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Is healthy eating now a "diet" in the American culture?

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Old 04-27-2013, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default Is healthy eating now a "diet" in the American culture?

I hear a lot of people remarking, "I can't eat that, I'm on a diet" - this coming from people that aren't on a weight loss diet, but actually just trying not to gain weight. You hear about diets all over the place. I am now hearing children in the 8-10 y/o age range discussing diets. About 6 months ago my niece (8-years-old) was talking with a friend about how the girls in her class had been talking about needing to go on a diet. Also, I see a lot of people that are not differentiating between healthy eating and weight loss diets. My niece goes to me the other day exclaming that her mother put her on a "diet." Of course I knew whatever she was talking about couldn't be how it sounded. So I question it, and her mother told her that she was going to cut back on her sugary afternoon snacks; she's not cutting all sugar out, but she wants her to eat more fruit. And it's not for weight loss, obviously. She eats pretty healthy when it comes to meals, but I think what her mother wants her to learn is that snacks don't just mean junk food. So my niece associates eating healthy with a diet, rather than eating healthy, simply. Anyone else notice these things?
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:06 PM   #2
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It used to be but I don't think it's like that anymore. When I was younger it was indeed like that but back when I was anorexic I saw a lot of healthy eating blogs (And no they didn't disgust me), most were American, and they HATED when people called it a diet. Absolutely were offended. They would constantly say it's a lifestyle. I think it's both and then when the diet (Losing weight) parts done it's just a lifestyle.

Also on this American forum website called bunspace.com (For bunny rabbit owners-which I am-I'm am not an active member anymore) they have this thread and the motto of it is "Make it a habit, eat like a rabbit!" haha

Anyways this is just to my knowledge-maybe older people still do this?
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #3
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I don't know about eating healthy food equating to being on a diet, but what I do know from my 12- and 14-year-old sons is that in their circles, eating healthy food isn't considered "normal". On the rare occasions that we order pizza, they are thrilled that we are eating like "normal" people.

They tell me that classroom surveys have shown that none of the kids at school eat rice with dinner, unless they are Asian or Indian, and that none of the kids eat salad with almost every dinner, like they do.

I don't think my boys feel like they are on a diet, but I know for certain that they feel like our eating habits aren't "normal".
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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I agree with newleaf. Healthy eating is definitely not the norm in our culture by any means, and people (kids especially) notice when we are deviating from the norm. As to whether it's considered a "diet"...yeah, sometimes it is, but not always.
What strikes me is that we live in a society that thinks that tasteless, starchy vegetables (e.g. corn) drenched in butter or fried, packaged fruit snacks 'made with REAL fruit juice!', and brownies with a little bit of spinach hidden in the batter are all 'healthy.' Not by my standards! /end mini-rant
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:32 PM   #5
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Yep, I bought two bottles of water, and a packet of tuna and the cashier asked if I was on a diet. Uhmmmmm
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
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...in moderation is actually pretty good for you. I certainly have it in my salads!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:16 PM   #7
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Eating healthy (whatever that's supposed to mean) is just as much a diet, no more or less than any other way of eating. There are many ways and reasons to make a conscious choice to eat a specific way, and each and every one can be considere "a diet." Weight control (whether it be for weight loss, weight management, or weight gain) is just one (or three to be technical) of those reasons. Also, there really is no "just eating healthy, " because there is no one way of eating (that is diet) that will meet the health needs of every person. Some diet changes are intended to be temporary and some are intended to be permanent, but regardless, it's often more expedient to describe changes as being "on a diet" rather than trying to explain how, why, and for how long the changes are intended to be implemented.

Personally, I think it's high time that more people, not just those who are overweight, care about how they eat. Calling it a diet doesn't make it bad or good, and neither does calling it something else.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:27 PM   #8
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My five year old knows about healthy choices, but that's mainly because I've always been a conscious eater and my ex husband is the exact opposite. Going between the two houses is, I'm sure, very confusing for her.

She had a little tantrum when I refused to buy some kind of boxed macaroni and cheese at the grocery store last week. I showed her the block of cheese and the pasta that I had in the cart, and kept it moving.

I purposely never use the words "on a diet" because that's not what I am. I simply make healthy choices and encourage the same from my family.

For the past month we have been going to double dance classes on Thursdays to get ready for her upcoming recital. What I've noticed is that many of the families go for fast food in that one hour break, and I have been packing dinners (I'm literally the only one!). The other moms even commented to me on the "healthy" foods that I pack.

This Thursday, they want to all chip in and order pizza. I am on the fence about it. I don't mind my daughter eating pizza once in a while (and we usually make it ourselves), but I'd rather save an ordered in pizza for a day when we can be home, eating pizza together as a special treat and/or lazy day for mommy. At the same time, I don't want her feeling left out.

I guess I'm just surprised at how often people eat takeout/fast food. I grew up with that kind of food being occasional, not weekly! My daughter and I have busy weekdays, but I still make sure to put plans into place so that we don't have to rely on too many packaged or restaurant foods. It saves our wallets and our health.

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Old 04-30-2013, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchy View Post
I guess I'm just surprised at how often people eat takeout/fast food. I grew up with that kind of food being occasional, not weekly!
Same here. I'm not saying that we never ordered pizza, maybe once a month or every other month.

I've noticed a majority of people in the office either eat frozen bricks or fast food. There are a few who, like me, bring their lunch and going out to eat is a rare treat.

The other day a co-worker was telling me about a recipe because I had commented that her lunch smelled really good. She ended with the comment "it's diet friendly." That part hacked me off, 1) she assumed I was on a diet because I was fixing an egg white omelet, but I'll probably still eat them when I get to goal (she was right, I am trying to lose weight, but still ) and 2) come on lady, I'm smart enough to know what healthy ingredients sound like despite being overweight *sheesh*. (I know, she didn't mean any harm)

Wow, guess I needed to get that off my chest, haha!

Anyway, I agree with the poster who said something to the effect of, actively trying to lose weight to me is a diet. When I'm done, I'm adapting to my new lifestyle...my old one wasn't working out so well for me
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:46 PM   #10
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I've been putting a great deal of thought into what we're teaching children when it comes to diet. I don't have kids, but I'm very close to my nephews. I've been working at losing weight and changing the way I eat for 9 months now. I know what killed my dad, and I know that in theory, I want my own children to grow up loving and craving veggies and fresh cooked food. Yet, I "treat" my nephews with pizza and sugary smoothies, and I've been known to sneak them treats even when they haven't eaten their healthy supper. I don't want them to have to start from scratch at 27 like I did, and I don't want them thinking that a plate of lean meat and veggies is diet food, but at the same time, I almost feel like they'll be missing out on something.

Of course they're not my children, their mother feeds them healthy meals, and I'm not sneaking them pizza every day. But it's been on my mind a lot since I started getting my weight under control. I'd like them to have a better handle on food and more knowledge and control than I had.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:21 PM   #11
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I've been putting a great deal of thought into what we're teaching children when it comes to diet. I don't have kids, but I'm very close to my nephews. I've been working at losing weight and changing the way I eat for 9 months now. I know what killed my dad, and I know that in theory, I want my own children to grow up loving and craving veggies and fresh cooked food. Yet, I "treat" my nephews with pizza and sugary smoothies, and I've been known to sneak them treats even when they haven't eaten their healthy supper. I don't want them to have to start from scratch at 27 like I did, and I don't want them thinking that a plate of lean meat and veggies is diet food, but at the same time, I almost feel like they'll be missing out on something.

Of course they're not my children, their mother feeds them healthy meals, and I'm not sneaking them pizza every day. But it's been on my mind a lot since I started getting my weight under control. I'd like them to have a better handle on food and more knowledge and control than I had.
I make chicken nuggets, meatballs, and macaroni and cheese that are at least half vegetable. We make pita or tortilla pizzas, quesadillas, almond milk smoothies and even banana ice cream.

I have never really considered that I'm depriving my child of foods because I just couldn't imagine what else she would want to eat. I find the best way to give her the nutrition that I think is important coupled with the taste that she wants - exactly what I do for myself. While every once in a while I fry wings or eat some chocolate, it's all a balance.

Below are links to some of how my daughter likes her foods. If the protein portion of her meal is already made with incorporated veggies, then I just add one more veggie and usually a starch to make a plate. Usually we eat separate meals just because she doesn't like the "one bowl meals" that I love to eat (with the exception of my incredibly-veggie rich chili which she eats with tortilla chips), and she usually eats much earlier than I do.

http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/4342583-post20.html
http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/4342588-post21.html
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:36 PM   #12
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I think to a large extent it HAS become that in American culture. I have not been on a "diet" at all to lose these 81 (well now 91) pounds but just started eating healthful organic whole foods. But I get comments from people all the time about my "diet"
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:52 AM   #13
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I think the word "diet" itself has become such an ugly word. It's defined as the foods that a person consumes on a regular basis but, somehow, it has become associated with restriction and weight loss. I never claim to be on a diet, & it bothers me when people say that I am. I'm not "dieting," I eat healthy, nutritious, minimally processed foods. I think that healthy eating is definitely trendy right now, for better or for worse. With diets like clean eating & paleo, and chain stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, I think that "health food" is becoming more popular.


I've known too many girls who had their mother's or older sister's destructive weight/body issues forced on them, causing them to be insecure, self-conscious & obsessed with staying thin. It's so sad to me that little girls are so critical of themselves and feel that they have to lose weight to have value. One day when I'm a mother, I will make sure to be very careful about how I talk about myself, my body, & food in general. I won't obsess about being healthy, but I will make sure my children understand that taking care of themselves through nutrition & exercise is part of loving themselves. I'll shut up now, because I could go on about this forever.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:11 PM   #14
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Thanks for the links Munchy!

I think the issues that I have stem from the extremely bad relationship I've always had with food, and I hope to have that completely under control by the time I have kids of my own. As for the nephews? Their mom takes splendid care of them and feeds them well.

My boyfriend is supposed to eat paleo to counteract the yeast issues caused by his heartburn meds, and to eventually wean off all of his meds. My brother in law is a diagnosed Celiac, and my Father in law is a cardiac patient, so at those family gatherings, we get a lot of snark from the extended family about our "special requirements" (Neither I nor my bf have ever asked for anything specific, and my brother in law is not demanding, but my mother in law bends over backwards for all of us, and I love her for it). After the last go around about our "special requirements", I finally told the one aunt that my "restrictive diet" Allows me all the fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese I want. I have bread sometimes, pasta sometimes. I even have Mcdonalds sometimes. Yes, I chose not to have any candied apple salad. And yes, I don't want my bf eating things that make him sick. But to treat us like it's a quirk or a fad or we're attention seeking is really disrespectful.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:24 PM   #15
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I hear a lot more people talking about "clean eating" than using the word "diet". So many people around me are cutting out sugar and processed foods. I don't hear many people saying that they're on a diet and I try really hard not to use that word.
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