There are fad DIETS and there are legitimate DIETS that try to maximize healthy eating and healing. Some diets almost have a holistic approach. Think of the DASH DIET, the MAYO CLINIC DIET, or the MEDITERANEAN DIET. All extremely healthy diets with tremendous benefits and weight loss success. For a lot of the people who tried those diets, it was an education...some people probably adopted that style of eating permanently with a small adjustment...others may have considered them too extreme to stick with.
The question is...which people were able to Keep the weight off.
when I think of the word DIET I think of all the things you can't have or all the things you eat in large amounts like the egg and grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet. Usually diet means I am feeling ripped off because I can't eat this or that. For me it's a life style change so I change my attitude about food. It becomes my friend as I use it to fuel my workouts instead of my enemy so I don't eat from an emotional place.
To further clarify my previous response, I do understand that the OP meant short term diets as opposed to long term healthy eating lifestyle.
My response was my experience that I lost the majority of my weight over two decades on a diet (way of eating) that encompassed mainly a healthy eating lifestyle. Semantics are important to me.
@Sheryl, ITA agree with you on the efficacy of using short term diets as a way to learn from the strategies of others. Your answer made me realize I have done that, too. Thanks for that good answer.
This is an interesting conversation regarding the semantics of how we frame our weight loss and/or maintenance journeys. In the final analysis, there is no right answer other than what we as individuals decide is the right answer.
In my mind when I hear the word diet I think of some crazy plan that limits food choices and promises you can lose 70 lbs in two days. It will take a while to think of it that way. Ever since I was a wee girl I can remember my mom and dad trying different fad diets. Sago, Slim Fast, appetite suppressant chews, the list goes on and on. (the appetite suppressant chews were actual pretty delicious. I got into a heap of trouble when I ate one. I don't know how anyone could have stopped at one)
I have tried many diets and then I found Spark People.
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It won't be impossible, but it will considerably difficult and complex to find out, say, 25 years or however long from now to see if different "control groups" can be compared in terms of those who just followed for many years healthy eating to those who followed a low-carb or Paleo or wheat free or Adkins diet. One, it will be difficult to find unbiased research; and, two, it will be difficult to find equal groups, whose weight loss, health, maintenance, etc are not connected to other factors besides their diets.
I shall go to my grave believing that the best "diet" is one of commonsense eating of healthy foods, generally avoiding too much processed meats like bacon and sausage, processed sugar foods, trans-fat and too much saturated fat, etc. I believe that consuming legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish, whole wheat, etc. will be the best diet I can have.
Actually ... trying someone else's diet strategy has introduced me to a different ways of trying to lose weight and I usually pick up 1 or 2 good ideas along the way. If it were not for trying DIETS, I would not have learned that low carb worked better for me. I would not have thought that I could get used to living without bread, pasta, rice. My taste buds would never know I could enjoy less salt and enjoy it. I would have thought the only way to lose weight was steamed veggies and 3 meals a day. It's not a one size fits all world...but trying a DIET gives you a new experience that helps develop the healthy eating lifestyle that fits you.
The word "diet" means an individual's way of eating. In places like Spark and some other weight centered sites and books, it has come to mean, to some, a specific way of eating for the purpose of losing weight or to pursue some other goal such as health.
I like the word diet in both these connotations and lost all my weight over 20 years by purposefully "dieting" in a healthful manner, meaning I ate less. Now I am on a maintenance "diet."
For health I am on a gluten free "diet" and a healthy eating "diet."
Demonizing the word "diet" just seems negative and didactic to me.
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I thought I should add-- most people will agree that a giant piece of fudgy chocolate cake isn't a "diet" food, but they might get their feelings hurt if I say it's not part of my healthy lifestyle. B/c chocolate cake CAN be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but for me it's like a gateway drug . . .
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Sometimes I call it a diet when I'm telling other people why I'm not having a piece of pie or whatever. It's just easier b/c people understand that. If I say "I'm trying to eat healthier and live a healthier lifestyle" then they are more likely to try to argue me into a piece of pie. And most of the time I don't want to give them a lecture about my healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes I can have the pie but sometimes I can't and if I say "yes" too often I start going back down that path of unhealthy eating.
So yeah, I agree that looking at it as a healthy lifestyle change instead of a diet can be beneficial for ME, but sometimes all that back story is too much and a simple "No thanks, I'm dieting" is a sufficient answer for most people who want to know why I'm skipping dessert or seconds or whatever.
Sorry Karen, I'll clarify; in my use of the word "diet" I use it in the vernacular meaning that the word actually represents the notion of quick-fast easy way (i.e. a bad way to lose weight) to shred pounds with a pill or a dangerously low daily calorie count or not eating balanced.
You are right about the actual word "diet" however, I would surmise that many will catch the vernacular usage rather than the actual definition.
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Diet is not a dirty little word. If you look up the definition is basically is the food you eat everyday. I make sure the food I eat everyday is healthy and in proper portions. So my diet is a healthy lifestyle!
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I don't even have the word "diet" in my vocabulary. I do have "moderation" in my vocabulary though!
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I don't consider myself on a diet as much as I consider myself a healthy eater. it changes my train of thought.
For me a DIET is what you try to change your style of eating and restrict your calories to a level that lets you lose weight. Some of us had eating habits that were over the top with empty calories, and having some kind of strategy is needed to get in control so that you see what you are eating and make better choices. It's a stepping stone towards a healthy lifestyle.
It is like being a hoarder and trying to clean up your act. You need to empty out the kitchen from all the garbage in order to stock it with the food your body needs.
Here's why (for me), any diet that I ever went I always gained weight back. The healthy lifestyle I am living now I have had much more success and very little backslide. I think it works because it's slow and steady and NO STARVING involved!
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