Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diet vs. Diet

My kids have been asking me lately, "What does 'diet' mean?" In an attempt to steer clear of the connotation associated with the multi-million dollar weight loss industry, I say something along the lines of, "A diet is what kinds of food you eat. For example, a bear typically has a diet of berries, fish, or other meat." To which they respond, "NO! What does it mean to be on a diet?"

Why the heck are they asking me this? For all my concerns about weight, exercise, and healthy eating, I don't think that I have uttered the phrase "on a diet" since high school. Or college, maybe.

I have tried - with some success - to change my family's eating habits for good. I set my feet squarely in the camp with people who say that there is no such thing as a diet - it has to be a lifestyle change. However, I sometimes still try to get that quick weight loss by following a more stringent diet plan. I usually end up going back to the Fat Resistance Diet, which is founded on a philosophy that I understand and agree with. But the truth is that I really don't like the food. So, why is it that, not only do I have to deny myself the stuff that I love (like Frosties from Wendy's, which I had just last night), and then force myself to eat stuff that I hate?

Here's a snapshot of the Fat Resistance Diet:

Breakfast: Smoked Salmon Frittata, Slim Chai Tea, decaf coffee with skim milk, fresh orange

Fish for breakfast? Not a chance. Not even when I was living in the Philippines was I forced to eat fish for breakfast!

Slim Chai Tea: This is green tea with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.

I hate tea.

I mean, I really despise tea. (Please don't tell my mother-in-law - she's British.) I have politely tried to like it, but to no avail. I am a coffee drinker, through and through. Forcing myself to drink tea is like forcing a hockey player to compete in a figure skating competition. (Yes, I know this was done in the movie "The Cutting Edge", but I'm talking reality here.)

And then, the coup de grace: decaf coffee with skim milk. Might as well substitute the swill from my garbage disposal for as much enjoyment as I'd get from that. It would be like going to my favorite restaurant, ordering Prime Rib, and being served a single McDonald's chicken nugget. Yeah, it's that bad.

But I don't want to be inflexible. I could probably cut my coffee intake a bit, and possibly switch to fat free 1/2 & 1/2. I can eat a frittata for breakfast with lots of veggies. And I've gleaned some great things from the Fat Resistance Diet - even my children like the smoothies made with plain yogurt, blueberries, protein powder and flax seed.

I think it's a matter of adding the foods we like (or at least foods we can tolerate and hopefully learn to love), and finding healthier alternatives to what we already eat. The best part is that my husband is finally on board - it was he who suggested that we have salads every night and vary them throughout the week.

But I will never learn to like tea.

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