Sponsored: Diet is a four-letter word

by DaniGirl on February 2, 2014 · 3 comments

in Reviews, promotions and giveaways

I like it when pitches for sponsored posts align with the ideas rattling around in my head. This is another one of those instances.

Canadian Olympian and mom Silken Laumann worked with Multi-Grain Cheerios on the World Without Dieting campaign. This is the basis of the campaign:

We believe that nutrition is healthier than deprivation and that dieting is harmful to us and to our children. So let’s embrace a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and empower the next generation to do the same by removing the word dieting from our lives and replacing it with words like nourished, strong, and fulfilled.

In this video, Silken tells her young daughter why she thinks “dieting” is a hurtful word.

I like this message. To me, “diet” implies something to which you subject yourself, something you endure, something short term and unpleasant. Although I never framed it in those terms, I do see how dieting can be a hurtful word.

You might remember back a few years ago I lost nearly 30 lbs, and I felt terrific. Since then, my weight has crept back up – doesn’t it always? It’s not as high as it was after I had Lucas, but it is about 10 lbs heavier than I want to be. I’ve been hesitant to go back on the “diet” I was on because it was restrictive and involved a lot of planning and hard work and denying myself things I really like to eat. Instead, I’m trying to bump up my activity level and be much more moderate with things that are yummy but perhaps not quite the best nutritional choice. (Hello, cheddar jalapeno cheesies, I am talking to you!)

Even more of a challenge is watching the eating habits of one of the boys. His metabolism seems to be a little slower and he is disinclined to physical activity, so his weight is starting to creep up. It may well be one of those growth phase things, where he is filling out and about to shoot up in height, but I am still trying to take this opportunity to teach all three of the boys about good nutritional choices without actually restricting what they are eating. All that to say, I’ve been making the same choices that Silken outlines in her video without being consciously aware of it. I’m trying to teach them the best possible every-day eating habits so dieting will never even cross their minds.

What do you think about the whole idea of doing away with the word “diet”? Do we empower ourselves when we take away the power of the word? Does taking away the word take away the problem?

Edited to add: Hmm, I’m having trouble with the embedded video player, are you? You can see the video and take the “never say diet” oath here.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Multi-Grain Cheerios. However, as always, the opinions in this blog are my own.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cinnamon gurl February 22, 2014 at 8:20 am

I don’t know. I think making a word taboo won’t do away with the concept it represents. It will just drive the concept underground and make it yet another source of shame. There are already a host of euphemisms people use to avoid admitting they’re trying to lose weight: ‘watching what you eat,’ ‘getting fit,’ (which I find particularly galling as being thin has nothing to do with fitness and people rarely strive to be fit without also getting thin).

I’m all for doing away with diets. I have intentionally avoided them since I was 17 and I avoid engaging in any conversations about them at work (which is WAY harder than you might think). If I notice someone has lost weight, I never mention it (ever since I lost weight due to months of illness and awfulness and people crowed about how great I looked).

I think to eliminate the damage of dieting we have to do a whole lot of work to make it ok to be fat. Have you heard of the Health at Every Size movement? And fat activism? That’s more where my mind is. We may as well have a word to describe the thing that so many people do, at least until everyone stops obsessing about weight and stops actually dieting.

I think we’d do well to do away with the whole healthy/unhealthy polar thinking. Personally I prefer more nutritious/less nutritious and I use the terms to refer to what’s IN the food rather than what’s not (e.g. nutritious doesn’t have anything to do with the fat, sugar or caloric content of a food)

I hate telling people what to do or giving unsolicited advice, but as someone who was regularly shamed by my family for what I ate and did or didn’t do when I was a kid, I ask you to please be careful with your son. Studies have shown that if someone is told they’re fat (or any other less kind word) they get fatter from the shame. Which then creates more shame; being a fat person today is damned hard.

Ok, I’ve gone on long enough. Apologies — this is a bit of a hot topic for me.

2 Mary @ Parenthood February 23, 2014 at 7:08 am

We talk about healthy choices and “treats” vs “food your body can use”. In addition to mostly choosing quality food, I think it is important for my kids to learn to choose quantity based on their metabolism, and to understand this won’t always be the same depending on age and activity levels. When I was in university, my metabolism slowed down dramatically but I did not adjust my eating habits accordingly. I wish someone had warned me as I didn’t like the result. No one would say I have ever been hugely overweight, but even 15 pounds too much gets tiring to carry around.

3 DaniGirl February 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I just wanted to say that I loved your comment Cinnamon Gurl and it’s nice to see you still hanging around. I don’t accept your apology – there’s no need for it.

I like the phrase “food your body can use” Mary – definitely incorporating that one!

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