Wednesday, 8 January 2014

To Diet Or Not To Diet

"diet" noun

1 the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats:
a vegetarian diet
            the activities, pastimes, etc. in which a person or group habitually engages:
screen violence is becoming a staple diet of the video generation

2 a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to 
loose weight or for medical reasons

In the last few months I've heard the word "diet" thrown around a lot. 
I was sitting on a plane recently and had 2 ladies sitting next to me who spent almost the entire trip talking about food and dieting. I spent a few days with a new friend who is a dietitian. Family and friends have been talking a lot about food because, well, it was Christmas time and a lot of holidays revolve around food. It's got me thinking about diets and dieting...

Now, for those who know me, I'm probably the last person on earth who should be talking dieting. I've been skinny my whole life and have never been "on a diet". When I was small my folks struggled to get me to just eat what was on my plate and I was well into junior school before the words "I'm hungy" became a regular part of my vocabulary. I haven't ever had to battle with crazy weight fluctuations. I'm incredibly lucky in this regard and am frequently reminded of this from comments (some of them absurd, but I take them as a complement) from friends, family, co-workers and even strangers. 

There are many reasons people go on diets but I think the main two reasons are to loose weight or for health reasons. I don't agree with the concept of "going on a diet" for a week or two. Instead, I believe in changing your diet so that you are able to sustain it over the long term. I also believe in the 80-20 principle, in that if you eat well 80% of the time, it's OK to have that sweet, chocolate or extra-creamy pastry every now and then. I eat when I'm hungry and if it goes for too long, I start getting grumpy (just ask my boyfriend).

So, that's my outlook on diets and dieting in a nutshell. I know there are more complexities to dieting than this, and I'm sure that my opinions on dieting will change as I grow older and my metabolism slows down. However, I hope that in the future, if I need to diet for some or other reason, I will look at trying to change my diet and lifestyle to incorporate the advice given to me, rather than going on a diet for a while and then going back to my old way of eating, only to have the same problem resurface over and over again.


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