Do we make decisions based on the opinions of others, which can be easily changed by their suggestions or do we make informed decisions and stand firm in them so that pressure and suggestion don't "toss us about like the waves of the sea"? (Eph.4:14)
What does "diet" mean to you? Is it a short term goal or a way of life?
- (Noun) The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
- (Verb) Restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight: "it is difficult to diet in a house full of cupcakes."
In trying to be purposeful about not pushing my diet on anyone and not shouting to the hills or getting all crazy about it, I've been listening more. It seems as if everyone is ON a diet (verb) instead of choosing a diet (noun).
I'd like to settle into noun. I'd like my "diet" to be stable, defined and comfortable - for me. No more diets (verb) of temporary fluctuation, doing this "for now" with the intention of changing it all again later when I get to my goal. I am making a conscious choice to be as intentional with my food as I am with other things in my life. When I make big decisions I do my research, I see if it lines up with my moral compass, my philosophy and approach to life. I shared not too long ago that I cancelled weight watchers, stopped measuring or counting.
My life choice is to eat a plant based diet. I will eat when I'm hungry, avoid animal products and oils will only be used sparingly during cooking. Will this potentially slow down my weight loss? Probably...but what is my main, "big picture" intention? Health. I feel amazing! My body is getting smaller and feels more healthy. I feel stronger and have more energy than I have in a decade or more. My food choices no longer cause panic and the risk of reaction has dropped to nothing. You can't change the ingredients in a tomato or lettuce! If the weight slows down, I'm okay with that because slow is better than nothing. There will be ups and downs sure but overall a bump in the road is nothing compared to the overall direction of how healthy I feel. Over the course of my life I suspect that my weight will continue to drop slowly and eventually stabilize out to where I should be. If I want to lose more, then I should move more.
Plant Based, Atkins, eat for your blood type, Mediterranean, cabbage soup, calorie counting, low carb, high carb, low fat, high protein, Vegan, Vegetarian, Slim Fast, Slimgenics, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Med Fast......it's no wonder people are confused! These are all labels, descriptors of how we choose what to eat and why....but I think we've stopped asking why and just said "okay, whatever you say."
None of them say the same thing! There are so many labels and some are moderately defined or so individual they carry no meaning. Others are programs based on restriction and other programs....well they kinda blow my mind. "Don't eat that banana but here, eat this packet of powder." All in the name of weight loss....not health....but if we were eating REAL food in healthy portions we wouldn't need to lose weight in the first place. There are redeeming qualities in a lot of programs but I'm coming to the conclusion that they all have the same flaw - they are temporary.
Yesterday our daughter (16) and I got into a conversation about food.....I don't remember what she asked but it started this conversation about diets, nutrition, the differences between vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian/plant based, protein needs and food in general. I started to have trouble answering questions, I never want to answer questions incorrectly (and teens talk so darn fast!), so I suggested that she watch Forks Over Knives because it would answer more clearly some of what she was asking. We would both have the same information and be able to have a conversation more easily about her questions. I wasn't equipped with the clinical answers and didn't want her to get the idea that this was a "fad diet" but that there was a great deal of research done about it. Regardless of what her opinion was at the end of the film, I was interested in what she thought.
So we watched it together and she asked lots of questions during the movie. At the end she said "I think I want to be pescatarian. I LOVE fish, I don't think I could give it up but the rest....I could do that." She followed it up with making a bold statement on FB about adopting a whole foods, plant based diet and eating fish. I expected interesting conversation but not that she would make this bold decision. What and how I eat has been a topic of conversation for years...she always has good questions and is curious. Last weekend it was about what vegan meant and was I a vegan.
I explained that I wouldn't call myself a vegan. The term is attached to a political/activist view point. I don't approve of the mistreatment of animals but animal rights has nothing to do with why I don't eat them. I don't care that they have a face or a mommy...some of the tastiest animals are pretty darn cute and I am not giving up my leather boots. (Don't shoot me.) I don't eat them because I feel so much better NOT eating them. Frankly I don't believe we were originally created to eat meat. My base line for eating a plant based diet is health, original design and the reality that most of my life I haven't felt good in my own skin. Some of that is weight, some of that is physical injury but most of that is illness. I still have weight to lose to increase that comfort factor but what I started for vanity has merged into wellness and health for my body...and my mind (sure there is vanity tossed in there as well...lets be real). I have made myself clear to her that this is HER decision, she will not receive any pressure or critique from me. Help on the other hand is available in abundance - but she needs to ask, and I'll help equip her with recipes and knowledge to merge into this as easily as she can. NO negativity or criticism about choosing to still eat fish. Its her choice and as she learns she may change her mind, but its hers to change. In the long term I think at the very least making a decision like this is a wonderful step of independence and will carry lots of lessons in making choices that aren't necessarily popular and how to stand your ground when others who don't understand your choices try to push you to conform to what they want for themselves. She's growing into such an interesting, intelligent and amazing young woman. I am so proud to be in her life!
Do you think about why you do the things you do? Why you eat what you eat? Do you care?
Blessings of firm ground to stand on and strength to stand against the crashing waves,