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?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


This is pretty much what I did to lose 80 lbs. When I started I knew that "dieting" didn't work and I had to make changes that would stick. Started slow and made small sustainable changes over time. When I met my first goal I didn't do anything different and kept losing weight. As I lost weight I dropped my calorie goal a little, bit never went much below 1600. When I hit my final goal I actually added in some calories to offset the add'l exercise I was doing.
Now I've been eating this way for so long it is second nature and exercise is an enjoyable non negotiable part of every day. Have been at or under goal for almost 3 years. Report
I totally agree, with one additional thought. I've been dieting, looking for the best way to eat and exercise to get to a healthy weight since forever. I get ups and downs. It's the cravings for sweets when I am tired, stressed that are tough to beat. Recently there was an article that said research shows the Mediterranean way to eat is the healthiest way and prevents heart disease, stroke up to 30% over a long term study.
I've been cutting out on meat recently anyways, eating more fish,dried beans and peas, more veggies, some nuts. Nuts and legumes are new to me. I used to avoid them because I didn't like nuts and dried beans made me too gassy.
I was always bloated at the end of the day, stomach unsettled. I decided to stop eating foods with gluten last August and no more upset stomach or bloating. What a relief. And when I decide to have a piece of french bread, lets'say, I can't believe how it upsets my stomach. I used to be a bread lover but now I feel so much better, I no longer look for it or crave it.
Coming back to the Mediterranean way of eating, it suggests seeds as well as nuts. Since I eat less meat but I still need protein, I decided to give pumpkin seeds and other seeds a try for a mid-morning /mid-afternoon snack. What a difference.
I started with the pumpkin seeds, not so bad at first, I'm actually getting to like them more and more.
But what I'm finding the most helpful is that a small handful curbs my hunger for a good while and stops the craving for sweets.
It is the same type of relief from the cravings as the relief I got from stopping gluten. I'm used to having to fight cravings. I know, a small serving is ok but once I had a taste of something sweet such as dessert, I'd carry around the craving to have more for days on end.
The seeds and also the nuts, sometimes with fruit or yogurt make a huge difference.
And since my digestion is improved by these changes, I feel a whole lot better.
So I'm happy I decided to try foods I used to look over.This is a way that is growing on me. I'm experimenting with nuts and seeds of all sorts, mixes with some small piece of dried fruits.
They don't cause cravings,eating dried dates and cranberries used to make me want to eat more. They actually cure them and the best thing, no fighting the urge, it is just not there, either with stress, end of day or even when I decide to have a small serving of dessert. It's enough and it doesn't stick as an urge to fight.
Great Article alot of people resort to all the diet pills, surgeries etc and all they really need is to get out and get some fresh air. Take a long walk, eat more smaller meals. don't eat after a certain time of day. And keep positive.. The Ark wasn't built in one day and neither will the new you take one day.. This is less hassle than some of the diets, compications from surgeries. Report
As for naming... "Life" :) ? Report
The word diet means what you eat but we use it like a verb and hate it. Any food plan is your diet. This is a common sense approach to living and a way to get to your correct calorie count. As someone else said it is much like the Weight Watcher's Plus program but made for you by you. Good explanation ! Report
Hey I remember when I first read this article! Well, it has been a few years, but you can see the before and now pic by looking at my sparkpage and reading my blog from Jan 31, 2011. The blog shows and tells my sucess story so far, and I know there is more to follow! Report
This is living a healthy lifestyle!
How did you know I needed to read just those words today!
The reminder of what I already know is what I needed to hear!
Thank you so much!!
A possible name: "Nutrition for Chessplayers"
When I weigh-in every Friday, my metabolism makes a chess move. When I select my one eating behavior change for that week then I am making my chess move. The game never ends, but it can be interesting at times! Report
This artical is wonderful! tells it like it is. That is what has helped me so much is this is not a diet. This is healthy eating and exersise! This is the SP approach! Report
I like this article can it be done yes. It almost seems like this is all we have to do. Report
This is what I call just plain living! I eat different amount of calories everyday. Some days I need more & other less. I like to think of it like balancing a check book only its calories in & calories out. On days that I lift weights I need to eat more. I just get hungrier. While I'm not losing any weight presently my clothes sure fit differently!!! Report
great articl, this is exactly what I needed right now, thanks! Report
I'm personally annoyed with the use of the word 'diet.' Today's society has labeled the word 'diet' to mean you are "on a plan to lose weight." But the word 'diet' simply means "what you eat." If you eat nothing but eggs, steak, and black beans, your diet consists of eggs, steak, and black beans. If you eat carrots, lettuce, and ranch dressing, your diet consists of carrots lettuce, and ranch dressing. In no way does 'diet' itself mean 'trying to lose weight. The only way it might is in the sentence "I am changing my diet to try and lose weight."

Stop dieting because there is no such thing as dieting. It is impossible to diet because diet is not an action. Report
Sorry to be the naysayer, but even "the way you're going to eat forever" can be seen as a diet, in that this way of eating is going to be different from what you normally have been doing and is going to involve eating different amounts of some foods: maybe more of some, but definitely less of others. There is just no way around that. And there are going to be times you are going to eat too much of certain foods, so there are opportunities for "failure." The point is it is more your attitude towards your behaviors that will be crucial. You are going to have to find the balance between tough and gentle love. I agree with the idea of aiming at reasonable habits from the beginning with no purposeful starving, and do not envy anyone her slimness if it means she is constantly computing the calories of every food she encounters or fearing every bite of fat or sugar. I just affirm that we can all find our peace with this issue. Report
Great article. Report
The Real Life Plan.

I was happy to read this article because this is what I am trying to achieve - eating and exercising as if I were thin, because in my head I already am. Report
Just Be Yourself - the self you want to be Report
Great story that give sound advice. I'd say call it, 'Normal Eatting'.
Thanks for the article! Report
Great article! "The Get Real Lifestyle"! Report
And all God's people said, AMEN!!!! Somewhere in my spark page I said that I CANNOT diet.....then all I do is think about what I CAN'T have. Prefer to think about what I CAN have! Also, have made the commitment to myself to do something ACTIVE everyday (disco dancing IS exercise!!). These are changes that have become my lifestyle, will remain my lifestyle and have changed my life.....all for the better!!! I like to think of my plan as simply "The Healthy Life"...... Report
Thanks! I needed this. I'd call it the "Choose Life Philosophy" Report
Call me old fashioned, but I'm trying to live the "eat less, move more" LIFESTYLE. Who likes the word DIET which is just putting a t at the end of die? Report
Well i adopted something thats already diet...The Live It (Richard Simmons)
but that way of thinking is this...there are 1000 ways to diet...but just one way to "just live it" .... i have found that way here....thanks SP for all the tools to make that possible.... Report
Exactly, I want a plan for life that works with foods I like. Great for me, since I basically like every food group, just rearranging how much and when to eat them. I have no idea for catchy name Report
Good article and it will keep me from continuing to feel like a failure!!!!!
Thanks! Report
I plan to call this "The Be-Real Diet". That's what it really is, and that's what it will be for me. Thanks for sharing it! Report
I am striving to adopt this exact philosophy in my life. I call it 'Intuitive Eating." Report
Great article. I am not good with names but wanted to mention how well this approach worked for me. I didn't worry myself with calorie counting or intake measures but constantly evaluated the better food choice when viewing what was available. I did pick the one thing I wouldn't give up because I knew I couldn't go without it and didn't want to set myself up for any feelings of failure. As lazy and unmotivated as I am, even small amounts of exercise really made a difference too. Thanks for bringing us all back to earth Dean! Report
I love food, now I am learning to love me and eat accordingly. Eat to satisfaction as opposed to eating until it is all gone. No going back for seconds, thirds, . . . I don't even have to clean my plate. My not cleaning my plate is not going to have any effect on starving children.

Along with breaking my unhealthy love affair with food, I have to move my butt!!! Report
Until you reached the 2nd to last paragraph, I strongly disagreed! but in that 2nd to last paragraph you basically described the Weight Watcher plan. & I love the flex plan.

A*MINI*ME Report
I am so grateful to have read this. Confirms what I know Diets do not work. So far the tracking of calories and nutrition has been wonderful Report
I think I have tried just about every "diet" out there and always lose some weight only to put it right back on and then some. I truely feel that in order to be the weight that you want to be you need to make a "Lifestyle" change. Report
Thanks so much--great article. Why not call it the Using Common Sense plan? Report
This article is right on the money.

When I think of a diet I think short term. I will eat this way until I reach my goal, then I unlease the beast and go right back to the habits that put the weight on in the first place.

I love the "act as if" principle put forward in this article. I also love how the idea is put forward that food is important, but that I need to start living my life now. Otherwise food and the obsession will rule me, and I will continue to be stuck.

I have not always been as active on Spark as I would like, but the strategies have always been at work in my life. This change has shifted me from a diet mentality to a Live Now mentality. I actually enjoy my body because of the changes through weight loss and physical strength. I love that I spend less on food because I plan my meals in advance. I love that I focus on getting more sleep every night and am an easier person to be around because I am not tired and cranky, or rev'd on caffiene.

Thank you! Report
This article is very nicely worded! Report
I appreciate this article. Eliminates all the excuse-making in weight loss--at least for me. ;) Report
"Wellness Principle of Eating" - NOT "diet." Report
I have all ready been doing this "diet" plan since February of this year and I have lost 30 lbs. I hope to try to stick with it and see what my results will be in the end. Report
I like the name Back to the Future diet. It's kind of catchy. Living for this present moment is definitely the best advice you can give anyone. Just enjoy the moment!! Report
You've definitely described the eating style of the typical normal human. Many of us (ME!) jumped off that boat but need to get back on. Spark helps us do just that. Thanks for articulating the admirable goal and doable solution. Big encouragement, simply explained. Report
I think it is wonderful, a change I can live with, but mention diet it's stressful, this way you take it slow and change for life instead of until the scales say what you want, because before we know it the pounds start creeping back on. Life change you don't really have this problem because it is just what it says "A Change for Life". Changing life habits to change the quality of life, the way to go. Report
How about the L.I.F.E diet -- Lifelong Initiatives For Everyone.

I love this article. It really speaks the truth, and puts the whole concept of dieting out to the curb where it belongs. Lifelong approaches really do work, and have made a big difference for me. Report
Great article! How about Eating to Live? Report
How about "LivnFitnHappy" for a title. I picked my user name based on the results I chose to achieve.
Thanks for a wonderful article. The mind is always in need of lots of support when we make a change in our lives. Report

This article is exactly how I set my weight loss goals when I joined SparkPeople. Above is the web site that let me calculate my ultimate lifestyle goals for calories and exercise. Report
Living Tomorrow...Today. Nice catch. Thanks for the blog. You have reaffirmed that I am on the right track. Report
The "New Lifestyle Change" sounds good to me. Report
Back to the Future Diet! Report
Just DO IT is taken isn't it? Or mine- I put it in so I'm work'n it OFF! Report
Somehow "Forget the DIET so you don't DIE from IT" just doesn't roll off the tongue...

Thanks I needed this today. Report