People often misinterpret my decision to not partake in the potato salad at a barbeque, or eat a slice of pizza at a party, as a sign that I am “on a diet”. So, when I respond that I’ve simply made a decision to not allow those foods into my body on a regular basis—if it can be helped—they respond in a perplexed manner.
Some say, “good for you, but there’s no way I could do it”, or the more flattering version, “if I had you’re figure, I wouldn’t worry about a slice or two of this or that”. Well, as nice as the latter statement is to hear, it belies a common misconception about living a healthy lifestyle—that it’s a temporary fad, and not a life decision.
It’s easy to latch on to a fad diet, a miracle pill, or a detoxification program and say that you’re making a move towards losing weight, but being healthy is not about weight-loss, it’s about choosing to make your body into something more sustainable over the long haul.
Personally, I stay away from red meat, eschew caffeine and coffee, and eat a diet that is as plant-based as possible (meaning lots of fruits and veggies, and very little—if any—processed foods). That’s how I’ve chosen to live my life at this point—that works for me.
Is that a diet? No…it’s my lifestyle choice.
The one thing I always hope to do when someone honors me with a question about what I do to stay fit is try to educate them with the things I’ve learned along the way first. And while I am by no means an expert, I try to give the most accurate information I can. In the end, however, it’s about what works for you.
My family isn’t forced to eat what I eat—mostly because they still don’t dig soy as a substitute for chicken or almond milk as a better option than a cow’s—but I do make sure they get the best of my world and theirs by offering them whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and the healthiest snack options available—with a few treats here and there.
In time, as they are introduced to more and more of the foods that pepper and sustain me, they come to enjoy them as much as I do—albeit accompanied by what they call “real food” as well.
It all goes back to making choices.
Diets are temporary. They’re great for looking good at your class reunion or fitting into a great outfit for a special occasion but, in the end, to live healthy you have to be committed to something bigger. And once you are, your life will change—hopefully for the better.