Don’t You Dare Say The “D” Word

Don’t You Dare Say The “D” Word

Yes, I’m referring to the dreaded word, “diet”. I can feel myself shudder whenever I hear some poor unsuspecting soul proudly proclaim that they have just begun the “no carb”, “no fat”, “liquid” or “ultra low cal” diet. I always want to shriek “for the love of God, DON’T DO IT!” but I know that like anything else in life, they’ll soon discover the ugly truth in  time. It calls to mind when your friend is dating “that jerk” who falsely promises her the world along with eternal happiness. She somehow consumes his lies and digests them into rainbows.  From the outside looking in it’s abundantly clear that (in time) this facade will reveal itself, leaving your friend hopeless and jaded. In either case we find ourselves offering support while hoping that our friend will err on the side of caution moving forward.

This leads me to, what have our jaded diet victims learned? Nearly everyone trying to lose weight has at some point survived their fair share of failed dieting attempts (A recent study claims that the average 45 year old has tried approximately 61 diets). After losing the weight, gaining it back and then some, why do we continue to go back for more abuse? Certainly it has to do with believing that this time you’ll be successful. That despite all of your bitter diet divorces, it’s magically going to work now, even though it’s composed of the same main ingredient: deprivation.  Like a fast you can white-knuckle your way through it for a limited amount of time, but it is impossible to sustain. Would you sign up for a business venture that was guaranteed to work for six months, but by the seventh month go under? Of course not! Your better judgement and intuition would guide you away from this catastrophe. Dieting and deprivation are also guaranteed to fail, making the process completely without merit.

The only way to achieve permanent results is to implement permanent changes. The body won’t allow deprivation to become a permanent change. The body is programmed to survive. The minute we restrict nutrients that it requires it magnifies the cravings and urges us to eat more. This makes an already uphill battle even more challenging. You must remove the terms “good food” or “bad food” from your vocabulary and live your life in moderation.

Moderation is a conscious decision to eat healthily, while still allowing yourself a small slice of cake at a birthday party or a glass of wine at your friend’s housewarming…as long as you’re not attending a housewarming every night! If the latter is the case, opt for sparkling water in a wine glass or nibble on fruit in place of the cake and space out your “extras” for weekends. I follow the 80/20 philosophy and eat very clean during weekdays but then allow myself a few “extras” on the weekends (once I’ve earned it).

Whenever you begin to find yourself entranced by the latest diet smooth talker, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s just not worth it. Not worth the initial excitement followed by the very harsh realization that it’s just not sustainable. The secret is…there is no secret! Anything that promises you differently falls into the same “jerk boyfriend” category- it’s designed to prey on your vulnerabilities and manipulate your judgement.  Subscribe to the moderate approach: eat smaller portions, eat frequently, and fill up on greens. Yes it sounds far less enticing than “40 pounds down in 2 months” but it works for the long haul. Come on people, we’ve learned this since our childhood: slow and steady wins the race!

  • Caroline

    Everybody is always looking for a quick fix. A girlfriend of mine did the Bernstein diet and rapidly lost a lot of weight but sadly gained it all back and then some afterwards :( I’m totally going to get her to read this!

  • Marianne

    I know sooo many freakin people who attempt all these diets for a quick fix, but the thing is, they never work. Yeah you lose lots of weight fast, but it just isn’t sustainable. Everyone needs to read this article!