A scary word to many people. But in fact, diets are nothing to be scared of because diet doesn’t traditionally mean what you think it does.
The word diet started its life as the Greek word diaita. In its verb form (diaitasthan) it means “to lead one’s life.” It evolved to the Middle English word diete in the 1200’s, but its definition remained mostly the same. Hint: that definition had nothing to do with restricting food, or even with food at all. It simply had to do with the way you live.
If you are a voracious reader, you may subsist on a diet of books. If you are a habitual worrier, your diet may involve relaxation. In the early sense of the word, diet could be anything at all. Physicians would “prescribe” foods, exercise, and hobbies that together would form the diet of your life.
In a more modern sense, we have two main definitions for the word diet:
A food or drink regularly consumed; habitual nourishment
A regimen of eating sparingly, food restriction
Technically, everyone in the world is on a diet because everyone has food and drink that they habitually consume. It may be a diet of donuts or fast food, but it’s a diet nonetheless. Finally, we come to the most popular definition, restriction of food intake. I would advocate that we stop calling these diets and name them what they truly are: sadness weight loss programs.
Your diet is the entirety of your life, not just the food and drink you consume. I would therefore like to prescribe a new diet for everyone–kindness. Add a little kindness to your daily life and see what happens. Instead of restricting yourself, be free and generous with your smiles, laughter, and compassion. Throw out the Keto, Atkins, Slimfast, or whatever other “diet” you subscribe to and try a new way of living instead.