Finally! The Diet to End All Diets!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Are you a chronic yo-yo dieter? Have you tried every diet you’ve ever heard of, and never found one you can actually stick to long enough to reach your goal? Are you fed up with complicated rules, theories, and gimmicks that are “guaranteed” to solve your weight problems once and for all–but never do?

Well, I’ve got just the thing for you: a diet plan that you literally can’t fail at, even if you try.

If you’re starting to wonder at this point whether I’ve sold out to some well-financed new diet scam, good for you. That’s exactly how you should feel, because there is no such thing as a diet that can guarantee you the results you want.

But there IS a way to eat and exercise that will help you lose weight and get fit, without most of the problems, frustrations, complexities and difficulties that come with virtually every diet plan on the market. It’s a diet plan you can’t fail at because...well, it’s not really a diet plan at all. You don’t need to do anything special, and there's nothing that's right or wrong. All you need to do is to start eating and exercising today the way you’ll be eating and exercising once you’ve lost all the weight you need to lose.

In some ways, you could say this is an exercise in time travel, not dieting–you’ll just be jumping ahead into your own future, without all the trials and tribulations of going on a diet first.

If you’ve had problems with previous diets and weight loss efforts, you'll probably agree that the biggest problem is that these plans all involve ways of handling food and eating that just aren’t “normal” or natural. For one thing, they almost force you to become obsessive and compulsive about what you eat, way beyond a natural concern for meeting your own nutritional and health needs. You either have to become the equivalent of an expert with a Ph.D in nutrition and exercise science to figure out what, when, and how much you need to eat, or you can try to eat like a rabbit, hoping that drastically changing what you’ve been doing will somehow work. Neither of these is something most people can do for very long.

And then there are all those lovely mood swings, frustrations, and worries that plague everyone on a diet. It's being on a diet that makes you think you've "blown it" whenever you break one of your diet rules, and allows you to turn that into a rationalization for eating even more. It's being on a diet that makes you panic when the scale doesn't give you the number you want, and makes you feel like all your efforts are for nothing. It’s being on a diet that makes you feel uncomfortable around people who aren’t dieting, and causes you to wonder whether you can ever trust yourself around “normal” food at all.

But when you realize that what you're trying to do is to simply start eating and exercising now--the way you're going to be doing it from here on out--these things look a lot different. You don't need to do things perfectly every day to "stay on track," and it really doesn't matter if you eat a few calories more today and a few less on some other day--it’s not like you’ve got a deadine to meet or the world is going to end if it takes you an extra day or two to get to your goal. And you don't have to wait until you lose the weight to get on with your life. This IS the rest of your life, and all you have to do is the best you can to live according to your own values and goals--it's the process and the journey that matter, not the destination.

All you're really doing here is turning over the business of getting to your ideal weight to your body, which knows what to do, and taking the pressure off your mind, which often doesn't. If you can figure out roughly how much a person who weighs what you want to weigh needs to eat and exercise to maintain that weight, and start doing that today, your body will take care of everything else for you. It will use your stored body fat for the extra energy it needs until you get to the point where what you're eating is right for your body size and activity level. Then you'll shift into weight maintenance mode automatically.

Now, I'm not trying to say that making this mental leap into your own future is going to be real easy, or even simple. If you have quite a bit of weight to lose, you may need to set up some intermediate calorie intake goals instead of aiming for your final maintenance level right away, so you're not too hungry all the time. If you’re pretty out of shape, you may need to go slowly on getting yourself as active as you’ll want to be later on. If you've got medical issues that affect your metabolism or your dietary needs, or other limitations, you'll need to work with those. And even (or especially) if you've only got a little to lose, you're probably going to have to work hard on being patient with slower weight loss. There will always be plateaus and sticking points.

But all this is exactly the kind of work that really pays off in the long run, in terms of both reaching your goal and developing the skills it takes to create a satisfying lifestyle based on your own values, not someone else's standards and rules.

So, what do you think? Are you willing to ditch the diet mentality and try this approach?

Oh–almost forgot. I’ve been trying to think of a good name for this approach–have you got any suggestions?

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This article reminds me of the book by Richard Simmons, years ago, called "NEVER SAY DIET" because the word "die" is in it. Wonderful, motivating book. I should find it and reread it. So, I think the name for this article is the same "NEVER SAY DIET" and I am sure, Richard, wouldn't mind you borrowing it for your column!!! He is for anything that will help anyone, and it isn't as if you wrote a book and you didn't use his exact words so there is no copyright problem. Oh, I know another book along the same line but don't remember the author: "DIETS DON'T WORK"--so pick one and go for it as nothing is wrong with helping other's out!!! It is about LIVING AND LIFE, afterall. Vicki Report
no clue what to call it, But I do love the whole idea, it makes PERFECT sense! Report
This is right on. I've been overweight for so long, despaired of ever losing weight. I didn't even know how to go about it. Then one day I decided I would just eat the way I would if I were already at my goal weight. I took an interest in learning about better food choices, with much credit to this website. I haven't given anything up; I just eat different things now, and they taste as good and often better than what I used to eat. And the weight is just falling off me, I can't get over how easy it really is. My body knows what to do, like you said. It's very cool. Report
Yes!!!!!!!!! Report
This article elaborates on my motto, "It's not a diet, it's a live it!" We need to choose life giving foods, not di-eat-ing foods. My other motto is about exercise...."Fun it off!" With so many choices for activity available, we should all be able to find fun ways we enjoy to get active and burn calories. Report
This blog makes so much sense! Thanks for the inspiration! Report
Boy, How long I have waited to understand why I have souch a problem losing weight. You have hit the "nail on the head" for me. It really is as simple as you say, I don't know how much I have lost but I have been pushing my body with exercise and trying to eat healthy and no seconds. I feel better and the clothes are fitting better. I am healthy and well and I do not want to waste any more of my life constantly stressing about my weight. I know that if I continue to follow what you suggest as well as what I am doing ( as well as being patient) the old me will emerge! Thank You Dean. I love your articles and how you think. Report
How about the K.I.S.S. (i.e., Keep It Simple) Principle? I've found through lots of trial and error that there are no fast fixes. You need to picture the jouney and not just the first step when you're trying to change something about yourself - whether it's losing weight or just being more healthy. I'm so glad that I joined SparkPeople! I haven't seen a difference on the scale yet, but I'm definitely feeling better and my clothes are already starting to fit better! Report
This is absolutely the truth. My daughters and I have been eating sensibly for about a month and a half now. The weight is coming off without rigorous exercise or specific calorie counting. We are rid of all the high fat content food we had in the house and are choosing healthier more nutritious snacks and meals. This is a "diet" - lifestyle - I think we can really maintain! Report
I really enjoyed reading the article. It is very interesting. I have many diets, but I have found that if you just change the way you eat and eat better and exercise you will start seeing results. It has taken me a long time to understand it but, I finally got it. My suggestion for this approach is living the lifestyle. Report
what I think is so funny is the ad on the page right now is "How I lost 24 pounds in 2 months!" Talk about a fad diet! lol Report
How about The Common Sense Plan (notice I didn't use the word "diet". Report
P.S. I gave up diets years ago and stopped gaining weight, though by then I had quite a bit to lose. And I believe those weird diets really messed up my metabolism. Mine is that of a turtle now. Report
How about: Fit for Life, The Lean Life Plan, Eating and Exercise for Life, or The Best Body Eating and Exercising Plan. Report
How about the Everyone's Diet. That's because as one teacher told me years ago before I started "dieting" that the word diet meant what you eat. With that in mind, from the day you are born 'til the day you die no matter what your weight you are dieting. Report
Through t he years I've thought this was the best way to think about eating; but Sparkpeople, has given me the 'tools' to make it happen!
Tools here are:
F = Fun
E = Encouragement
S = Support
S = System

U = Understanding
P = Purpose Report
Call it the "Quantum Leap" Diet... leap ahead in time to the body and lifestyle you want... Report
Love this article! It really is the truth! Report
How about "The Real life diet" ? Report
Hooray! That's exactly what I'm doing; only took me 6 months on Spark to figure it out :-) Report
This is great. The easy right way diet. It's amazing how something so simple can be so hard for some and easy for others. Report
It almost seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm definitely going to work on making that switch. BTW - I like the Spark-Lifestyle plan, too! Report
I'd call it the Spark Lifestyle. I like the emphasis of this article on taking what ever time is needed. I like the idea on working your way into your new lifestyle, that there is no rush. I like the idea of flexible rules so we don't beat ourselves up. A diet is a plan of eating. A lifestyle includes thinking and moving. It cannot be a diet only. I do think that eating like you are going to eat when you get there is a bit impossible for some with a long way to go. But for the people with less than 50 pounds to lose that should be fine. I like reseting my goals periodically and eating that way.

Emma Report
Excellent article! Very common sense and helps you to realize there is no "magic" and it's not about willpower and believing some people have it and some people don't. I liken this way of thinking and eating as "Wellness Eating" because it really does encompass all aspects of good health, not just the physical. Thanks Dean! Report
I just had a moment in Feb that I needed to do something about my weight. Change your views about dieting and somehow during your adventure to loose weight find that it is eating the right food exercise or just walk more. Most of us consider dieting a bad thing and giving up alot of your favorites but in reality you can eat but don't abuse cookies or candy by eating an entire bag or box. Report
I'd personally call it "normal eating" but that is just me. I have had a problem with eating all my life. Report
Loving this new life style....took my years to get to my max weight, so not expecting it to fall off over night. Just concerned a tad that once I get to my 'ideal' weight that I won't be able to stop.... :-) Report
Or "Approach to Well-Being" Report
This is exactly what I do and what it's basically how I reply on the message boards when I see someone struggling with issues with diet. It's helped me out in so many ways. When nutrition and fitness simply becomea way of life...for benefits seperate from weight loss...the size of the body generally takes care of itself. Not to mention..sometimes, when there's that "desperate" feeling associated with diets...I personally believe the body does not respond to the physical efforts. Another problem with the negative "I have to lose weight" scenerio is that many peole throw themselves into an exercise program that is way too advanced for their fitness levels and they get either turned off or hurt.
I love your articles. I would call this "diet" the "Diet of Well Being." Report
I grew up with the mentality that I have to diet but back when I was younger there was not the information out there that there now is. I sometimes still get in the mind set that I need to diet, but since starting Sparks I am learning and growing. Now instead of dieting I am doing a lifestyle change. Report
Well said! Thanks! I think too many people are stuck in a "diet" mentality. Report
Great inspiration and reminder about the most effective way to get the weight loss goals into real-life focus. I've learned that it's more than the food issue - I've had to find the time to put cardio and weight training into my life to get the scale to move! Wonderful how we're all different, and yet so much alike! Thanks for all of your different insights. Report
Great Article. Thanks! Report
we all need to learn it's a lifestyle and NOT a diet Report
I think the "lifestyle change", "non-diet" sounds great on paper. Unfortunately, most people can't do this in a healthy manner, because most people don't know what healthy looks like. There are few realistic examples or guidelines available in our present environment to aspire to.

"If you can figure out roughly how much a person who weighs what you want to weigh needs to eat and exercise to maintain that weight, and start doing that today, your body will take care of everything else for you."

This statement in and of itself is naive, problematic, and an oversimplification of reality.

Sorry, Coach Dean. You're new record is W:100k, L:1 Report
I love this idea. I want to make it a poster and put it above my bed so i can see it every morning before i get up...
My suggestion is the "Wake-up Call". No diet or change or anything. Just a Wake-up call ... you know... "Good morning body! Let's make you sexy!" :)
What the?? We read this and it makes sense for two minutes (two weeks, whatever) and then where do we go.....straight back to the lifestyle that got us here in the first place! I don't know how people can say once they got to a certain place in the "Lifestyle change" and it got easy?? Hate to break it to ya but I've been to that great place and even when you've come from That rubbish place its just as easy to fall back into what made you feel so bad in the first place. Not meaning to bad mouth the article, but in my opinion IT IS HARD to be where you want to be sometimes, It takes work and a s**t load of will power! Nothing is an easy fix thats for sure! but if it isn't a challenge its not worth doing right?! Report
I see it as "Fit for Life" - sort of sums it all up for me!
Great article lol x Report
Live It Now Approach. Report
Anything without the word "diet" in it... please!! Report
Livet. Because it will help you to live longer.
Lessons learned so long ago that have long been forgotten... Or at least this is the case with me. Joining SparkPeople has helped me revert back to the healthy habits my mom taught me many years ago. SparkPeople is not a "diet" or an "exercise plan"... It's a lifestyle change called "Healthy Living". Report
That should have said I have lost 45 pounds, not 5 pounds. Report

This is so true. I have lost 5 pounds and kept it off for 11 months by not "dieting" but just eating sensibly and exercising. I started off with low carb, and still watch not to overload on carbs, but then went to pretty much eating anything within reason--reasonable amounts etc. I found that the doughnuts, cookies, licorice, buns, etc. didn't really tempt me so much (no I am not perfect!!) anymore because they weren't worth all the effort it would take to burn them off! I have found that it truly is a "lifestyle change" not a "diet". Report
For some reason it reminds me of one of those 50's film reels...."Now bringing you, the Diet of the Future" complete with the crazy film quality and the bad sound :) but with something that works. Report
Sounds like the Zone. Report
Instead of 'diet' let's call it the 'do-it'. Report
Thanks for the info. I like Sparks Diet. Report
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