The role “dieting” takes is deprivation of food that people enjoy, but forbid themselves to eat because of over consumption. Somewhere along the way, we’ve begun rationalizing our food intake and created a great disservice for ourselves. Most humans have evolved away from the concept of eating food to nourish the body and make it feel healthy and vibrant and begun using food as an emotional response or coping mechanism. “Diets suck” because we end up travelling a negative emotional roller-coaster.
How’d this happen?
I’m not certain, but hold a strong suspicion it has to do with the role food plays in most cultural celebrations. As a result of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc., we've been taught to share food with loved ones and ended up regularly gorging on feasts of massive proportions. We fail to understand that when these cultural traditions were created, food naturally growing on the earth was scarce. However, in the United States and many other large countries, food is now plentiful and manufactured. Food is no longer truly “whole,” unless it’s grown by you or someone that you know.
Can we fix it?
Absolutely, but mental and physical changes need to happen:
- Eat whole, naturally occurring foods
- Avoid processed food at all cost
- Think of food as medicine for the body (it has nothing to do with the soul)
- Never reward, punish, or console yourself by eating food
- Pay attention to how your body feels on the inside
Even though we understand most of these ideas intellectually, it’s a struggle to change. From my perspective, the best way to ingrain them in your mind and body is to surround yourself with people who foster these healthy habits. Not many people can get away with being a catalyst for drastic change, but introducing and integrating healthy eating is a good start. Everyone needs to start somewhere and applying the concept of “moderation is key” to get you moving in this direction will bring positive change for everyone you come into contact with.
Paying attention to how my body feels after eating foods, I've found that sugar of any kind is not my friend. I have negative emotional responses for a full 24 hours after eating it. (Think of a hungry bear about to lose its feast.) Aspartame gives me stomach and headaches. Wheat, well lets just say the train stops chugging for several days.
What do you think? Please share your ideas about why diets suck.