We often hear people say they’re “going on” a diet, but is the word “diet” being used correctly? Most people don’t think about what the word “diet” really means. They often use the term as a reference to a weight loss attempt or to describe food product. A better way to define the word “diet” is to use it as a description for what you eat. Most diets are designed to provide a short-term solution to weight loss. Many times, these diets are lacking major food groups or are hard to comply with for an extended period of time. Certain diets include a meal plan consisting of only liquids, while others lack nutrient-rich foods groups like fruit. In some cases, diets can be damaging to your health if implemented for a long time like cleanses or extremely low-calorie diets. Difficult to Maintain Most dieters attempt multiple diets throughout their lifetime. Typically they can stick with a diet for a short period and experience weight loss, however, once the diet is stopped the weight is gained back. Sticking to a diet for the long haul can present a challenge for a multitude of reasons. They are often not realistic, are too restrictive, too expensive, too demanding, and not convenient. Lack Satisfaction A problem with most diets is they lack several satisfying components crucial for a healthy relationship with food. It’s common for diets to eliminate your favorite foods, use severely restricted portion sizes, or lack foods beneficial to help you stay full. Often when people are forced to restrict their favorite foods, they end up overindulging with food at some point. Small portion sizes from diet plans can leave you feeling hunger soon after a meal or snack. Certain food groups like protein, fat, and whole grains offer greater satiety, so when restricted from a meal can leave you feeling hungry quickly. Don’t Address Underlying Issues Most diets require a drastic change from your typical eating habits to comply with a certain meal plan. This method is failing to address any unhealthy habits or analyze a cause of recent weight gain. Some people have unhealthy eating habits due to recent life events or psychological issues such as depression or anxiety. Psychological components can lead to habits such as emotional eating or binge eating. What You Can Do Instead The bottom line is diets don’t work to maintain a healthy weight for the long-term. Ditch the word “diet” and choose to implement a healthier lifestyle. Gradually incorporate healthier dietary habits you can uphold. Aim for balanced meals to include lean protein sources, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.