I can’t tell you how many times I’m out eating with my friends and someone inevitably brings up the topic of my diet. “Diba you don’t eat much rice? Don’t you eat only healthy food? So you don’t have dessert? Or you eat sweet/fatty stuff because you’re gonna burn it anyway?”
The word “diet” simply means the sum of food consumed by a person or organism. You can be on a weight-loss diet or a weight-gain diet or a maintenance diet; whatever you eat, that’s your diet.
The diet puzzle has been something I’ve been trying to solve for years, especially when I started battling weight problems in university. I’ve counted calories, gone vegetarian, gone low-carb… But one thing has always remained constant: I LOVE FOOD!
Like most Pinoys, food isn’t just something you put into your mouth and swallow to make your tummy stop grumbling. Food is an integral part of celebrations, family gatherings, social events, etc. Food is also a valued resource; not clearing your plate is wasteful and in my family it was always a source of pride when a growing kid finished their food.
Unfortunately, at some point I stopped growing vertically, and started growing horizontally. I turned to exercise to burn the excess calories from the food I consumed, and that worked for the most part when I was younger. But it’s been a real task to balance the slowdown of metabolism that happened in my late twenties, the increase in physical activity due to taking up running and triathlon, and what kind and how much food I eat. The balance is dynamic, not static, so I constantly have to be self-aware of my food choices and how those may affect my body. I’m not just thinking of body shape now; I’m also thinking of performance.
Quality and quantity of food were the two main things to consider. When I started noticing how the “bad” foods (highly processed stuff) made me feel sluggish or bloated, and how the “good” foods (whole, freshly-prepared stuff) made me perform better, it became easier to make better food choices. But I also had to re-train myself to stop being gluttonous and to eat just until I was satisfied, not bursting-at-the-seams full.
It doesn’t mean I eat only the “good” foods. Eating is not just a way to fuel our bodies; it is also an intense sensory experience — sight, smell, taste. Why not enjoy it? And so I appreciate a sweet treat every now and then.
almond butter by Made by Max is an all-natural sweet treat
Sometimes, in a weight- and body-obsessed society we see food as The Enemy. But it’s not. Food is a tool, and it can be turned to good or bad depending on how we use it. Food is meant to be enjoyed, savored, and even shared. It’s kind of like love… ;)
Yes, all these pictures are of dishes I ate and enjoyed.