It is summertime, and people are talking about beaches, bikinis, and diets a lot. Diets are weird things. They often seem to focus on deprivation, and I once heard someone point out that the first part of the word diet spells out die.
I am not a dietician, and I do not want to make sweeping generalizations about all diets or all the reasons we go on diets. What I want to suggest, however, is that while depriving ourselves of certain things (temporarily or permanently) for our health is sometimes necessary, it seems like good health is much more about the good things we add to our life, rather than the things we take away from it. Good health is about living more, not less. Therefore, I like to think about LiveIts rather than DieIts. (I am purposefully misspelling diet in this sentence for the sake of contrast.)
If we were to adopt LiveIts rather than diets, I think we would change our mindset about health and our bodies in several important ways:
We would begin to realize that our bodies are our friends, and they are always communicating to us about how we can help them be happy and healthy.
We would realize that like all living things, our bodies need love, encouragement, and positive attention to thrive.
We would realize that since our bodies are intimately intertwined with our mind and spirit, when we nourish our mind and spirit, we also nourish our bodies. On the flip side, our bodies cannot thrive if our minds and spirits are hurting and deprived. All of the parts of us are connected.
We would realize that being healthy is not just about what we eat and how we move. It is about showering ourselves with love, beauty, and purpose.
We would realize that when our bodies become unhealthy, the solution is not always to take away things. Often the solution is to add good and beautiful things.
If we adopted a LiveIt, rather than a diet, here are some beautiful things we might add to our lives:
- Loving and nourishing thoughts: Loving thoughts increase our confidence and joy. When we add confidence and joy to our lives, it often helps us to get rid of other habits we have that are not so healthy. You can read about that here and here.
- Playful and gentle movement: Our bodies love to move, but movement does not have to be a punishment or a chore. You can read about that here and here.
- Deep, consistent breathing: Breathing deeply and well helps with many emotional, spiritual, and physical issues. You can read about that here.
- Drinking a lot of water: Plants get really happy and perky when we water them abundantly; our bodies, minds, and spirits respond in the same way when we drink a lot of water. You can read more about that here.
- Using loving visualization: Loving and positive visualization is not hocus-pocus. It is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves to help us be more healthy. You can read about that here and here.
- Eating Whole Foods: Often the more whole foods we add to our lives, the fewer cravings and mood swings we have. Some of the sites I enjoy about whole foods are here, here, and
- Going outside: Even if you just go and sit on your back porch and look at the trees, it can have tremendous health benefits
- Adding sweet and beautiful things to our lives: Sometimes when we fill our lives with unhealthy things, it is because we are actually craving beautiful things. Adding these things can often help our health greatly. You can read about that here and here.
- Giving ourselves time to be creative: We are all natural creators and makers, but often as we get older, we give ourselves less and less time to do this important work. You can nourish yourself by being creative in whatever way seems right to you. You can read about ways to allow creativity into your life here. This is also a good article about why creativity is so nourishing.
- Building Loving Relationships: When we give love to other people, it nourishes us as well. Here are some ways to build and nurture loving friendships. This is another good article.
- Connecting with the Divine: Whether we are religious or not, we often have a longing to connect with something larger than ourselves. This is what is often referred to as the Divine, God, or the transcendent aspect of our lives. Here are some ways to connect with the Divine. (This article suggests ways to connect with the Divine both for people who are and are not religious).
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Please note that a LiveIt is not about creating new chores and to-do lists for yourself. It is about listening to your mind, body, and emotions and doing things that nourish you.
In addition, no one can really tell you what your LiveIt must look like. YOU are the boss of you. You get to design your own LiveIt that is a perfect fit for you. Maybe your LiveIt will have some or all of the activities above. Maybe you will add different activities or practices. Maybe you will just starting thinking about it. The point is to nourish your life with rich, meaningful, and beautiful things.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
As we think about heading to the beaches this summer, we may be tempted to go on diets. You are the boss of you, so you get to decide what is best right now. But maybe it will help us if we start thinking less about DieIts and more about LiveIts. LiveIts help us be healthy, happy, and balanced by encouraging us to fill our lives with things that nourish our body, mind, and spirit.
What is one thing you could do this week that would add beauty and nourishment to your life without adding any stress or anxiety? Consider doing this thing. It can be very small and simple or more grand and complex. It is all up to you. Even just thinking about it is enough to start your LiveIt.
 Once again, I certainly realize that removing certain foods from one’s diets is sometimes essential to becoming more healthy. In no way am I speaking as a medical practitioner or dietician in this post. Rather, I am speaking about some other related ideas about health.