October L Magazine Column. Diets Are Hell…So Don’t Do ‘Em
Here’s my column from the October issue of L Magazine…
If I were to put you on a diet, what are the first thoughts that come to mind?
Are they happy, joyful thoughts and feelings? Or are they closer to the line of “I’m going to rip this man’s head off!” line of thinking?
Why do you think that is?
Why does the word “diet” bring up some negative emotions?
This is one of those hypothetical type questions. I know why the word “diet” makes you want to run screaming in the opposite direction and possibly jump off a cliff with the next pack of lemurs.
It’s because diets are hell.
Diets focus on the negative.
Foods you can’t eat. Things you can’t do. It’s all can’t, can’t, can’t and that’s the wrong way to look at food and nutrition.
Food is meant to be enjoyed. Plus it’s necessary if you want to continue living on this planet.
But we’ve allowed food to become the enemy.
From this point on, I want you to focus on the positive.
Focus on the good aspects of food. If you focus on the good, the bad can still remain, but it won’t have much room to cause so much mayhem.
Let me give you an example.
I believe that virtually every aspect of our life is a habit. Your morning routine is a habit. What you have (or don’t have) for breakfast is a habit. Your route to work or to drop the kids off is a habit.
The way we eat and drink – habit.
Let’s focus on a good habit.
Let’s take portion size. That’s easy. Our portions are WAY out of control. We eat too much.
So how do we swap the bad habit out for a good one?
An easy way is to shrink your container size, and by “container” I mean plate, bowl, glass, etc.
It’s pretty rare in our house that we pull out the big dinner plates. Instead, we use the smaller salad-sized plates.
Sound stupid or too easy?
Last I checked there wasn’t a weight issue in my house!
That’s just one ridiculously simple and easy way to swap out a bad habit (out of control portion sizes) for a good one (manageable portion sizes).
Plus, using the smaller plate forces you to slow down and actually think about getting more food.
If you eat everything on your small plate, you’ll have to actually set your utensils down, get up out of your chair and go get more food. Whereas if you used the big plate, you would have simply scarfed the whole thing down without batting an eye.
Why? Because we’re plate fillers and plate cleaners. From an early age we’re told, “Clean your plate.” and that continues into adulthood. I was raised with that mantra and I am still, to this day, a plate filler and cleaner – so I use a small plate.
Swap the bad habit for a good one.
Most of nutrition is that simple. Focus on the good habits first and the bad ones won’t survive.