What is diet?

According to a study by Mintel, almost two-thirds of Brits are trying to lose weight most of the time, most would associate this with the word diet but, what does diet really mean?

There’s a lot of stuff out there on the internet and in scaremongering programs on TV but as there’s no quick fix, let’s take it back to basics:

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of a diet is: “The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” See – this isn’t about losing weight, fads; restricting yourself or only eating a certain food type or eliminating another, it simply means what you eat regularly.

How do I improve my diet?

Well, we all know that following the aforementioned fad diets can lead to a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting; weight loss one month leading to piling it all back on the next. There are so many traditional ‘diets’ out there on the market from Paleo to juice fast, Special K to Cabbage soup, which I’m sure to discuss more in the future, all of which have their pros and cons but for now, the best thing is to concentrate on eating healthy foods most of the time with occasional treats of foods that you really enjoy!

Don’t think of a pink elephant!

You did, didn’t you? It is known as the Ironic Process Theory, if you are told to not think of something, you are more likely to think of that very thing. The same goes for when you’re told not to consume a certain food, as soon as you actively try and eliminate it from your life, you suddenly realise that your every thought reverts back to that very thing… this makes many fad diets completely unsustainable, they rely on willpower, and that can only last for so long.

Telling yourself not to eat chocolate/chips/pizza/[insert your ‘bad’ food here] will most likely lead to your thoughts being overrun with the idea of eating it, and eventually you will, most likely in excess. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your food and eating whatever you want as an occasional treat, you may find if you stop restricting, you’re more likely to see the benefits you seek.

My challenge to you

To stop this negative cycle in its tracks, I have a challenge for you! For 2 weeks (and beyond if you want of course), instead of telling yourself to remove something ‘bad’ from your diet, I want you to add something ‘good’.

Here are a few ideas of what you could add:

  • Drink a glass of water on waking up
  • Eat an apple before lunch
  • Have a small handful of nuts as a morning snack

In theory;

  • You’ll be less hungry therefore likely to eat less during the day
  • Mentally you don’t want to ‘undo’ the positive choice you’ve made so you subconsciously make better/healthier choices in subsequent meals

Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below, tell me what you chose to add into your diet, how you feel and how it affected your food choices throughout the day.

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen – John Wooden