Diet is a 4-Letter Word

The psychology of eating

D.I.E.T. is a 4-Letter Word

End dieting and emotional eating for good!

Today marks the first day of my Do or Diet campaign. Of course, my preference is that you DO rather than DIET. As an ode to my new campaign, we are going to examine the word DIET itself, one letter at a time. It’s kind of like Sesame Street – D.I.E.T. style.

The letter of the day is D. What does D stand for?

D is for a Decision you made somewhere along the way that you weren’t ________ (good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, special enough, talented enough). Fill in the blank.

D is for Deprivation – the key to any “successful” diet is depriving yourself of the foods you love, right? Which leads us to our next one.

D is for Denial – Denying yourself _______ (food, love, acceptance).

D is for Dangerous. Many of these extreme diets not only deprive you of calories and set your body into starvation mode, but they also deprive you of nutrients your body needs to carry out its day-to-day functions.

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D is for Disdain – we tend to feel bad about ourselves when we inevitably “fail” on our diet by Diving headfirst into our favorite comfort food. This Disdain and self-loathing is harmful for your body, mind, and spirit.

D is for Disrespect – the more we diet and “fail,” the less we are able to love, cherish, and respect ourselves. Our self-esteem really takes a hit when we make the Decision that we aren’t good enough and need to DIET to somehow “fix” ourselves.

D is for Dismiss as in we don’t trust ourselves anymore. We Dismiss the feelings, thoughts, and intuitions that would lead us down a healthy path.

 

What should D stand for?

D is for Deciding that you are beautiful just as you are. I truly believe this. We all have gifts to share. We all have beauty inside. Learning to love and accept yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your significant other, and your children. Don’t know where to start? To coincide with my Do or Diet campaign, I am launching a Sticky Note Challenge. I hope you’ll join me.

D is for Date – as in making weekly Dates with yourself. We all need some quality “me” time to do the things we truly enjoy. It could be getting a massage, going to see a concert, meditating, or reading a good book. Even just 5 minutes a day or one hour a week can have a fabulous impact on the quality of our lives and our self-esteem.

D is for Dinner – as in I want you to eat healthy, nutritious foods for breakfast, lunch, and Dinner. No skipping meals in some attempt to lose weight. No rules about what you can and cannot eat. And if you need snacks in between because your body is asking for that, then by all means allow yourself permission to eat what you need to when you need to.

D is for Dance or movement of any kind really. We were meant to move. Remember playing? What did you love to do as a child? Get out there and do it! In our culture today the word “exercise” has become loaded and can have such a negative connotation because exercise is often associated with types of movement we don’t actually enjoy. So this is my call to you to find a movement you do enjoy. After years of distance running (which I do love), I broke my heel and haven’t been able to run for over 5 months. So I took up belly dancing – something I’ve wanted to do for a long time that doesn’t have the high impact on my heel that running does. So I’m getting out there and moving and it isn’t “exercise” to me because I’m having a blast!

D is for Dark chocolate. Yep. I am giving you permission to indulge. But don’t just grab a Hershey’s bar. Go for the real stuff, the high quality stuff, the expensive stuff. You’re looking for chocolate that is at least 70% cocao – the higher the percentage of cocao the better. I get the unsweetened stuff – cocao nibs – that’s 100% cocao and toss a handful in my morning smoothie every day. Talk about starting my day off right. :) When I want dessert, I whip up a chocolate pecan date bar. Three ingredients, toss into a food processor, blend until smooth, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Voila! Healthy, quick and easy dessert that’s rich enough that a couple of bites satisfy my craving.

D is for Disappear as in the pounds and your cravings will disappear when you start honoring your hunger and fullness and eating to living rather than to DIET.

D is for Discernment in that you’ll learn how to trust yourself again and be able to Discern what is nourishing and truly good for your soul and what isn’t.

 

What is your D? I never realized there were so many words that start with D! Obviously I just scratched the surface here. So I’d love it if you’d leave a comment below and tell me what your D is and what you’re going to DO to change it.

For more about the campaign, head on over to my website and check out my launch post!

Mary E. Pritchard, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Boise State University.

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