The Diet Dilemma


Today, we talk about the word diet.


What it means? How it is used?

How to reframe the word diet?


And, as always, in our new season structure, I will be fielding health questions from the week.

Main Segment


Let’s talk about a famous word. It is used all, too often, but is vital to our daily life. The word is diet!

(Sighs) This word. It kills me a lot of the time. I find that it gets used way out of context, way too much. I even find that health and fitness professionals use the word wrong a lot.


Even more of a problem is that the word diet often comes with a negative connotation. It is not used favorably. It is almost as if it brings up hidden emotions or triggers lost feelings…which now that I think of it, can be true.

Well, what is a diet? A diet is the kind of food that a person or a community (society) habitually eats. This is the day-to-day, week-to-week eating habits a person carries. If a person eats fruit every day, that is a part of their diet. If a person eats out twice per week, that is a part of their diet. If a culture eats fast food a lot, in becomes a part of their culture’s habits, and diet. I think you are seeing where I am getting at. I am sure some of you listening may be nodding your head, or some of you may be cocking it to the side perplexed.

Some of you are saying, you are right coach! Some are saying, that is not what I know a diet as. Well, in any case, our (American/Western World) society, a diet is something you go on. It is a change of the norm. Sadly, we often associate diet with unhealthy or poor tasting food.

Why did we develop these thoughts about the word “diet”? I believe It comes from the push on reaching an ideal body type. We can argue that this was media-driven to look like models or pursue an image that is relatively unattainable. It can also be argued that there is an obesity epidemic plaguing the United States (and Western World countries); which there is. The increase in body size, weight gain, and negative biometric readings have caused a big influx of quote-unquote “diets”. People are wanting to achieve health and fitness, and often want it to happen all too quick. Because people cannot reach health and fitness goals quickly (or simply do not know how), they give up, and that negativity of failure sticks with them.

Listen, people want easy. I completely understand! The “thinking” step is what turns most people off, especially when they are stressed. Also, people stay away from the things they are not good at. It avoids failure or looking dumb. There is a huge stigma on failing and looking like a fool. The social criticism seems to be worse that the unhealthy risk factors that are present. Ironically, people would rather lead an unhealthy lifestyle than fail in the pursuit of fitness in front of peers. That is perplexing!

The word diet brings back those negative feelings of failure, and/or a complete change to the lifestyle they lead that they feel it is too difficult a jump.

So, let’s reframe the word diet. Remember, a diet is what a person eats consistently, and this can be healthy or unhealthy, or a mix of both. Let’s change the diet word context. Instead of saying I am going on a “diet”, let’s say I am “Changing my eating patterns”. Diet versus Eating Pattern Change. What a difference already.

The reason most people fail at “diets” or behavior changes is because the change is too drastic. Change needs to be gradual, and there needs to be purpose behind it. Small, simple changes are easier to keep, and when momentum builds and success is reached, the continuation of positive habits can be almost drug-like addicting.

So, Coach, how can we affect our behavior change positively and improve our health? That is a great question. This is psychology 101! I will outline basic behavior change and decision-making.

The first step in any decision is understanding ourselves and how we can relate to the decision-making process.


There is a Behavior Change Theory that has long been accepted and used as a base for many behavioral studies completed by researchers. The theory breaks down behavior change into five stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

Precontemplation is often considered the “denial” stage, or the stage we do not even recognize where there is a need for a change. Contemplation is when the problem is recognized and defines, and needs are opening discussed. No action is taking place. The third stage is preparation. This is what everyone needs to do. This is gathering all the information that is necessary to make a choice. The Preparation stage is the stage where most “dieters” or those wanting an “Eating Pattern Change” get lost or hit a roadblock. This is the thinking step. The preparation is always the hardest part.

The preparation step reminds me a of a quote by Benjamin Franklin: “Those that fail to prepare are preparing to fail”. The preparation stage sees no results, no end, no accomplishment. This puts doubt into people’s minds. The change is scary and without a concrete reward to be seen, many give up.

The fourth stage is action. This is taking the information and creating steps to achieve the end-goal. For “dieters” this is menu planning, writing out the week’s meals, counting macros, counting calories, making a schedule, doing meal prep. The action takes a lot of work and is a result of your prepared plan from stage 3. Again, there is no long-term accomplishment so many will give up.

The final, and fifth stage, is Maintenance. During this stage, people work hard not to go back to previous behaviors, or addicting behaviors. For dieters, this is avoiding junk food, or sugars, snacks, or alcohol, or overeating at get-together, or getting away from the workout plan. It takes 30 days to create a new habit, and often 6 months to overcome an addiction of some sort. For those that have lived a relatively unhealthy lifestyle, it can take years to overcome such habits.

In a world where instant gratification dominates, changing eating patterns can be exceedingly difficult! The negativity revolving around the word “diet” is easily understandable when it comes to the psychological breakdown of the word from a personal standpoint.


This topic could be a days’ long podcast! Behaviors are studied every day and still there is no solving of the problems that are presented! I implore you to self-reflect on your eating habits, or your eating patterns, and decide if there is something you would want to change or improve. Define the purpose as to why you want to make that change (this can be kids, family, personal health, weight loss, biometric numbers, energy level, whatever you want it to be), and start looking into how you can make a change. Read, do research, learn! Be a lifelong learner about how to always improve yourself! Once you are ready, make a few actions steps and complete them daily. Do this gradually! Keep it simple! Build the small behaviors over time and work to make it a lifelong habit.

By reframing your mindset, and doing incremental changes, you will see your perception of the word “diet” change! There is a whole new world when we allow ourselves a change in perception. It becomes a change in our reality!

Guest Segment: Coach Personal Interview – Give Guests a Glimpse of Personality

1) Favorite Food or Recipe?


Macaroni & Cheese. Cheese is my kryptonite. Also Love Steak (Prime Rib) and Lobster)


2) Favorite Sport?


Ice Hockey. Great life lessons and most all friends, and every life accomplishment I can relate back to the sport of hockey.


3) Favorite Exercise? Recommended sets?


Really getting into DB Swings, High Pulls, and Snatches. They work on explosion in the hips. I have really noticed a difference in walking, running, and mobility since doing them. I do them in 5 sets of 5 for each arm.


4) Best advice from a coach that sticks with you?


I really cannot think of advice, but more that I remember being told what I could not accomplish as a player, and then I used that to accomplish everything I did athletically (in the grand scheme it really was not much). Being told I cannot do something or holding a low expectation of me is the worst thing most people can do to me.


5) Topic in high school or college that wish you learned more about?


Finance, investing, and the market. There are so many wealth building tools out there that do not get taught to young people and leaves them scrambling for retirement info later in life.

Health Questions of the Week


Now, I will turn to one of my favorite segments, the health questions of the week! I get a ton of questions throughout the week from students and fellow colleagues a like and I love sharing my knowledge, or what I have of the topic with you.

1) How many times a day should I be eating if I am highly active with sports?


There seems to be conflicting “rules” out there about how much you should eat in a day. We are taught three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), some say two meals with a 16-hour fast, others say 1 large meal in a four-hour window. Finally, some will say eat 5-6 small meals a day. Anyone that preaches one as more valuable than another probably has something to sell. Stick to eating when you are hungry. Eat a healthy-balanced meal with copious amounts of protein and whole foods to build the body tissues that are wrecked by activity. Stay away from processed foods. Follow those rules and you can eat when you want for an active body.

2) What source of protein is the best for you?


The simple answer is animal products. Beef, pork, chicken, seafood. Typically, most 3.5 oz servings of each will back a punch of 20-25 grams of protein. Seafood, in particularly shrimp and tilapia offer the greatest amounts of protein to fat ratio. There is next to zero fat with those seafoods. They are lean and packed with protein. Downside, seafood tends to be pricier, especially the further you get from water sources (lakes/oceans).

3) How much water is recommended per day?


Water in the one nutrient most people do not get enough of! You can get water from your food, but it is still best to drink a ton also! I did a blog post about water this past spring, you can find it at my site whatscookingwithcoach.com. The quick answer is 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters of water (almost 1 gallon) for Men, and 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters of water (about ¾ Gallon) for Women. Extra water will improve digestive processes and suppress hunger. Get out and drink more water.

I hope you all learned something new or that these questions may have triggered some new thoughts in your mind. If you have any health-related questions feel free to drop me a line on twitter, handle is @CoachMetea, or email me at Kristopher.metea@gmail.com. Contact information is also on my site. The link can be found attached to this podcast page.

Closing

That is all the time we have for today! I want to thank you for joining me on What’s Cooking with Coach?! I hope you enjoyed the podcast. Be sure to tune into the next episode in two weeks! If you wish to send feedback please do so by e-mail Kristopher.metea@gmail.com

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Thank you for joining me! Enjoy the Journey of this crazy thing we call life! Have a great day!


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