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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?

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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...


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...


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?...


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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