I don’t think it’s coincidental that the first three letters in the word ‘diet’ spell ‘die.’
Over the years, I’ve succumbed to the various fads that attempt to take the word diet out of the equation.
“I’m not dieting, I’m eating healthier.”
“I’m not dieting, I’m modifying my habits.”
“I’m not dieting, I’m detoxifying my body.”
“I’m not dieting, I’m making a lifestyle change.”
It doesn’t matter what you want to call it to try and make it sound less offensive, if you’re counting calories, carbohydrates, sodium, grams of fat, fiber intake, glasses of water, or anything else at all, you are on a D-I-E-T.
I’ve “been on a diet” now for about 25 years in some form or another. I’ve had occasions of minimal success, usually followed by a few satisfactory months until the pounds begin to creep back. Isn’t it nice how when they decide to return, they almost always bring friends with them?
My most recent “diet” began the first day of March after I’d topped the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. I decided it was time *sigh* to try again.
The reason I want to lose weight, if I’m being honest, has less to do with fitting into my smaller clothing that currently sits collecting dust in the back of my closet, or with molding myself into the media-fed idea of what makes a woman beautiful, and more to do with my quality of life.
You see, there are things I want to do that I simply can’t at my current weight. I want, for instance, to ride the Kraken rollercoaster with my kids the next time we visit SeaWorld. As the editor of a fast-growing St. John Valley news source, I want to cover an event like the Can-Am Crown sled dog races without feeling winded after I make one trek from our office to the announcer’s platform and back. I’d love to go on bike rides with my kids, canoe trips and hiking with my husband, and, gosh darn it, someday I really, really want to take photographs from the top of Mount Katahdin.
One of the most discouraging things about dieting is counting calories. It sucks. I hate that if I decide to put anything on my whole grain 100-calorie toast, I instantly double my caloric intake for that one food item. I hate that if I have a glass of milk or juice, I have to sacrifice a snack later to make up for the extra calories. Who eats plain toast, anyway? And have you ever actually measured out the eight ounces of milk that it takes to equal one cup? It’s not even enough to fill the average sized coffee mug.
Then of course there is the guilt that inevitably comes along with dieting. I’m sure you’ve all felt it. It’s that moment of weakness like when you’re at a child’s birthday party and some well-meaning, happy-faced person hands you a slice of cake. It’s small enough, you reason. Maybe just a bite. A few minutes later, as you’re scraping the remnants of frosting from the plate and enjoying the endorphin induced sugar high, you remember that you have to go home and enter the calories into your online tracker.