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.
- Satiety. This is the overall sense of satisfaction from enjoying food, including “mouth feel” while eating, and a feeling of comfortable fullness when finished.
- 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.
- Rest. Numerous studies have shown that adequate sleep is critical to achieving and maintaining optimal weight.
- 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.
- 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.
- People who support you. You can do it by yourself, but it’s so much easier and certainly more fun if you don’t.
- 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