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I hate the “D” word by Mikael

Diet. 

I just hear that word and I cringe. It’s awful, and to me, has huge negative connotations. All a diet seems to be is constricting one’s food intake to a specific caloric number, cutting out food groups, and focusing on numbers that shouldn’t matter (such as what’s on the scale, dress size, number of calories versus calories out).  

Why on earth would anyone do something that has the word “die” in it? My point exactly.

You can bet I will follow in Brooke Burke’s footsteps when it comes to not using “diet” in front of my future kids.

Thursday marked the end of my Whole30 experience, and though I’m happy it’s practically over (schedule cramping with play practice and work makes for minimal time for food prep), I would not consider it a diet. While I’ve been on it, my friends and family have called it my “crazy diet”–but that’s not what it is, not to me.

The Whole30 has been an experiment–a trial for me to figure out how different foods affect me, how I feel and function, and to break my on-the-verge of an unhealthy relationship with comfort foods. From the start, I wanted to establish a good relationship with food, learn how to cook more, try new delicious and wholesome foods, and to see how different food groups affect my body. If I happened to sidle back into my pants a little easier, that’s just a bonus. The icing, if you will.

And to be honest, this has been a pretty interesting experience. Though some times were a struggle, I feel great knowing that I’m treating my body to foods that promote a healthy gut, a healthy body, and a healthy response to what I’m eating. I didn’t feel like I was deprived at all–call me crazy, but I’m not missing chocolate, which is pretty huge. And to be honest, there are only a couple foods that I’ve missed. I may have been saying that I want a cookie, but that’s largely because I thoroughly enjoy cookies and I feel like my tastebuds have re-awoken, so I’m dying to see if they taste better or not. What the Whole30 people call the “Sugar Dragon” died during week 2 for me. In fact, I feel positively enriched since I am eating great foods. My sleep got better, my energy levels and my focus shot up too. My productivity at work was rather remarkable. I got shit done.

I beg to differ... sylvar

I beg to differ…
sylvar

One of the things the Whole30 forbids is weighing yourself. This wasn’t a hard thing for me, seeing as I broke up with the scale last summer. For months before the breakup, the number just drove me crazy and told me that I needed to get back to where I was before. A while back I developed a very special relationship with my body, and I started to find that the scale started chipping away at that relationship. So I broke it off. I stowed the scale away at the back of my closet and left it behind when I moved out. From there, I started researching healthy relationships with food to help enforce this newfound freedom from the scale. I wanted to be healthy… and I did not want any kind of counting or deprivation to be a part of the picture.

Deprivation, much like diet, is such a negative word. And a lot of times, deprivation is not the answer when it comes to health. Yes, I had to cut many food groups out for the Whole30, but as I said above, I never felt deprived. I found other things I could enjoy as treats on occasion, such as Lara Bars, frozen blueberries, or warm almond milk with cinnamon in it.

Fruit is nature's dessert. - Me ;) epSos.de

Fruit is nature’s dessert. – Me ;)
epSos.de

You have to want a healthy body. Wanting to be thin doesn’t cut it.

I can’t help but feel like a diet reinforces a negative relationship, not only with food, but with your body. Going on a diet sets in your mind that your body isn’t good enough… and that’s not a good relationship to be in.

Your body needs to be cherished–nourished with natural, wholesome foods like vegetables, fruit, healthy fats (think avocados, nuts and oil), non-processed and grain-fed meats. Don’t forget your body also needs to be engaged in activity–any activity that gets you moving for more than 10 minutes. 

For me, the best way to develop a healthy relationship with your body and with food is to recognize what makes you feel good and what makes you feel like shit… then eat accordingly. Because, believe it or not, what you eat makes a huge difference. I recommend reading It Starts With Food–the book behind the Whole30. But know that decades of bad habits can’t be reversed quickly. It is a process. Even though I’ve done the Whole30 for 30 days and I’m feeling great, I know that I still have some things to work on, and I intend on doing the Whole30 again when my schedule isn’t so insane.

Here some food for thought to add to your penny jar today:

  • Healthy doesn’t always mean being thin. Thin doesn’t always equal good health.
  • If you determine a good day by the number on a scale, it’s not just your eating that you need to reconsider.
  • Some “diets” encourage counting calories–however, the negative effect of processed foods chemically engineered to have fewer calories can have more detrimental effects on the body. Along those lines…
  • Calories-in versus calories-out isn’t a bad philosophy. Where your are calories coming from is what matters.
  • Skip the egg whites and eat the whole damn egg. The cholesterol in eggs is healthy cholesterol, and doesn’t affect the cholesterol in your blood stream. Plus you get more nutrients that way. They are the cheapest and easiest way to get in protein, and can keep you satisfied far better than that breakfast bar will. Egg whites won’t cut it either.
  • Don’t make it a diet–make it baby steps to improve your lifestyle.
  • You are what you eat. Simple as that. You eat shitty foods, you will feel like shit. Laws of math and physics, people.

This may be preachy, but I feel like people try so hard to diet to be skinny (yet another word that I hate), that they end up harming their body more than helping it. I’ve also gotten a lot of comments that since I’m already “thin” I don’t need to worry about this kind of stuff as someone else might. That’s not the point. The point is I want to take care of my body. Don’t you?

I feel like I could go on for forever when it comes to health topics. If anyone would like to discuss more about any of it, please sound off in the comments or email me at mikshorty {at} gmail {dot} com.

So what healthy changes have you made to your lifestyle lately?

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5 Comments so far
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Great post Mikael! So true about food. I’m looking at a lot of this myself and trying to figure out how to eat healthier and not feel like I’m depriving myself.

Comment by tomfromhr

So true! We hear so much contradicting information from every conceivable source. My wife and I are starting a juice fast of only fresh alive food after watching the documentary ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’. We will go back to eating eventually but definitely need and want to detox our bodies. You can read my wife’s journey at her blog here > http://graceunveiledblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/what-god-has-been-speaking-to-me-this-past-year/ or it was re-blogged on mine. Here’s to yours, ours and everyone’s health!

Comment by Mark

Amen, lady!! All of this is very well said. Body size is absolutely not an indicator of a healthy body, as super skinny ladies can be more unhealthy than the bigger ladies, especially with our skewed perception of beauty. Also, YAY FOR THE WHOLE EGG!

Comment by terra

You are absolutely right. I don’t like the word diet either. I’ve been doing the Eating Clean lifestyle, and I call it a lifestyle because it isn’t a diet – it is a way of healthy eating for life. I do weigh myself occasionally but what the number says doesn’t matter to me. Everyone’s number and body is different. To me it is all about how my body and clothes feel. Congrats on making it all 30 days!!!

Comment by Caryn

Amen to listening to how your body feels! I’m curious to know about your Eating Clean and what you’re doing. I’d love to chat with you about it sometime on GChat or FB. :)

Comment by Mikael




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