Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Almost as often as you see an advertisement for some type of (usually unhealthy) food, you get some sort of information about a new diet. The Atkins' Diet, Wheat Belly, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig - the list goes on and on! But there have been professionals who say not to diet. Why is that?
Well, "diet" as in "I'm going on a diet" has come to mean "a special time where I pay attention very carefully to what I eat to lose weight". It gives the implication that after this unspecified "special time", you will fall right back into the unhealthy practices that made you gain weight in the first place.
Diet can also have another meaning. It can be used to describe your daily eating, as in "My typical diet consists of oatmeal, juice, and a sandwich". This type of diet, the diet that professionals want people to engage in is a LIFESTYLE diet - one that isn't around for a little while to get your weight down, but a permanent change to your eating habits.
You can go on a diet, but if you don't learn proper eating habits, the weight will come back. I know that's how it's always been for me. I lost weight on the Weight Watchers program, and while I did learn some basic "eat more fruits and veggies, drink water", the program basically let you eat anything as long as you recorded what it was. So TECHNICALLY, you could eat cupcakes all day long, as long as it was under your points allotment. It was easy for me to take my once in a while treat and suddenly make it a daily occurrence. And suddenly, I went from having just enough points for a day, to never enough (those Oreos add up!).
Right now, I'm on a diet. I'm on a meal replacement to get my weight down to within my BMI. But on the side, I'm learning the basics of eating healthy - of integrating more vegetables and fruits, to choose lean meats, to avoid or reduce my intake of "bad foods". This time, I am fully aware of how transitory the "diet" is - and instead of using diet in the first definition, I want to end up with a LIFESTYLE DIET - one that will carry with me for the rest of my days.
This is not to say you HAVE to go on a temporary diet before establishing your lifestyle diet. The first time I lost weight (20+ pounds!), I went on a lifestyle diet. I chose healthier foods, smaller portions, etc. No Weight Watchers, no meal replacements, just good 'ol fashioned "Watch what you eat!" In some ways, I think this method is preferable. You learn NOW how to eat right, not later. You may not see the weight loss as you might in other programs, but I doubt you'll stumble and trip up and binge on your favorite temptation. I think for the most part, I actually kept those 20+ pounds off from my lifestyle diet change.
My ultimate goal isn't just to be 150 pounds; my REAL goal is to develop a healthy lifestyle diet. One that isn't centered around food, which gives me energy and makes me feel good about myself.