July 05, 2010

The D-Word: Dieting

Maybe it's because my wedding is on the horizon, or maybe it's because I just spent the last three days in a bathing suit...either way, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of dieting.

To me, the words "I'm going on a diet" have always seemed odd. If you think about it, doesn't "going on a diet" just mean changing your eating habits until you look better, and then going back to the way you used to eat? Shouldn't we really be saying "I'm going to change my diet?"

That's what a successful change in eating habits means, right? Not just eating grapefruit and drinking that cayenne pepper and lemon juice atrocity (because, let's face it, of course I've tried it) until you lose three pounds and then pigging out on a pizza and an order of vegetable fried rice (because, let's face it, I've done that, too), but actually assessing what you eat and why you eat it, and making changes accordingly?

I think the reason we love to say "I'm going on a diet" is because there's a kind of novelty to the idea of a fancy, exclusive new eating regimen--None for me thanks, I'm on a diet of hard boiled egg whites and cracked black pepper--that will make us sleek and toned like Jennifer Aniston (or her male equivalent). But, honestly, how sustainable are "diets" as they're advertised, packaged, and sold in the U.S.? If the joy of losing weight is looking and feeling better, don't we want to look and feel better for good, and not just for a few days?

If so, there's no way that "going on a diet" will suffice. (Please note: this post is not for people who feature that infuriating quality so admiringly referred to as an "iron will." Those people already have spindly heroin arms or Madonna's Gollum biceps.) Instead, we should be worried about finding something sustainable, something that we can not just live with but enjoy as a permanent improvement on what has proved to be an unsuccessful diet thus far.

I guess this is all just a fancy way of saying "I'm going on a diet," but what I really mean is that I will be attempting to find the willpower and creativity it will take to permanently change my diet (barring surprise trips to France, Italy, or Greece, where all bets are off). I'm doing this so that a) I look real purdy at my wedding, b) my skin can stop making me look like I'm a teenager, and c) I can maintain a healthy weight and exercise plan that allows me to handle all the crap life's about to throw at me (wedding, deployment of husband to war, etc.) without my ass ballooning to the size of a minivan.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes, but my goal is to actually stick to what I said I was going to stick to (man, is that an ugly sentence) after I finished (ahem...failed) the elimination diet: no dairy, little-to-no gluten, and no sweets (barring the wedding cake samples...duh).


  1. What about trips to Minneapolis? I've got plans for your visit... food plans.

  2. but i love them minivan asses