Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Diet" Is a Four Letter Word

One of the things I struggle with is the word "diet." My problem with the word "diet" is that if one "goes on a diet" it connotes nothing more than a short-term, temporary change in one's eating habits.

No short-term, temporary change is going to take the weight off and keep it off.

As I wrote here:, if you managed to put on an extra 20 or 30 pounds eating a particular way then guess what? The minute you abandon your "diet" and go back to your old eating habits, you'll put those extra 20 or 30 pounds right back on.

There is no going back.

So going on Atkins, South Beach or whatever diet du jour habits to be faddish right now is going to do nothing for you in the long run.

Everyone I know who went on Atkins made tremendous pains-in-the-asses out of themselves a few years ago because you had to prepare special food for them. All of them lost some weight, but then put each and every single pound back on. My former Nanny lost 60 pounds on Atkins but then put on over 80 pounds when she went off of it.

That's because the Atkins diet is simply not sustainable. There's no way you can avoid eating rice, pasta and bread for the rest of your life (and who would want to?). The same is true for any diet that promises miracle weight loss if you follow some ridiculous eating regime.

If all my friends (and my former Nanny) just committed to permanently eating better, healthier, non-processed foods and exercising a little more, I'm positive they all would have had more successful weight loss results.

Real weight loss means making life-time commitments. Switching out processed junk foods for healthier alternatives is doable and even better for your health. Committing to not eating carbohydrates for the rest of your life isn't. While reducing the amount of highly refined, processed carbohydrates is probably a good idea, what you want to do is nix Wonder Bread for bread made with whole grains and eat less of it, not avoid it altogether.

So, if you want to lose weight, don't go on a "diet." Instead, take a hard look at what you are now eating, and set goals for yourself to make positive changes to your eating habits that you can sustain for life. You don't have to make all the changes at once (that may leave you feeling deprived).

Taking baby steps that you'll stick with is much better than taking giant steps that you won't. The goal is to lose weight permanently, not quickly.

So be patient, and switch out those chips you normally have for a mid-day snacks for grapes.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I guess this is no surprise to you but I find myself nodding my head in agreement everytime I read your post. I think I'm goning to print this and tape it to my refrigerator and also put it on my desk. I'm bowing to you as I type this. You are so on target with every post. I guess great minds think alike.