Waking Up

14Jul08

Dear Internet,

I’ve been thinking. A dangerous practice, I know. It leads to random posts like this one, with no real purpose, that ramble all over topics. That’s okay. My mind doesn’t always work in neat little boxes. I’m allowed to go off on tangents.

But anyway, I’ve been thinking.

Dieting is a never-ending series of very small decisions, the sum of which make up our lives.

To some people, perhaps, ‘dieting’ is equated to ‘fitting into that dress in time for that event‘.

I disagree. “Diet” is such a maligned word.

According to dictionary.com, “Diet” is :

di·et1 :: noun, verb, -et·ed, -et·ing, adjective

–noun

1. food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet.
2. a particular selection of food, esp. as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease: a diet low in sugar.
3. such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I’m on a diet.
4. the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group: The native diet consists of fish and fruit.
5. food or feed habitually eaten or provided: The rabbits were fed a diet of carrots and lettuce.
6. anything that is habitually provided or partaken of: Television has given us a steady diet of game shows and soap operas.

–verb (used with object)

7. to regulate the food of, esp. in order to improve the physical condition.
8. to feed.

–verb (used without object)

9. to select or limit the food one eats to improve one’s physical condition or to lose weight: I’ve dieted all month and lost only one pound.
10. to eat or feed according to the requirements of a diet.

–adjective

11. suitable for consumption with a weight-reduction diet; dietetic: diet soft drinks.

Yeah, that’s a lot of information, but it’s kinda worthwhile to read ALL of them.

In it’s simplest and oldest sense, “diet” is “what you eat”.

To couch it in more modern terms, where it is associated with weight loss, “diet” is STILL “what you eat”.

Sure, the person who is pushing lettuce leaves around a plate and smiling a little too sharply is “on a diet”. But so is the guy chowing down on chips and M&Ms in front of the tv. His “diet” is high in fat, sugar, salt, carbs, calories, and all the other scary-sounding words dieting professionals have thrown at us for years.

But he’s still on a diet. As long as you’re eating, you’re on a diet.

This blog isn’t just about food. It isn’t just about carbs, or Weight Watchers, or calories, or fat.

This blog is a chronicle of my journey to becoming a healthier person. One aspect of that is definitely my diet – what I choose to eat. But it will also be about other things. Exercise will be a huge component of what I’m trying to achieve. Mental health, too, shouldn’t be ignored. I need to be more confident, and happier so that I can make better decisions and not fall down the spirals of defeat and depression that will keep me from reaching my goals.

I’ll say it again, because I think it’s very true.

Dieting is a never-ending series of very small decisions, the sum of which make up our lives.

I need to have the self-control to come up against those small decisions and make the right ones. In the grocery store, I see a package of caramel-filled chocolate cookies. They look delicious, but I know I should grab a bag of celery instead. What choice will I make?

I need to exercise, not just to drop off the pounds I already have, but also to help carry me through periods where I do make the wrong decision. I need to expect that I will be weak and cheat from time to time. I need to make sure that I don’t treat those tiny decisions as a sign that I’m a failure and should just give up on the diet. After all, I expected that I would do it, right? And I’m exercising at least partially so that I don’t stall out completely when I do.

Above all, I need to realize that I’m awake. Before, life was like being asleep. It’s easier to be asleep. To just grab whatever sounds tasty, to not make the effort to get up early and run, to take a nap instead of a walk. To eat boxed whatever, and make sure I clean my plate because of starving children in Ethiopia.

I’m awake now. I can see the decisions, and although I may occasionally falter, it isn’t the outcome of a single decision that matters – it’s the sum of my decisions.

Here’s hoping I make significantly more good ones from here on out.

Determinedly Yours,
The Dieting Ninja

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