Nutrition, Weight Management

Why You Should Stop Using The Word ‘’ Diet ‘’


It’s very important that we always choose the words that we use carefully and the words that we think of all the time because if there’s a word running in your mind all the time that’s exactly how you feel or that’s exactly how you become. When you look into the dictionary for the meaning of the word diet it’s nothing but the kind of food that you eat but today the word diet has been given such a negative attachment with every possible emotion when it comes to the social media, the magazines and everything that we read about someone’s on a weight loss diet, someone used a diet to change the way they look, someone used a diet to get over cancer or arthritis or diabetes.

But I think why we need to move away from this word diet is because when we think we’re on a diet we automatically think we’re on restrictions, we automatically think that we cannot have certain things, we automatically develop this bad relationship with food where we label bad foods as bad and all of that has a subconscious effect on your parasympathetic nervous system and your sympathetic nervous system.  So the moment we hear negative words like ‘restriction’ or ‘I cannot eat that because I’m on a diet’ we start the generation of cortisol automatically in our body and all of us know the negative effects of cortisol being generated over and over again.

So the word that we need to move to is lifestyle and if you look at our younger generation today because we use the word diet so many parents are constantly talking about diets at home, children pick up the same thing. So all the time children today equate being on a diet with losing weight, they equate beauty with being on a diet, they equate muscles with being on a diet. But it’s far beyond that because we all know it’s not just diet that gets you to lose weight or look beautiful or put on muscle or even determine who you are, but our children are picking up that word diet because of what we speak in front of them constantly. So it’s attached with a lot of negativity and our children need to grow up thinking that food is energy and fuel to the body, food is survival to the body and there are good foods and there are not such good foods and there’s junk food and all the chemically laiden food that does damage to your health because your children have the ability to reason and to use logic. It’s us with our layers of fear and insecurities and all this all these pieces of information that we’ve picked up over the years where we’re blinded by all of this and we make decisions out of a space of fear and that’s never a good decision.

So I think we need to move from the word diet to lifestyle. We should be talking about what are the foods, what are the lifestyle changes that you’re making to eat better foods, what are the lifestyle changes you’re making to make sure that your diet has good carbohydrates, good proteins and good fats and then we change the whole culture of this weight loss and diet game, because if our kids grew up thinking, forget about just our kids, that you grow up thinking or you’re already at a particular age and you still believe and your mind is attached to that word diet and a piece of paper with some food written on and you think that’s going to change your health and your weight and your life, you are 100% mistaken. But yes we can encourage lifestyle plans and lifestyle changes when it comes to eating the right foods when it comes to doing the right exercises.

So for example what lifestyle change can you make when it comes to eating food? You can choose better quality calories, you can choose to under eat which is also bad you can choose to overeat which is also bad. You don’t need a diet plan for that; you need a lifestyle change for that. You need a lifestyle change to decide whether you should under eat to lose weight, whether you should overeat because you’ve lost control over your emotions and your cravings and you’re just blindly and mindlessly eating. You can make a lifestyle change when it comes to the kind of ingredients that you choose to put in your food, you can make a lifestyle change when it comes to choosing the kind of restaurant that you want to eat food or feed your kids with that kind of food, you can make a lifestyle change when it comes to moderation. You don’t need a nutritionist or a doctor or anyone to write down on a paper and tell you how much of food your body needs because it can never be accurate because no one has the power to take an account, the amount of energy that your brain needs, your digestive system needs, your emotions need. So you’re left with a paper dictating what you need to lose weight or look beautiful or put on weight and that blinds you from making lifestyle changes like mindfully eating, controlling your potions, selecting the right quality of your ingredients.

What lifestyle changes can you make when it comes to exercise? You can have this whole exercise chart that your trainer gives you. 15 squats today 3 sets tomorrow. Again it’s putting blinders on you. You only see that much, but when you make lifestyle changes; number one is your exercise program working for your body, is your exercise program making you feel good in your body and in your mind, is your exercise program making you feel energetic and not fatigued and wiped out. These are lifestyle changes that you can make when it comes to exercise.

What are the lifestyle changes that you can make when it comes to sleep? Again seven eight hours; we fix our mind at one number. But you should be looking at the quality of sleep, the depth of each cycle of your sleep, how you feel when you wake up in the morning are you still tired or are you rested and energetic. So many people sleep for eight to nine hours and they still wake up tired and there are people who sleep for five to six hours and they wake up energetic because they got the right quality of sleep.

What are the lifestyle changes that you can make when it comes to stress? I told you spiritualties also become a fad. Everyone’s running to chanting classes and yoga and pranayama and meditation. But they do not allow the learnings from those classes which are excellent and valuable to slip into their daily life. This means we lack practice. So what we’ve got in today is the habit of having a to-do list and ticking off everything. Like one hour workout done now I’m going to sit in office for the next nine hours and not move one work.  I’ve cut down these amount of calories, removed sugar from my diet, I’m following this plan my nutrition is done for the day. No. You may need more nutrition according to the day that you’re going through, you may need more nutrition according to the weather, according to any ailment that you have. It’s dynamically changing because your body is dynamically changing. You may need more sleep if you’ve had a stressful day. You may need less sleep if you’ve had a less stressful day. So we got to be open; your body has the intelligence to adapt to everything around us; externally and internally; in your physical self and in your emotional and mental self as well. But you got to be aware to allow it to adapt it.

So let’s move away from the word diet to the word lifestyle which is more powerful and more positive and inexpensive and free. You can make one lifestyle change every month or every week or every day. That’s in your control.

I am against young children eating sugar because when a child is one year old, two years old, three years old and four years old, they do not understand the side effects and the bad qualities of sugar. So when you feed a child at that age sugar what’s happening is that brain is getting addicted to sugar which then determines and controls their behaviour. As your child grows up to an age where they can understand, they can eat a little bit of sugar because I know it is not an ideal world where they can be deprived of sugar completely but now you can explain. They have the opportunity to understand why sugar is bad and what it does instead of just telling them don’t eat sugar it’s bad for you. They can reason and understand far better than some of us adults. So now they will eat sugar but probably with more reasoning and logic and in moderation.

We should not underestimate the intelligence that our children have to reason to be logical to decide and even make decisions. We term them as oh don’t be greedy don’t eat so much. But you are responsible as you started that addiction in them since they were young. Now you can’t call them greedy and tell them not to overeat because you’re not working against their attitude, you’re working against their cravings that are coming from their brain which they are not in control of.

One tip for everyone to start losing that weight. Portion control; the most important thing no matter how well you exercise, how well you eat, if you’re overeating your food you will not lose weight. So if you’re trying to lose weight your next meal; lunch, dinner, breakfast; reduce your potion by 1 tablespoon. 1 tablespoon of rice, 1 tablespoon of your lentils, 1 tablespoon of your vegetables or whatever it is you eat. Just 1 tablespoon and if you still feel hungry physically, go ahead and eat more. The idea is not for you to feel hungry. You know that hunger is bad for you. Hunger means that your metabolic rate is falling and you don’t want to have that whether you’re trying to lose weight or whether you’re trying to stay healthy and build a strong immunity. But reduce 1 tablespoon at each meal. Eat mindfully, eat slower and you will find that that same portion is enough for you. You do the calculation. Do this for a week multiply the number of tablespoons less by the number of meals you have and I can guarantee you are losing weight and you will lose with losing fat as well.


Luke Coutinho

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