The "D" Word


By definition, “diet”:

       1. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
“a vegetarian diet”

       2. special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
“I’m going on a diet”

       1. to restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
“it’s difficult to diet”

I like that first noun definition best. Everyone has a diet; we all eat food and we, for the most part, do so in a somewhat systematic and characteristically inherent way day-to-day, week-to-week. Diets, as described by that first noun, get a bad rap, but we all need them: to live, sustain, and grow. It’s when we get too particular about that verb connotation of the word that they become bad because we restrict multiple facets of our lives: we socially isolate ourselves, shop or eat from only certain places, and our bodies shut down and go into starvation mode…really nothing good can result from that!

So, when I was doing some general research (dr. google) on what diets I wanted to highlight and discuss this week, a new interesting one arose (well, several did, but this particular one really struck me). The Banana Diet. Naturally, I was curious so I kept reading and scouring the articles. Overall consensus being, no, I don’t think it is a great idea to drop everything, run to Kroger and immediately start following this diet…but one of the websites had an intro paragraph and  that struck me:

“Every diet has rules. If a diet works for you, it’s simply because the rules have had the effect of making you eat less food (nothwithstanding whatever magical claims a diet may make). Diet rules generally do this by making eating a little harder or less convenient, through restricting when or what you can eat. Throw in a little “scientific theory” for motivation, and you have a diet. And remember, no diet works for everybody.”**

My impression of what they’re trying to say is that: rules, like diets, get a bad rap. Sure, we should live life in balance but we also need rules. We have rules for many things in life–rules for crossing the street, taking our shoes off when we get home, brushing our teeth before bed, putting out the trash on Monday nights. So why not set some goals for what and how we eat?

I repeat, rules are not bad. It’s when we become obsessive over those rules that they become bad. I’m not going to lie, it’s one of the most difficult things to find balance with food in structure and routine. What you should try to remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed or when you feel like you’re getting unnerved by that structure…shake it, erase it…go do the exact opposite of that defined “structure” for a minute and break it! Don’t feel like you’ve lost or given up, you’re doing exactly what you should be doing: taking control and not letting things control you.

So, to put it all together…a “diet” becomes a set of rules (or guidelines, put less harshly) for your daily eating patterns which, in turn, become methodical healthy habits that stick around and lead to you to an overall healthier lifestyle. I think that’s something we can all agree is *good thing.*

So, what I hope this week focused on all-things diets will leave you with:

  • A better sense of your own diet

  • A stronger grasp of some areas you could improve, tweak, or modify said diet

  • Ideas for how to treat your diet as an ongoing lifestyle – not something you can pick up and ditch like a new Demi Lovato song
  • Rules or guidelines from a particular diet that you may be interested in adopting

  • And finally, a positive outlook on all foods, diets, and a renewed sense of how to live in balance with structure and healthy routine

*definition courtesy Merriam Webster Dictionary
**banana info and quote via

Kayla Hansmann