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“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”

By Janet Jones

chicken veggie stir fryI was at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants for lunch the other day when an acquaintance joined me. He carefully ordered his meal to be cooked without any sauces or spices, but had a cup of white sauce with which he sparingly dotted his food – chicken and vegetables. I could tell he was very intentional about this lunch and I admired his desire to make healthy choices. Then came the punch line: “You see I’ve changed my diet. Well it’s not really a diet; it’s a low carb lifestyle.”

Have you noticed this language change? People finally seem to know that diets don’t work but there’s a new code word for restricting an entire category of food: “lifestyle.”

I happen to know that this person has dieted off and on for years, with accompanying weight cycling. He told me that now he had been diagnosed with prediabetes. Sadly, he had concluded that the solution to his blood sugar problem was another diet, masquerading as a “low-carb lifestyle.”

I believe that he is genuinely interested in improving his health. But a diet by any other name is still a diet.

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About the author

Janet Jones is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Belmont, North Carolina. She has over 20 years of clinical experience and is now focused on incorporating mindfulness into her work with clients. Her approach is heavily influenced by research and theories of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and the mindfulness-based contributions by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. She completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class developed by Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts in 2013. With the addition of Am I Hungry? Facilitator Training, Janet is able to bring mindfulness into a very useable and practical application for those struggling in their relationship with food. She practices her own skills of mindfulness through yoga, hiking, play time with her dog, Skip, and daily meditation.

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