Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Diet vs. Dieting

I don’t like the concept of dieting. I see a huge dichotomy between diet and dieting that shouldn’t be there. If your diet is bad and you go on a diet, there’s no permanence to that. The diet you’re on may be a good one, but if you give it up later, what was the point? That being said, I’ve been eating healthier and healthier over the last couple years. I have never gone on a diet, but I have been changing mine. It’s been a slow process but since I worked on one thing at a time, it was such a small thing that I didn’t know how well I’d succeeded til I discovered I was ready for the next change.

Let me share with you some of the biggest changes I’ve made:

- First, I stopped eating fast food almost entirely. This was pretty easy for me, since I find greasy, low quality junk food unpleasant anyway. The quality and the prices disgusted me, since by the time you super size a meal you may as well have had a decent meal at a decent restaurant. I usually look for the cheapest delicious looking item on the menu anyway.

- Next, I stopped drinking soda. This was harder. I used to drink a -lot- of soda and I really prefer my beverages have flavor. But soda is horrible for you. Not just because you can use Coca Cola to clean up oil spills, battery terminals, or dissolve nails. The carbonation is bad for your bones, too. These days I typically drink water, coffee, wine and juices.

- I avoid processed food as much as possible. I personally avoid eating anything premade unless it comes out of a can. In the long run I don’t do that much either. Human beings weren’t designed to eat Meals Rejected by Ethiopia. (MREs or Meals Ready to Eat). And don’t tell me your microwave dinner is anything more than a tasty version of the same.

- My most recent change is also related to what I do/do not drink. Anyone who knows me at all can tell you that I refuse to operate without a double mocha first thing in the morning. That makes for a massive intake of milk (especially when I had milk in my cereal, too). The human body is not designed to digest cow’s milk, let alone the processed milk we drink. I moved from 2% milk in my mochas to soy milk. Since making that change I’ve started using soy milk in my cereal as well. It’s a bit more expensive, but it has a richer, nuttier flavor I’ve come to enjoy and I’ve lost weight.

- Finally, the hardest one for me, avoiding candy. When I find myself craving sweets I try to at least eat something natural. My boss at work has his “office” right across from my desk and keeps a bowl of bite-sized candies out for everyone. While I don’t begrudge myself one from time to time, when I find myself wanting one I make the trek down to our café and get a fruit smoothie. (Frozen fruit and apple juice, nothing more).

A caveat before I close. You’ll notice I use words like “typically,” “avoid,” “usually” and so on fairly often. I don’t consider myself an obsessive health food nut and I indulge myself in things I enjoy but don’t consider off limits often enough. (Soda and fast food are mostly off limits. Ice cream, the occasional bag of gummi bears, the bite sized candy bars, those are fine from time to time.) And that’s ok, because it’s just how I eat, not part of some diet I’m on to get slimmer. I feel better, trimmer, more content with my body and self, eating the way I do. It is its own reward.

Of course it is not enough just to eat well. A good diet is a great step forward. The next step is to get off the couch, out of the computer chair, out of the house and LIVE.

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