Are You Truly Going on a Diet?

— Written By Barbara Linder and last updated by

Many Americans have a tendency to put on a “few” pounds over the holidays and resolve themselves to indulging in seasonal favorites and goodies by making resolutions that being in the new year, that they will start a diet. Diet, my friends, is truly a misnomer.

First, let us begin by defining the word “diet.” Diet, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as, “ food and drink regularly provided or consumed.” The Oxford Dictionary defines diet as “The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” People around the world have transformed the word ‘diet’ from its original meaning as a noun to a verb – from being a thing, as in the food or drink a person consumes, to an action of “going on a diet”, to mean that one is deviating from their habitual ways of eating.

So let us all start off the New Year by wiping the phrases “I am dieting” or “I am going on a diet” from our vocabularies. Every single thing you eat or drink is part of your diet. Instead, lets discuss what a healthy diet consists of, and what you should be eating and drinking in 2015.

In 2011, the federal government release MyPlate, which outlines the 5 food groups that should be incorporated in to ones daily diet. These groups are grains, dairy, protein, fruits and vegetables.

Adhering to a healthy lifestyle is all about following the proper diet, not “going on a diet”. Incorporating the necessary amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, diary, and protein in to your daily diet, along with proper physical activity, is essential to maintaining a healthy body and mind, and aides in the prevention of chronic diseases.

The dietary guidelines set forth by the USDA are as follows, and vary depending on age, gender and physical activity. Visit for specific information. Each day, the total consumption should be:

Fruits – 1 ½ to 2 cups

Vegetables – 2 to 3 cups

Grains – 6 to 8 oz. (half of your grain intake should be whole grains)

Protein (lean) – 5 to 6 ½ oz.

Dairy (low-fat) – 3 cups

Portion control and making half your plate full of fruits and vegetables is essential in fulfilling your New Year’s resolution. For more information, visit or contact North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Randolph County at 336-318-6000.