This is such a short, sweet post that I could not resist passing up the wisdom that this little phrase debunks.
Have you ever gotten handed this phrase on a proverbial platter before:
“Oh honey, you should just enjoy life. Eat what you want. Don’t worry about your diet!”
Well I have, plenty of times, and it is incredibly disappointing everytime I hear it.
I’ve heard it from everyone, from well-meaning family members (decades ago) to new people I have just met.
A Worn Out Word
The word “diet” is such a worn-out, used-up word, can we all agree to just ban this word from our vocabulary once and for all? I mean, Congress may not be able to agree to ban anything (i.e. unsafe food via GMO’s), but as individuals – we have enormous potential to be change agents.
One conversation at a time and one choice at a time, we can choose to insert the phrase “eating healthy” for the word “diet.”
Easy enough, right?
A Stigmatizing Word
The other bad thing about the word “diet” is it implies you are constantly trying to lose weight. Now this phrase overwhelmingly affects women, correct? And what is worse, women suffer from eating disorders at alarming rates in the US. Check out this infographic for the startling statistics on how the word “diet” affects our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children. National Eating Disorders Association Infographic
“Diet” is a stigmatizing word that could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, sending a little girl into the full-blown throes of an eating disorder. She could hear it from her mother or from her peers at school who are trying to look like “supermodels” or fit into a certain size. I have personally experienced this and seen it in myself and my own family. But whatever the reason, it is time to adopt a healthier attitude toward food, which will help little girls (and big ones too) feel good about their body and their relationship with food at the same time.
A Verb of Self-Deprivation
The word “diet” also implies that you are depriving yourself. That could not be a bigger lie. Eating healthy is the complete opposite of self-deprivation. I LOVE my vegetables, medicinal culinary herbs, and enjoying cooking Slow Food for other people. I eat organic, non-GMO, and most vegetarian, and my family and I love every minute of gathering around the table to cook. In fact, most gatherings we have with friends and neighbors happens around a table full of healthy food. Notice the word “diet” had nothing to do with it. Sure, we may have a healthy diet, but can we stop using “diet” as verb now. Please?
I think the next generation, and this one too, will thank us.
- National Eating Disorders Association Infographic
- Slow Food USA
- Zen Habits: Eating A Plant Based Diet – An Easy “Get-Started” Guide
- Eat Your Medicine: Nutrition Basics for Everyone, Mark Hyman, MD
- Give Yourself A Biologic Tune-Up, Mark Hyman, MD
- More resources on eating clean and healthy on my website at Informed Healthy Living Links