The Trouble with Diets

I’m a dessert girl, a biscuit loving, eat strawberry cheescake ice cream on a regular basis with a side of hot green tea type girl. (Hot tea and ice cream? Weird but delicious don’t judge). My preferred diet would include pasta or rice at least 5 days a week. I am a  proud Carb eating fool who yes, also happens to be a fitness instructor. I do limit my Carb intake but I’ve decided to abandon using the phrase “go on a diet” not only because it’s a complete oxymoron but I’m starting to see how much this phrase can be misconstrued. I Do watch what I consume because the only parts of my body that ever gain any weight is my butt and thighs. So unfortunately , while I would love to eat biscuits, cinnabuns and crescents every morning, if I were to perhaps take more then a day off at the gym my butt would explode to stripper status. Why do I have such a beef with the phrase “on a diet”? Well first and foremost, anything you consume is part of your diet so you can’t simply go “on a diet”, you can however engage in dieting which is when you actively select certain food to control weight. The reason why I feel there needs to be a strict distinction between the two words and why the trend of using the phrase should disappear is because its giving a lot of people the wrong idea about proper weight loss. If you burn more calories then you are consuming, unless you have a medical issue, you WILL see a difference in your physique after some time. You can still enjoy butter or sugar or bread and still lose weight. You can still enjoy three hearty meals a day and still lose weight. And yes you can still drink your delicious, sugary, fattening mojitos and cosmos on the weekend and still lose weight. However, all in MODERATION. I indulge just as much as the next girl but if I didn’t pay attention to eating sweets or bread in moderation, my class attendees would see a whole lot of jiggling going on. I think in terms of a proper diet, the distinction should be more towards the choice of healthy ingredients and proper consumption rather then the lack of consuming food altogether. I know plenty of people who attempt to lose weight by skipping meals altogether because this constitutes as going “on a diet”. And as a true friend and passionate fitness instructor, I properly respond with ” Girl you better eat!”.

You should NEVER be hungry whatsoever and never skip a meal. The common comment my mother and I like to use is “I don’t need it” and we tend to use this when we’ve eaten enough junk food or sweets for the day. However this comment should never be made to justify skipping a meal in the name of weight loss.

I grew up on home cooked meals comprised of seasoning, meat and bread. The three main food groups right? I don’t eat fast food very often, mainly because I don’t have the taste for it too much and I have a paranoia about wasting money. However, I do love eating out at restaurants and yes I know technically they’re the same thing but let’s admit one sounds so much better. My point is, I LOVE food, food and I go way back and if people prefer to eat chopped lettuce with some tomatoes and a side of celery and consider that lunch, that it completely cool with me. But I don’t like it when people think that a malnourished salad is the only thing they can eat in order to lose weight. No love, so far from the truth. I haven’t tried any weight loss supplements (completely against them), I haven’t tried diet plans, Weight Watchers or everyone’s home girl Jenny Craig but I have been able to maintain a healthy weight of 115-120 without resorting to extreme dieting. I exercise, I eat fruit, vegetables and I try to avoid eating bread more then twice a day BUT in addition to all this I still allow myself to enjoy a hamburger or fries without guilt tripping. The only time I “watch” my weight is when the skinny jeans aren’t looking too skinny anymore but other then that I don’t worry too much about it if I’m teaching fitness classes on a regular basis. I don’t have to watch my weight because I know I don’t sit around the house and eat all day and neither should anyone else. Don’t get me wrong I’m not model skinny, and if I wanted to be this would be an entirely different post. Prior to becoming a fitness instructor, I was more concerned with my weight as I was a dancer and dance teachers weren’t particularly fond of the hefty dancers. So yes the fitness lifestyle has allowed me to shed my worries of maintaining a size 0. But if your going to the gym on a regular basis, avoiding fast food and eating fruits and vegetables why the hell are you ashamed of eating a piece of cake once in a while? Now, if you’re trying to be the next body builder super star then disregard this post because that’s just too intense for me and so far out my knowledge base. However, if your a regular enthusiast like myself, the focus of your diet should be on  healthier ingredients and burning more then you intake. For instance substituting butter with olive oil, whole wheat for white, eating at least one vegetable with every dinner and eating fruit or yogurt for snack instead of junk food all the time. Don’t go on a diet, go on a healthy crusade. If you would prefer to cut out any and everything resembling a fattening treat, by all means go ahead. It’s all about preference when it comes to weight loss and if you’re going against your preference, you’re going the wrong way. I always say, “Do you”, so eat however you choose. But when you do decide to indulge in a treat, don’t you dare feel guilty about it. We’ll just kill it tomorrow during our workout.

-J.S. Gates


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