There’s an old jest out there that goes, “what is the worst four-letter word in the world?” the answer is diet. Or maybe you’ve heard this one, “Do you know what diet stands for? Did I Eat That?” Or how about this old gem from Garfield, “Diet is just die with a T.” I could go on, there are a lot of diet jokes out there, but I think you get the point.
Diet is an ugly word, and no one likes to hear it. Most people hear the word and inwardly wince a little. The very word can make us suddenly feel guilty. We shift uncomfortably, thinking of the dessert we ate last night or the pounds we’ve been putting on over the holidays. Somehow, we remember whatever we’ve eaten that we weren’t “supposed” to eat. We remind ourselves that it’s okay, though, because we will start a diet too. Tomorrow.
There seems to be an automatic association between the word diet and what we can’t have. It conjures memories of all the times we have tried and failed to lose the weight. Or the times we did lose weight, but it somehow came back and brought friends with it. Mostly, we seem to connect it with lack. Lack of options, willpower, and success suddenly loom large in our minds.
Occasionally we may find someone who uses the word in a broader sense. They will use the term to indicate all the food that we habitually eat. Often there will be some sort of recommendation that our diet now includes more of this or less of that. In truth, I’m not sure most of us enjoy this version either, but it is, at least, a more comprehensive understanding of the word.
Diet actually encompasses even more than what you eat. It is every single thing you consume. Yes, it’s food, but it’s also the news, music, and entertainment. It’s the friends you hang out with and the conversations you have. It’s everything you take in through every sense you have, including your intuition. It’s the amount of sleep you get and the environment surrounding you. Diet really is everything.
When you expand your definition, you broaden your life. Think about what you want to take in from every part of you. Are these the conversations you want to be having? Are you leaving your friends feeling uplifted and supported? Or do you routinely feel dragged down and unsettled? How much news do you need? I’m not advocating that anyone should stick their head in the sand, but do you need two hours a day from three news sources? Is this feeding you in a healthy way?
Diet is a loaded word because we made it small. We made it about food and what we can’t have, but what if we made it big? What if we made it about what we can have instead of what we can’t? You can change your music. You may have grown up on a steady diet of classic rock, but nothing is stopping you from sprinkling a little jazz in there if it makes you happy. You’ve been enjoying a regular intake of cycle classes for years now, but it could be time to explore a few dance classes. What if we had a diet of fun?
There is something powerful about stopping to examine all that you take in. You may want to make changes in some areas and leave things be in another. Either way is good, but I think it’s important to occasionally ask ourselves if this is what we want to be consuming. If negative people or a cluttered environment surrounds you, you may want to make some changes to those diets. If you delight in the books you are reading or the shows you are watching, those diets may be healthy for you.
Diet doesn’t have to be an ugly word. It can help us create awareness and build mindfulness of all we take into our lives. Consider giving the everything diet a try. You might like it more than you think. I’d love to hear about your journey. Come and join us in The Mystical Kitchen.