lot of people posting messages about not completing sugar cleanses and detoxes.

Before you jump on the next bandwagon consider what a detox really means. If you are eliminating sugar, say goodbye to fruit, dairy, and alcohol. Are you intending to live a sugar-free life moving forward or do you just need to cut back on what you currently consume? I would imagine the answer is you need to cut back. Unless you have a health condition which requires you to eliminate a food group it’s probably not necessary to do so.

I used to be a lover of all types of candy and one year I just decided to cut back. Do I occasionally indulge? Yes, of course. Am I a healthier person because I cut back? Certainly. Did it impact my social life? Not so much. Think about all of these things before you make a drastic lifestyle change.

I view going on a diet as an event. Events typically have a start and end date. Perhaps a diet recommends you follow it forever, but many diets can be unreasonable for the long run. Implementing a process, such as having a healthy mid-morning snack, instead of jumping on the latest quick-fix diet bandwagon is probably something you’ll find more rewarding and more satisfying. I dare you to try it.