The Meaning of Diet
The definitions of ‘diet’ are straightforward; anyone can understand them. Too bad definitions don’t make us healthy or help us lose weight.
Definitions and meaning are not the same. The definition of ‘value’ tells us nothing about what we actually value. The definition of ‘love’ tells us nothing about what love means in our lives. No matter how familiar we are with the definition of ‘apple,’ it is nothing compared to taking a bite.
I can now see that when I was on the rollercoaster ride of losing and regaining weight, the real meaning of dieting was mostly emotional and negative: struggle, willpower, punishment, woe, longing, joylessness, sacrifice.
Thankfully, I got off that ride. Over the last 5 years I’ve lost about 90 pounds (41 kg) and an essential ingredient of that success has been my shift in thinking about diet, from negative to positive.
You can diet to deprive yourself, or instead you can start dieting in order to eat real foods that make you feel more alive.
You can focus on how the modern food industry is geared to make you overeat, or instead you can start focusing on supporting the people and companies who are trying to change it.
You can constantly think about the foods you can’t eat, or instead you can start appreciating the plentiful bounty of foods that you can eat.
You can feel unlucky because you seem to gain weight so easily, or instead you can feel fortunate, because you respond well to natural, human foods.
You can keep wishing you looked like a model, or instead you can start valuing deep health.
You can adopt the mindset of, “When I lose weight, I’ll…“, or instead you can start being active and enjoying your life right now.
You can continue distrusting yourself—demanding 24/7 willpower and perfection—or you can let the power struggle go and believe that deep down inside you want what is best for you and that you’ll do the right thing.
See, we give meaning to everything in our lives, not just diets. We can just as easily look at a situation in one way as we can another way.