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A lifestyle change or...

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

… just another fancy term for a lifelong diet?

I have to admit that this possible misconception had crossed my mind a couple of times in the past. Especially after returning to old habits at the end of a strict, depriving diet. And seeing the pounds returning as well. The idea of a lifelong diet seemed like the only – dreadful! – solution at times like that. But I hadn’t really given it much thought until recently.

I was reading an article here on SP. To be honest, I really don’t remember the exact subject because the thing that really caught my attention was the first comment right under the article. A woman insisted that what she learned here on Sparkpeople was not a lifestyle change but simply how to maintain her weight by being constantly on a diet, by saying “no” to all “forbidden” foods and by being in a never-ending workout frenzy in order to keep her body in a considerably fit state! It made me think…

Could she be right?

Could we be fooling ourselves here?

Are we in a constant dieting procedure that we have hidden behind the comforting and guilt-free term “lifestyle change”?

Could we?

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I had to give it some serious thought and find my own personal answer before I present it as a debatable subject to my good Sparkfriends. My adult life consists of three different eating patterns. In the past it was either “on a diet” or “off a diet”. And then I found Sparkpeople and committed myself to a “lifestyle change”. So, let’s see how they differ…

* DIET*

emoticon Meals:
Strict, following a program that someone else had made for me and not according to what I’d like to eat on a specific day. ALWAYS low-calorie, low-fat and lacking taste and variety.
emoticon Sweets and treats:
Out-of-the-question! Forbidden! Even the thought of them could make the scale go up!
emoticon Nutritional knowledge and awareness:
Limited and mistakenly oriented to fat percentage. Food was either fattening or not. Who cares about nutritional values…
emoticon Exercise:
A weight loss tool, used occasionally to help the scale move a bit faster. “Does it burn calories? Then I’ll do it!”
emoticon Weight maintenance:
Weeks, Months, never actually made it to a full year…


*OFF-DIET*

emoticon Meals:
Anything, anytime, anywhere! I’m not on a diet anymore! Woohoo!
emoticon Sweets and treats:
See “meals” above. Woohoo twice!!!
emoticon Nutritional knowledge and awareness:
If it tastes good, it’s good for me! We said it: I’m not on a diet anymore!
emoticon Exercise:
Well, I walk when I have the chance. I mean, I like exercise but why should I do it? I’m not trying to lose weight.
emoticon Weight maintenance:
…Hmmm… Now, where did I put that scale?...


*LIFESTYLE CHANGE*

emoticon Meals:
Balanced, planned by me according to my desire and taste.
emoticon Sweets and treats:
Occasional and in moderation. Enjoying food is part of life, after all.
emoticon Nutritional knowledge and awareness:
Much more than ever before. I always read nutritional labels and I watch my daily intake of most important food categories.
emoticon Exercise:
Way of life. Something that helps me feel strong and healthy and not just a weight loss assisting tool.
emoticon Weight maintenance:
I have been in the lowest weight range of my life for a little more than a year. And counting…

In short, the answer is NO! This “lifestyle change” that there’s so much fuss over it here on Sparkpeople, is NOT a life-long diet. It’s not a diet at all. And it’s not the “eat-everything-I want” way of living, either. It’s the safe road in between. It’s about learning to enjoy food in your own terms, the ones that can help you maintain a healthy body that you feel good in.

And if we compare it to the “off-diet” state, or to a mentality of eating everything in sight, then, yes, it might look like a diet. But is this the way we want to live? Treating our stomach like a trash can? Saying yes to all the zero-quality products that the food industry has to offer? And calling every other way of eating a “diet”?

No! The “D” word was taken out of my vocabulary. It got replaced with words like moderation, balance, real food. Through Sparkpeople I learned that there are many more labels for food than just good and bad, fattening and not.

I learned how to stop dieting. Once and for all.

I made food my friend, not a foe.

And for this, I’ll always be thankful to Sparkpeople.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WORDWOMAN7 5/3/2013 8:58AM

    This is a really great post. Thanks for sharing it!

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YVONNEMGG 5/3/2013 7:29AM

    You got it!

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BWATSO1 5/3/2013 7:09AM

  Loved the blog...Happy Friday!!!

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GEORGE815 5/3/2013 1:06AM

    Food is your friend.

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ALLISON_TILBERG 5/2/2013 11:19PM

    Well said. In the end it all comes down to your thinking process. I never actually tried going on a diet, so I'm not really sure how that feels. I have however tried making lifestyle changes that didn't stick? Why? Because even a lifestyle change is a comittment. That's why its called a lifestyle change and not a sortastyle change. When you can learn to accept this new way of life it becomes second nature to you, just like eating crap for years. You get so used to the convienience and amount of delicious crap we forget our bodies don't need it and they become regular trashcans instead of the temples they are suppose to be. You only live once, unless your doctor who.. then you live more than once...but your not. (Or are you? O_o) anyways your only here for emoticon a short time, its time we treated ourselves that way.

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JUSGETTENBY42 5/2/2013 11:18PM

    emoticon

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MPLSKEN 5/2/2013 11:09PM

    I agree 100%! Thanks for sharing. I hope a lot of people read this!
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MNNICE 5/2/2013 11:04PM

    Very true!

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PATRICIAANN46 5/2/2013 10:20PM

  emoticon for the great "Shot In The Arm" that we all need from time to time. emoticon

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KRISTYE81 5/2/2013 10:15PM

    emoticon

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KARRENLYNN 5/2/2013 9:33PM

    It took me a long time to come to this conclusion. And it's wonderful.

have a great day!

Karen

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FITFOODIE806 5/2/2013 8:57PM

    What a thoughtful blog. And I couldn't agree more!

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ROBB1N 5/2/2013 8:26PM

    Very well said!

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TINAJANE76 5/2/2013 8:20PM

    Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES! It took me years and years to come to these very same realizations and now that I finally have I'm actually maintaining a healthy weight after years of failed attempts. It all seems so simple, but it's taken me a long time to get to this happy middle ground and I'm not turning back!

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WATERMELLEN 5/2/2013 7:33PM

    Super blog, so well expressed. This is 4ever but that's not diet or deprivation . . . it's managing good health@

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HOLLYM48 5/2/2013 5:27PM

    What an awesome blog. I totally agree that this is not a "diet" but just a way of life and a good way of life at that. Eating all the different kinds of food that we want in moderation, continuing to exercise, it is about getting healthy and if along the way we weigh less, then good for us!
Thanks for the great blog. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 5/2/2013 5:09PM

    This is a fabulous blog, dear Elle! Thank you so much. It gave me hope again just when I needed it! Yesterday evening, I read similar words than the ones you mentioned on a Sparkmember page. It discouraged me sooo much!!! I knew it was wrong, yet it sounded like it could be true and it made me feel really low. So when I read your blog I was so happy! Indeed, it is a lifestyle change, in all areas of life, not just food, and it does work. Thank you Elle!

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REGILIEH 5/2/2013 4:51PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LIVELYGIRL2 5/2/2013 4:50PM

  You did a super job sharing your thoughts and ideas on this.

Obviously no one wants to be on a diet forever.

I think saying, I will ever again eat such and uch is setting yourself up for a binge or failure. emoticon

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JOANNHUNT 5/2/2013 4:42PM

    RIGHT ON. THIS IS AWESOME. SPARK PEOPLE ROCK. IF SOMEONE THINKS THIS IS A DIET ISN'T GETTING THE BEST OUT OF THE KNOWLEDGE ON HERE.

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BLPRETTYGIRL1 5/2/2013 3:40PM

    emoticon Right On!

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NASFKAB 5/2/2013 3:29PM

  thanks for putting it so well

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SUSIEMT 5/2/2013 3:27PM

    I love love love this blog! You are so very right! Keep it up!

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TERMITEMOM 5/2/2013 3:21PM

    I agree. And I am grateful because SP taught me MODERATION...

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BONIFIANT 5/2/2013 3:04PM

    EXACTLY and so well stated. emoticon

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ONLYTEMPORARY 5/2/2013 2:50PM

    emoticon

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ABUFFKIN 5/2/2013 1:50PM

    Very entertaining and insightful and oh so true. Thanks for sharing!!!

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TINA_L 5/2/2013 1:47PM

    I agree with everything, great post! emoticon emoticon
I also don't use the "D" word. emoticon

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SSEARE 5/2/2013 1:26PM

  Perfect! Thanks for the words.

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MISSBOOBOOKITTY 5/2/2013 1:17PM

    emoticon

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_JODI404 5/2/2013 1:06PM

    I completely agree with your perspective on this!!

I love the way you elaborated on the differences.

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JIBBIE49 5/2/2013 12:03PM

    emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor. You're the STAR today. emoticon

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LINDAK25 5/2/2013 11:54AM

    emoticon Living healthy rocks!
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GRIZ1GIRL 5/2/2013 11:30AM

    Awesome - well said! THANKS!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 5/2/2013 10:59AM

    emoticon

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LISA_FRAME 5/2/2013 10:59AM

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DIANNEMT 5/2/2013 10:56AM

    Best description of what I am doing now that I have ever read. Thank you--this is EXCELLENT. And I will maintain this lifestyle/weight for the rest of my life!

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JACKIE542 5/2/2013 10:55AM

    Agreed, not a diet a lifestyle change. I have just started adding new foods, so far so good. emoticon emoticon

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ROCKYCPA 5/2/2013 10:43AM

    Definitely in agreement! Thanks for sharing!

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IDICEM 5/2/2013 10:29AM

  I totally agree. Thanks for taking the time to make the comparisons.
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NEPTUNE1939 5/2/2013 10:05AM

    emoticon

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SORLANDO21 5/2/2013 10:05AM

    emoticon

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CJYOUCANDOIT 5/2/2013 10:04AM

    emoticon emoticon
Excellent comparison and clarification! Sometimes during the process of losing weight our minds blur the lines and we mess up. Thank you for your message.
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DJSHIP46 5/2/2013 10:01AM

    Thanks for sharing!!!

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SHOAPIE 5/2/2013 9:58AM

    Great

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TKLBRIDGET 5/2/2013 9:55AM

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing it with us.
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GOOSIEMOON 5/2/2013 9:50AM

    You are correct! emoticon

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SIMONEKP 5/2/2013 9:03AM

    dead on

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NEWMOM20121 5/2/2013 8:45AM

    Really great blog.

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KANOE10 5/2/2013 8:36AM

    This was an absolutely excellent blog. You are so right and defined lifestyle change well. I do not feel like I am dieting any more..even when I am working off up pounds. Instead I am maintaining and making good choices.

This was an insightful blog and I am saving it!

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