Diet is A Four Letter Word: Around the Bonfire

by Gigi Ross on January 23, 2013

Diets. Resolutions. Food fads. Healthy living. What does it all mean to you? Jamie from Minnesota Girl in L.A. is here to tell you what she thinks.

First, today, I feel like a little school girl because it’s that moment you’ve been waiting for –  meaning I am guest posting on KludgyMom!!! I have been such a fan of Gigi’s since I first came onto the blogging scene a little over a year ago so thanks for having me over at your place today.

Second, what’s the topic for today?  Let’s talk Diets, Those Crazy Fads, New Year’s Resolutions, and just eating healthy.

I’m going to start off by saying, “I absolutely hate the name “diet.”  I just hate it.  I also hate the fact that every January, after the holidays, people are instantly wanting to get motivated, eat more healthy, and diet to only find, weeks later, that they’ve already forgotten about their new found self.

So, speaking of that, we’re about 2 1/2 weeks into the New Year.  How many of us have made a resolution of eating healthier, watching our food intake, and/or leading a more healthy lifestyle?  How has that been going?

For me, I made the resolution of putting more produce into my meals.  I almost said diet then erased it because I really hate that word.  Well, have I put more produce into my meals?  When I’m at the grocery store I spend a lot more time in the produce aisles so I chalk that up to being a good thing, however, when it comes to actually making the meals, that’s when it gets harder.

I say about once or twice a week I actually make that good wholesome meal with the produce included.  I’ve also begun baking a bit more and trying out different recipes I never would have tried before with more produce items: Clementines, Red Currants, and more.  So yes, it’s a work in progress.

However, with any change we make, it has to be genuine.  We have to put the effort into it.  We can’t just simply say, “I’m going to work out more,” then never get ourselves off the couch.  Hey, I’ve said those things, I’ve done it too.  It comes down to knowing ourselves, and knowing what motivates us.

The hardest part is that first step: meaning, the actual change.  Once we begin making it a routine, it only gets easier and easier.  But we are human, and we tend to go back to what’s comfortable for us.

A year ago, I did go out and get a gym membership, and I would go about twice a week to the gym just to swim.  I watched as I started I could only do a few laps, but every time I went I pushed myself to do more, and it only got easier until I made the decision to leave the gym.  Needless to say, the last time I went swimming was the day I decided to leave the gym.  See how that works?

So, back to why I hate the word “diet.”  When I hear the term diet, or observe how people treat a “diet,” I tend to go a little batty.  A diet doesn’t mean we go out and starve ourselves nor does it mean we go out and try the newest diet fad.  Those diet crazes drive me batty.  Really?  Is it really healthy to be eating meat three times a day with nothing else?  Is it really healthy to fill ourselves up with a bunch of food one day then the next three days starve ourselves because we’re doing a cleanse?  Is it healthy to cut out all carbs?

See, when we write it out, it sounds just as batty, doesn’t it?  All I’m trying to say is that when it comes to “dieting” and comes to “taking care of ourselves” it’s all about what we’re putting into our systems and portion control.

A few weeks ago I found this awesome quote that said, “Instead of cutting out things in our diet, how about adding in things that are healthier for us?”  Isn’t that the best quote ever?  And that’s what I think a diet should be about; an evaluation of what we are putting into our systems, and reevaluating our portion control.  Are we eating enough produce?  Are we eating the food items that are good for us? Are we going back for seconds every time we have a meal?  Those are the questions we should be asking ourselves instead of cutting out all the bad.

If you like sugar, there should be no reason to torture ourselves by banning it from our systems completely, instead, limit it to one day a week, and on that day, indulge a little.

If you’re like me, and love your carbs, why would you take it out of your system completely?  Again, it’s about recognizing how often you’re eating the carbs, and to limit yourself from having it every day, and begin adding in those healthier options.

So, the next time you tell yourself you’re going on a diet, stop yourself a minute, and ask yourself, how you’re handling it.  Are you cutting everything out, and then weeks later, wondering why you’re so moody because you gave up all the things you loved?

Going on a diet is a way for us to reevaluate our eating habits, our lifestyle, and making the needed changes to lead a healthier lifestyle, not to drive ourselves crazy.


Jamie was born and raised in Minnesota until two years ago when she left it all behind to head to California and give love a chance.  On her blog, “Minnesota Girl in LA” she writes about her adventures around LA, wine, art, photography and the occasional review.  She recently started a food blog entitled “MN Girl Baking” to get her back into the kitchen to explore new ways of baking. 


Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice January 23, 2013 at 5:44 am

Yes. You grasp why “diets” don’t work. By cutting things out completely you only feel deprived and your cravings increase. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a short-term diet. It can be wonderful, flavorful, and absolutely delicious. And it gives you wiggle room to enjoy some of the “bad” things you enjoy without guilt. Moderation. Concentrating on putting good things into your body. You’ve nailed it.

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Absolutely. The “diet” terminology is scary because people take it to the extremes, and much prefer the healthy lifestyle balance.

Jackie January 23, 2013 at 9:02 am

I love this quote… “Instead of cutting out things in our diet, how about adding in things that are healthier for us?”… that totally makes sense! And after time passes we’ll all be eating healthier and the bad stuff will be gone from our lives.

I do go to the gym…. 1. because I paid for it and I don’t want to waste that money! 2. I’m 40… I don’t want to look it! 3. I consider it me time … I can watch a tv show uninterrupted. It’s kinda awesome.

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

And that’s great. When I did go to the gym I did enjoy my time there, and it was pretty relaxing, but I much prefer working out when I’m not amongst so many other people =)

And love that last line you said, “and after time passes we’ll all be eating healthier and the bad stuff will be gone from our lives.”

Holly @ Woman Tribune January 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

I also really hate the word diet, mostly because it’s a word that encompasses our eating habits as a whole, not a word that is supposed to be associated with losing weight, as our culture currently insists on using it.

I was forced to start eating healthier a little over a year and a half ago, when I wound up in the hospital with dangerously low blood sugar (and a doctor who was honestly shocked that I wasn’t in a coma) and was diagnosed with high blood pressure and a heart condition. I was forced to take a long, hard look at everything I was putting into my body, and if I didn’t want to have a heart attack before my 30th birthday, I had to eat healthier, and I had to eat more, which seemed like two completely different things to me at the time. Without me even realizing it, the culture we live in had made me think that being “healthy” and “eating healthy” had a lot to do with eating less, when in fact, a healthy body needs to be fueled by food four to six times a day.

I love how you view eating healthier and healthy bodies, especially when it comes to banning foods from our diet. It does indeed sound batty to cut out all carbs in order to achieve a healthy, or lighter body–especially if you love those carbs! I think health needs to encompass both a healthy body and a healthy mind. By banning foods from your diet completely, and by jumping on the bandwagon of fad diets, you’re changing a lot going on within your body, but a lot of people don’t realize that it also changes a lot going on within your mind.

This was such a great post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on dieting, it was truly refreshing to read.

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Holly, I always appreciate your comments. They’re so well thought out =) Yes, I didn’t even begin to touch on the obsession with weight loss… I have even more I could say on that..

but really, just want people to aim for that healthy lifestyle, and it can include all the things we love in moderation.

Kirstin Rowe January 23, 2013 at 9:49 am

I love this! I hate the word diet as well! I purposely did not make resolutions this year. While I agree adding in healthier foods and limiting the unhealthier foods… I did remove two things from my intake, I removed soda (with a very seldom relapse) and energy drinks! I feel so much healthier for doing it. I have more energy without caffeine than I ever did with it. I have to push myself to add in more produce though, not just for myself but for my family.

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I did remove caffeine from my system too. I understand the complete removal if the items being removed just no longer work for you, and you can actually feel the affects of what those items are doing to your body.

angela January 23, 2013 at 9:57 am

I have to remind myself of this and also remember I don’t want my daughter thinking I am constantly “dieting” as though healthy choices are a periodic or bad thing.

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

And that’s good motivation to look upon. =)

But, again, if we have that healthy lifestyle, people stop viewing what we’re doing as a “diet” but recognize that it is a choice, and the lifestyle that one has chosen. Such a more positive feeling that comes from it!

Raquel January 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

I am with you on the word “diet”, I like to think of it as healthy choices. When I make the choice to eat a salad or go to the gym I inevitably feel better. I agree it is about portion control and balance. For me, that means eating smarter and enjoying a good cupcake or glass of wine once in a while! :)

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Yes! Healthy choices! It’s pretty awesome when we’re in the moment and we realize we’ve stopped ourselves and actually chose the healthier option whether when at the grocery store or eating out at a restaurant. A healthier lifestyle is very much apart of our mind too.

Chris Carter January 23, 2013 at 11:43 am

I also hate the word DIET. I always say that is setting yourself up for FAILURE when you take all the things you love to eat away… Great post!!

Jamie January 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Right? I’m a person of routine, so I know, from past experiences, that if I take everything away at once, I fail every time.

But if I slowly take one thing away and take those baby steps I have success, and I may give in now and again, but when I do, I let it happen, then go back to not having that “one item.”

Mrs. Jen B January 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Yes! I am totally against the idea of “diet”, and am much more in favor of just giving a body what it needs to do its best. It’s taken me a long, long time to get here – and I’m typing this after having just ingested a homemade chocolate croissant and a glass of wine – but it’s much more satisfying, fulfilling and ultimately doable than a diet.

For the record, I also walked over 11k steps today. To offset that croissant. 😉

Jamie January 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm

You totally earned that wine and chocolate croissant…. 😉 YUM!

Alex @ Before The Baby Wakes January 24, 2013 at 12:19 am

I am on the my eleventhousandth diet now. But what I’m doing different is telling myself that this has to be a lifestyle change & that this won’t be a quick fix. And with making my lifestyle changes that has pushed me to make better decisions for my husband & son. So even if we don’t reach the goal of losing a bunch of weight right away we can reach a goal of just having a better lifestyle. Making one less bad decision a day.

Jamie January 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Absolutely. That healthy lifestyle helps make better choices for ourselves, our family, elsewhere. And it’s fun watching that transformation take place.

I hope this time around you have tons of success =)

Melissa Burton January 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I love to see when people embrace healthy eating as a lifestyle instead of a “diet”. As a dietitian, it’s hard to tell people that I hate the word diet. It’s awful.

Looking at eating as a part of a healthy lifestyle is definitely key. I also can’t stand the mind-set of “good” foods or “bad” food or if you’ve been “good” or “bad” if you’ve eaten something. I always ask someone who says they’ve been bad if they’ve poisoned themselves or someone else – when they balk, I tell them it’s food, it isn’t BAD!

Balance, it’s all about balance.

Jamie January 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Totally agree! I bet I could get into an entire discussion with you about this…

But yes, it is about balance, and more than anything, adding in those healthier food options. Like I told you earlier, I am very intrigued in the work that a dietician does. =)

Valerie January 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Exactly! Diets set you up to fail. It’s all about making a lifestyle change to be healthy..



Jamie January 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm

And if it’s important enough to a person, they will make that lifestyle change =)

Rosey January 25, 2013 at 3:19 am

I love the concept of adding healthier foods, instead of focusing on eliminating those we have may be accustomed to, and I think with persistence, the energy and general improvement of our health (from healthy eating) will gradually serve to permanently keep those items in our diets (and continue to seek more healthy foods as well).

Whew…that was a run-on sentence that would not make an English prof. very happy. :) Thanks for the article.

Jamie January 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Definitely. For example, a few months back I gave up caffeine because I saw how it was affecting my body. I was feeling the “effects” so I knew I had to make a change.

Well, I was surprised how easy it was to get up in the morning and get going, and I really didn’t need that caffeine like I use to always think I did.

And my body is so much happier 😉

Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey January 25, 2013 at 11:56 am

Well, the first the letters are D-I-E and that’s how I always felt when I tried any fad diet when I was younger. I stopped making New Year resolutions few years ago and I just promised myself to do the best I can with what I have and it’s working for me :)
Great post, Jamie :)

Jamie January 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I laugh when I see the comment “die” but it is true, and that’s a good way of looking at it too. I just think the term “diet” has taken a negative tone in our society, and people take it to the extreme.

When really, it is meant to be looked upon as to the “foods being put into our system.”

Lady Jennie January 27, 2013 at 2:01 am

I didn’t make any resolutions, but here I find myself needing to make some dietary changes that will last. This is a really good article.

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