What Is A Diet? What Is Our Relationship With It?

6 minutes

What does the word ‘Diet’ mean? How has it suddenly in the last decade gained so much popularity? Why are there so many ‘Dietitians’ across the country today?

What Does DIET mean?

The word ‘Diet’ means, the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats: example, a vegetarian diet. In this sense, it means a collective item of foods that one eats to sustain. And this is how it was originally perceived till about 50 years ago. However, the newer, more popular meaning of this word is a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. Example, “I’m going on a diet“.

Today, when somebody says the word ‘diet’, there are specific pictures that come up in one’s head, like fresh vegetables and fruits, more water, green tea and so on. So what has changed between then and now? It’s the variety of available foods and the increasing amount of consumption. The amount of food intake, the various reasons one eats different kinds of food today and the health alerts.

Influence Of Media On DIET

One of the biggest influences on our eating habits and the way it affects us today is the media. We have learnt through various movies, TV shows, magazines and other sources about what kind of food to eat, when to eat, and how it should make us feel.

Celebrities shown in movies, which we quite relate to, are shown eating fancy cakes, muffins, pasta, pizza, burgers, ice creams and so on. It gets our attention and we want to follow the trend. Through some of the same sources and through our early experiences, we have also learnt to eat these foods when we are feeling ‘Low’. I’m sure everybody remembers Sonam Kapoor eating that basket of ice cream and crying on the couch after her heart broke in the movie Aisha. That is what I did most of the times when I was low, thinking this is how I can deal with my emotions and also thought it was cool.

Contemporary Lifestyle Is An Important Factor

Today, fine dining has become such an integral part of most of our lives. There are people, who only eat outside and live on fancy food on weekends. Most working people, who live alone, don’t have the time to cook their meals and prefer to order food from restaurants and eating joints. All these and many more reasons have made us ignore our health.

We are so busy, or pretend to be busy sometimes that we choose to not take care of our health. But then, what about our image? We have a social image to maintain! We want to look beautiful/handsome and sometimes hot/sexy. We want to wear the best of clothes, accessories and flaunt ourselves. But wait a minute, when we don’t have time to take care of our health and fitness, how then can we keep up with this image?

That’s when we think about diets. That’s when we want a quick fix. When there is a party or a wedding approaching, or birthdays and bachelorettes. And sometimes in extreme health cases when the doctor tells us we have to take care of food habits or we could get an illness or even die!

Brittle Motives Behind Our DIET and Exercising

Most of us tend to diet or even exercise for that matter only when we feel we want to look good. We know we want that dress for the party and it requires us to lose a few inches. So we are suddenly aware of all the foods we are eating, our refrigerator finally gets to meet the most exotic fruits and vegetables, our study is filled with various books on weight loss and so on. And this goes on for a few weeks till the big day arrives. And once that’s done, we have worn the dress and felt good about the compliments we’ve collected at the party, it’s all suddenly stopped. Some of us still continue for another week or two to feel less guilty. But eventually it does stop. But why does it have to?

The answer to this is simple. We don’t diet for our fitness and health, rather to fit into that beautiful dress and keep up with our social image. It is becoming increasingly important to take care of our health today, as our lifestyles are getting hectic and we are getting unhealthy. And this gets us to realise that the food we eat has a direct impact on our health. In this age and day, we encounter a number of deficiencies in our bodies. Most Indians are deficient in vitamin D and B. These are some of the most important immunity building materials required for our body. Potassium is found low and sodium is found high in most of us today. Water, which is so important, is consumed at such a low frequency. These can lead to severe health problems in the future such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cardio vascular diseases, obesity etc. Hence it is very important, that we have food rich in vitamins and minerals needed for our body.

We all want to look beautiful and attractive. But an important fact about beauty is that it reflects through our eating habits. So eating a well-balanced and a healthy ‘diet’ is not only going to keep us physically healthy, but also going to make us look younger and more desirable. So it’s a better deal and a win-win situation. Let’s focus on our eating habits today, and live a better life.

Anushri Shah

Anushri Shah is a creative, energetic and positive counselling professional having a compassionate and insightful attitude, with a skill set of active listening, empathy, and goal focused problem solving over 2 years of experience in areas of child, family and parental counselling, Expertise in holistic development of children/adolescents and adults through planning and implementation of case specific therapeutic strategies, using therapy applications of CBT, REBT, Play Therapy and testing for IQ, Personality, Interest etc if and when required..