Diet is a dirty damn word.
As one of my close friends says, “The first three letters are DIE.”
Boy, no kiddin’ …
The word diet conjures up images of starvation, restriction, depriving yourself, giving up all those delicious foods that you love to eat. That’s why I prefer the word, nutrition.
Nutrition is a much better word.
Sounds nicer; more positive.
Even the definition sounds better: “food or nourishment … necessary for health and growth.”
One definition of diet is: “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”
Back in the day, I used to follow a really strict diet. On Sundays, I cooked a bunch of chicken breasts (I actually boiled them), brown rice, and green beans for the week ahead. I drank tons of water and worked out four days a week at the gym, two hours at a time. I was nice and lean, muscular, six-pack abs, 12-percent bodyfat.
So that kind of “diet” works really well.
The problem is sticking to it.
The guy I mentioned who says the first three letters in diet are d-i-e … he is lean and mean, and he eats pretty much anything he wants. His philosophy is simple: when he starts to feel full, he stops eating.
That’s a tough thing to do, especially when you grew up being told to clean your plate. I don’t pig out like I used to, eating and eating past the point of fullness just because it tastes good, but I still have a hard time sometimes leaving food on my plate. Luckily, I just can’t eat as much as I used to.
So that’s one way to improve your eating habits — just don’t eat so damn much.
Another way is to make better choices with what you eat. Not saying you have to give up good ol’ chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, burgers, tacos, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, all that good stuff.
One suggestion I heard is really simple and makes a lot of sense, if you think about it.
When you go to the grocery store, do most of your shopping around the perimeter of the store. That’s where the healthy stuff is. At the store I normally go to, when you walk in the door, there’s the produce section, just off to the right a little bit. Wind you way through the produce, bagging up a good amount of fresh fruit and veggies, then head back to the meat department (try not to look to your left as you pass the bakery). Get a few things there, then stay along the back wall and head down to the dairy and juice section.
By now, you’ve got a lot of good, healthy stuff, and you’ve bypassed the middle aisles that are full of processed crap with a list of ingredients that read like a foreign language. Here’s what somebody told me once: “If it comes in a box, don’t eat it.”
Sure, there are things you’re gonna need from the middle of the store, but don’t wander up and down every aisle, and be tempted by the stuff you know ain’t good for you. Grab some water and some coffee and get the hell outta there.
Keep it simple, and make good choices.
Eat healthy during the week, and then come Saturday, go have some Mexican food.
You earned it!