Motivation Articles

Stop Dieting and Start Living!

Have You Made the Change?

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This doesn't mean the surface level things don't matter. Clearly, controlling how much and what you eat is vital, and caring how you look is a great motivator. The real issue here is where you fit into the picture. The key to both permanent weight loss and feeling satisfied and happy with yourself and your life is to take personal responsibility for what you can control, and let go of everything else.

Many factors that are out of your control—your genes, age, medical status and previous weight history— will affect your weight and appearance. These factors may determine how much weight you can lose, how quickly you’ll lose it, and how you’ll look and feel when you’ve gone as far as you can go. When you focus too narrowly on the numbers on the scale or what you see in the mirror, you are staking your happiness and satisfaction on things you really can’t control. That pretty much guarantees that you’ll be chronically worried, stressed, and uncomfortable—and more likely than ever to have problems with emotional eating.

And when you rely too much on external (diet) tools, techniques, and rules to determine your behavior, you are turning over  your personal responsibility to the tools and techniques. If you find yourself frequently losing motivation or feeling powerless to control your own behavior, it’s probably because you’re counting on the tools to do your part of the work for you. You’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you; only you can change your attitude and perspective to match your personal reality.

There are many articles in the Resource Center and countless conversations on the Message Boards that offer good information and practical ideas for putting yourself in charge of your own lifestyle makeover. In fact, one of the best ways you can start the transition from a diet to a lifestyle is by taking on the responsibility to identify the problems you need to work on and gather the info you need. Whether it’s coming to terms with emotional eating, improving your body image, or finding a vision of the life you want to live—you’ll find that you aren’t alone and that plenty of support and help is available.

You just need to take that first step away from the diet mentality and closer to a new and improved life(style).



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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • Thank you so much for this article! It is just what I needed to hear. This will be very helpful to me in my lifetime journey. I am planning to write out my mission statement and read it often. - 4/20/2016 6:46:02 PM
  • Essentially what he is saying is that you can't have your cake and eat it too. You have to decide what you want most...to have the cake, or to eat it. I look at it this way, I need to learn to fuel my body on an everyday basis. I can socialize and indulge, within reason, once a week or twice a month, but I cannot eat the cake every day if I want to have the cake in my hand every day (cake in hand = health and well being, and a healthy weight). - 2/5/2016 10:41:28 AM
  • I appreciate the wisdom in Dean Anderson's articles. Having admitted this, my behavior with regard to food and exercise was so out of whack that at 5'2" I weighed 285 lbs. I lost sight (if I ever even knew in the first place) of what are healthy portion sizes, how much exercise and what kind is needed, what would fit with my life circumstances.

    I've needed the comfort of a rigid menu (diet??) and evolve an exercise routine to learn the new behaviors, and get some immediate relief from the health meltdown I was experiencing. I think this article is a vision for me of the healthy mindset I am working toward. But right now, with 43 pounds lost and over 120 to go, it feels too frightening too me. I'm not stable enough in this new life to be easygoing with it yet. - 12/14/2015 10:21:32 AM
  • VICTORIASMITH69
    dieting is a way of lifestyle c hanging. - 9/30/2015 9:11:26 AM
  • MLIAN2
    Ironically, giving up dieting was key for me when I decided that I needed to lose weight.

    I realised that food was my problem -- it was how I was using it that was causing so much pain and damage to my body and self esteem.

    As a result, I lost 22 pounds and have kept it off simply by changing why, how and when I ate. Here's how I did it: http://www.michel
    elian.com/blo
    g/how-to-stop
    -dieting-and-
    start-living/ - 7/21/2015 5:36:55 AM
  • CEVIZAGACE
    Good article! For me, one of the solutions of not being a number anymore was to throw away the scales and trying to stifle the calorie calculator that, after a life long of yoyo dieting, has become firmly planted in my head. - 7/2/2015 2:52:48 AM
  • Loved the article,Thank you. - 6/22/2015 10:41:04 AM
  • THEGROOVE65
    Yes! More please. This I can use a second healthy serving of.😁 - 5/6/2015 11:55:12 PM
  • Just what I needed to hear too! Thank you! - 1/20/2015 2:04:50 PM
  • ANDSIMINA13
    this is by far the best article that i ever read about weight loss and healthy lifestyle...i never knew the differences between those things..now I know where I went wrong and what I have to correct in my conceptions. thank you for all your articles. they’re a necessary piece to this puzzle (weight loss journey). I really appreciate your dedication and service, and I know others do too! thk :x - 1/11/2015 10:50:52 AM
  • JST4MENOW
    One of the most impactful articles I have read in quite a while. Thank you!! - 3/17/2014 6:59:44 AM
  • This is the best article I've read in a long, long time. The title is a bit misleading, but it got my attention, so maybe it's the best title. I am going to save this link, and put a reminder to read it once a month.
    Thank you, Mr. Anderson! - 11/28/2013 5:49:49 PM
  • Great article! Exactly what I needed to hear. - 11/28/2013 7:51:56 AM
  • Loved the article :) is there anyway I can bookmark it so I can find it easily later on when I want to come back to it? - 9/26/2013 1:53:29 PM
  • Loved the article. - 9/7/2013 1:43:27 PM

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