Why you should give up ‘dieting’ and Consider a Lifestyle Change Instead
I remember learning what the term diet meant long before I ever thought about going on a ‘diet’. An elementary science lesson taught me that a diet is:
‘the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.’
My 8-year old self pictured a long neck dinosaur chomping on leaves. I pictured myself eating corn-pops, grilled cheeses, fruit-roll ups, and salads. What made up my diet was SO different from that dinosaur. You see back then I understood a diet as all the food something eats on the regular. That made sense.
Growing Up and Discovering ‘Diet’ Culture’
When we were kids a ‘diet’ wasn’t something you did temporarily to lose weight, improve health or meet fitness goals. It just described what people ate on a daily basis. It was mildly confusing when I first started noticing diet tips on magazines lining the tills of grocery stores. As I got older, I got brainwashed into this ‘diet’ culture.
I realized people were always on all sorts of diets- weight watchers, Atkins, whole 30, paleo, low-carb, low-fat, high fat, keto, the list goes on. Most of the people I knew were always going back and forth between a ‘diet’ and eating normally.
I became one of these people, oddly, not for weight loss, but for health issues, I was trying to fix. I tried so many diets, hoping temporarily adhering to one of them would fix me and I could go back to eating normally. I think the whole idea of a diet being temporary is enticing to us. We think, okay I only have to do this for this ‘X’ amount of weeks, or ‘X’ amount of months then I can eat whatever I want. We can muster up the confidence to last this predetermined amount of time but then just a few months after we finish our ‘diet’ everything goes back to normal including our weight. Just as a dieter yo-yos back and forth with their weight, my health yo-yoed back and forth in-between ‘diets’. The problem is, we forget (or don’t realize) that our ‘normal’ way of eating played a major role in our poor health and weight gain in the first place. We feel so confused when we go back to normal and find ourselves right back where we started.
Dieting Started to Drive me Insane
At one point I hit a maximum. I was tired of constantly motivating myself to make it through a diet, only to find myself feeling crappy a few months later and needing to get back on yet another ‘diet’. I didn’t want to go my whole life yo-yo-ing. It was painful. It was exhausting. Constantly battling my inner self to stick inside my ‘diet’ guidelines was driving me crazy. I was in my early 20s. I did not want to be dealing with health and weight issues my whole life. I had way more things I wanted to think about, dream about and accomplish in life!
I often wondered why I didn’t yet know how to eat to feel good. Then I realized neither did most of the people around me. I wanted to know what kind of foods to eat daily for the rest of my life to keep healthy and lean so I could stop ‘dieting’.
Learning about A Plant-Based Lifestyle
And that’s when I learned about a plant-based diet. And I thought, oh god no, not another diet. I can’t handle another diet. I always break the rules and want to cry myself to sleep because diets quite frankly, were hard and often left me feeling like a failure as I tried to sneak in an extra bowl of ice cream and another chocolate bar.
As I looked further into it, I realized people were often referring to it as a ‘‘plant-based lifestyle’. I thought this is odd….what does that mean? No one calls it the ‘low carb lifestyle’ or the ‘keto lifestyle.’ A little further digging showed me that being plant-based was a permanent change, not a temporary fix. That’s why they called it ‘a lifestyle’
I scoured the internet and found countless stories of people thriving on a plant-based lifestyle. These people spoke of focusing on eating an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.They talked about how it skyrocketed their health, helped them lose weight, and maintain a healthy weight. They talked about energy, they talked about mental clarity, they talked about fixing the weirdest of health symptoms. And most importantly some people had been living like this for decades!
They weren’t talking about a short-term fix to lose weight or gain health. They weren’t ‘on a diet’, plant-based foods simply made up their diet. I was in, every other diet I tried had failed me. I wanted a new lifestyle.
I’m happy to report, I didn’t go back to my ‘normal’ way of eating, the plant-based diet became my new normal. Because I didn’t go back to eating normal, I didn’t go back to feeling unhealthy. The longer I ate plant-based foods the more my energy, health and overall wellbeing soared.
I realized that I wasn’t meant to ‘diet’. I was meant to have a diet made up of an abundance of nourishing plant-based food. I wish I hadn’t been part of the ‘diet’ culture. I wish I would have known how to be healthy from a young age. I would have saved so much mental space to focus on my goals and dreams.
If you find yourself spending all your time thinking about, researching, talking about and doing diet after diet maybe it’s time to reframe the way you think about the word ‘diet’. Maybe it’s time to see how filling your plate with a variety of plant-based foods can help you ditch the ‘diet’ world for good. Maybe it’s time for a new ‘lifestyle’.
If you’re interested in starting a plant-based diet, grab my free guide to smoothie bowls (below) to get started on the right foot.
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I am not a doctor or dietitian. The information on here is based on what worked for me. There is a lot of research out there on plant-based diets and the positive impact this diet has on health which really made me comfortable with my plant- based lifestyle choice! If you want to dive more into the science/evidence side of things check out our resources section. Any statements made on these platforms are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult with your medical practitioner before making any changes to your current diet and lifestyle.