What does the word “diet” mean to you?
Do you associate it with exacting control over meals and snacks in order to reduce weight? Perhaps the word brings up depressing visions of resigned yet temporary self-control. Some folks deliberately step away from the pleasure of eating by declaring that food is really “intake”, to be counted, weighed, measured, and joylessly categorized.
Unfortunately, feelings of deprivation thrive in the idea that you must eliminate or fight foods that are “bad” because they prevent you from losing weight. The problem here is that power is ceded to the food, as if cakes and potato chips actively stop you from being the best you can be by reeling a powerless you in with one sultry come hither glance.
The result of a food victim mindset is that when “failure” happens, it is easy to accept defeat as if you are being too weak to steel your spine and fight the allure of food. After hating yourself with every subsequent forbidden bite, the internal war only enlarges.
Food is not your enemy and the word diet is your ally, a good friend. Diets describe the way of eating that you find the most delicious, fragrant, enjoyable, fun, healthy, creative, and sustainable.
You have the power to pause, consider, and purposefully choose the food you eat.
I rather like the concept of filling your plate with a rainbow of color. This is easily done if half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. One quarter or your plate may hold whole grains and the remaining portion might be protein.
Today is a day for picnics with family and friends. What will you choose to bring to the meal?
Yes, I know. Everyone insists that you bring your famous potato salad. Go ahead and bring it, but also put together a lovely tomato, red onion, and cucumber salad that has been baptized with a splash of vinaigrette.
You can increase the choices available and still give a nod to tradition. After all, your German Grandma’s recipe is superb, much loved by all. Eating the vinegary dressed potatoes reminds you of her, so you take a very large serving while paying attention to each lovely bite. Or it might feel right to take a smaller helping of potatoes and fill the rest of your salad plate with chunks of beautiful garden tomatoes. Both decisions are correct when they are well considered.
Pause, breathe, and build your plate with color, texture, flavor, aroma, nutrition, tradition, and pleasure.
Enjoy your diet,