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Indulgence 101: the way of the proper diet


AP Photo:  Ariel Schalit

The words “I’m going on a diet” typically do not bring to mind good times and squeals of delight, while joyously clicking one’s heels in eager anticipation. Diets usually spell deprivation. Diets typically don’t work—or if they do, the results don’t last in a sad majority of cases. Hmmm…. Diets: Deprivation. Don’t work. Coincidence?

The meaning of the word diet has become as misapplied as many of the cockamamie diet plans coming down the mass marketing pike. Diet originates from the Greek word díaita, which means “way of living”. Not a way of starving or a temporary aberration in lifestyle, but a way of living.

To achieve or maintain a healthful weight is simple math in balancing calories in/calories out. The American Obesity Boom and $40 billion diet industry clearly demonstrate that it is a far more complex equation to solve. To achieve that personal balance, it is necessary to develop habits that support a healthy weight for a lifetime—truly making it a “way of living”. That includes removing a sense of deprivation and supporting yourself with the following elements of indulgence necessary to success.

  1. Satiety. This is the overall sense of satisfaction from enjoying food, including “mouth feel” while eating, and a feeling of comfortable fullness when finished.
  2. Taste. In case you haven't noticed, there have been no best-selling diet books featuring unadorned rice cakes and raw tofu. Going hand in hand with satiety, food must be flavorful to fully satisfy.
  3. Rest. Numerous studies have shown that adequate sleep is critical to achieving and maintaining optimal weight.
  4. Movement. The word proprioception is a mouthful (is it flavorful?), but it describes the joy of movement in sensing the relative position of neighboring parts of the body. Exercise does not have to be a four-letter word.
  5. Sensual pleasure. Creating and fully experiencing a world rich in touch, visual beauty, heady scents, vibrant sounds, and exquisite tastes does not require quite as much richness in only food.
  6. People who support you. You can do it by yourself, but it’s so much easier and certainly more fun if you don’t.
  7. Structure. To have the healthy habits and calorie balance for your optimal weight, you need to have a plan, a structure. This might seem more like reverting to deprivation than an indulgence, but think in terms of swaddling a newborn baby. There is some level of restriction, but it provides warmth and security, while calming the baby.

Indulge yourself, baby, as a way of living.

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Other articles you may find of interest:
Indulgence 101:  satiety for diet success
Indulgence 101:  real taste, real diet success
Indulgence 101:  sleep your way to optimal weight
Indulgence 101:  moving and grooving your body
Indulgence 101:  sensual pleasure
Being fabulous with the body you have right now
Water: the miracle diet elixir
Special diet Rx:  food for health and beauty
Ironman is out:  a fitness plan for the less ambitious 


  • Dawn 5 years ago

    This was excellent, chock full of flavorful bite-sized food for thought. You are keeping me determined and inspired.

  • Jan 5 years ago

    Great inspiration for us couch potatoes.I believe I've added to the coffers of every diet available.And most are truly starvation techniques.Now that I'm following the more calories out then in, and walking around the property instead of using the 3-wheeler,and reading your articles,I'm gaining on loosing! WooHoo! Thanks for all your inspirational articles,Liz!

  • Roberta 5 years ago

    Good preparation and wonderful follow through on a most valuable subject for better health.

  • DrStarbuck 5 years ago

    Your articles continue to both inspire and motivate me to want the best ME. Thank you for that!

  • Winona Cooking Examiner/whiteshoulder 5 years ago

    An exciting new approach on how to loose weight and not fall for just any diet. Talking about a better understanding of what you still needs to satisfy yourself without being deprived is excellent. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas of ways to obtain better health.

  • Meagan Warren 5 years ago

    Terrible advice to those who are obese. Indulge to lose weight? You should be ashamed of yourself!

  • Liz Zelandais, Madison Diet & Exercise Examine 5 years ago

    Hmmmm.... Meagan, do you always take things out of context, or do you sometimes read the entire article? If I weren't essentially shameless, I'm sure I would be hanging my head over your indictment.

  • Jan 5 years ago

    Did this article touch a nerve Megan? Obese people need all the help they can get,and when offered as kindness and help,and not criticism does a world of good! You're the one who should be ashamed, and embarrassed.I'm a basic couch potato fat girl myself,and can use all the help I can get! Thank you.

  • gputscher 5 years ago

    Liz, your article on Indulgence 101: the way of the proper diet
    make very good sense to me, as always.