Every time a friend tells me she’s trying a new diet, I want to smack her in the head.
If you’re health-conscious, I’m sure you feel the same way.
Now, while I wouldn’t suggest actually doing that—the results, I’ve found, aren’t great—it’s definitely important to help people who don’t quite understand “health” see what it really means to eat and live well.
They might not thank you, but their bodies will.
Why Dieting is Dumb
“Diet” comes from the Greek word for “useless.” At least that’s what I assume, because that’s what most diets are: totally useless and ineffective.
Diets essentially tell you to eat X for Y amount of time and Z will happen; “Z” is always some outlandish claim like, “You’ll lose eighty pounds!” or “The man of your dreams will appear on your doorstep in a Speedo!”
And they’re always inaccurate. Temporary changes don’t create permanent results.
Being unhealthy is a problem. So is drinking. People with drinking problems make a lifelong commitment to change their behavior; people with health problems need to do the same.
“No Diet” Doesn’t Equal “No Rules”
Don’t misunderstand me: not dieting doesn’t mean eating burgers three meals a day. A healthy lifestyle means having a healthy diet—diet, here, meaning “what you eat.” Sticking to that diet is the most important part.
The Truth About Abs reviews are a great read for people who think crash dieting or 90-day bootcamp workouts are the key to health. The reviews are all from people who started a program (whatever healthy program that may be) , stuck to it, and found results.
Stuck to it, like, forever. Like, that’s how they live now. Because that’s how you get healthy.
Mental Health is Health, Too
If one more of my friends tells me she needs to go on a diet because she’s out of shape… well, you already know what I’m likely to do.
And that’s another myth I need to debunk while we’re on the topic of diets: “out of shape,” what does that mean? I’d like to be a rectangle, but I’m an octagon instead?
Humans aren’t shapes. There’s no “right” body. People who look in the mirror and don’t like what they see often think that eating better and working out will change that.
It won’t. At least not to the degree that they want it to, usually.
If you hate your body, you have deeper problems than poor health. You need to practice some self-love.
Before any one of us can commit to eating well and staying active, we need to feel motivated to do it for ourselves. And if you hate yourself, you’re not likely to feel too motivated.
Try this: every morning, look yourself in the eye in the mirror and tell yourself you’re beautiful. Didn’t work? Do it again. And again. And ten more times, until you believe it.
You’re never going to stick to a healthy way of living if you don’t think you deserve to be healthy. Once you realize how worthy you are, the rest is easy-peasy.
Eat Well and Exercise
That’s all you have to do.
Stop eating fast food. Cut sugar out as much as possible. Limit caffeine and alcohol, and eat a lot of raw foods like fruits and veggies. Incorporate plenty of meat and nuts into your diet, but stick to lean cuts and only buy organic.
And find a physical activity that you love. Running, yoga, spinning, rugby—try everything until something sticks, and then stick with it. Get your friends involved to help you stay motivated to get out there and be active, and take turns trying out each other’s favorite physical activities.
Join a gym, too. Wherever you live, there’s probably weather. And I don’t want to hear anyone whining about how it’s been too cold, rainy, hot or whatever to go running or get on your bike.
The hardest part about working out and eating well is getting started. Once you’ve incorporated both into your routing, you’ll feel better, look better, and live a better life. I promise.