Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't Put the "Die" in Diet

"Small changes yield big results"... that's a phrase I've been living for the past ten months and it's changed my life. I recently stated in one of my "Healthy Living" posts that I don't believe in fad diets, cutting out entire food groups and/or specific colors of food. After writing that, I received a message on facebook from a friend that said she felt I wasn't being open minded and would have trouble attracting clients as a nutritionist. I replied back and stood by what I said. It was a mature exchange on both of our parts and yes, we're still friends on facebook. :)

I've been thinking a lot about it and wanted to reiterate my position and further explain what my "diet" is all about. First, let's talk about the word diet. As I stated yesterday, I'm using that word to discuss the food I ingest each day. Diet isn't the bad word, "dieting" is the word I like to try to avoid.

I'd also like to mention that yes, there are people who must be on specific diets that limit or avoid particular types of food, those with diabetes or gluten allergies, etc. But for our purposes and my lifestyle, I'm talking about people without these medical restrictions.

The diet I follow is simply the USDA food pyramid. Nothing is off limits... ever. We don't tell people what to eat, we let people eat what they like and ask them to write down everything they eat and to count calories, which in the beginning, I will admit can seem tedious. People really don't like that part, I really don't like that part, but after doing it for a couple weeks, people admit that it does work. I still journal my food, not every day, but I am able to calculate my calories in my head. When I really need to focus, I journal. Honestly, those are the weeks that I lose the most weight.

By learning about nutrition, I have been able to make intelligent choices about what I am eating. Have I started eating more whole grains and less white flour, more fruit and less processed sweets with white sugar? SURE! That's a healthier diet but did I give all those things up? HECK NO! I am after the "forever factor" and if I were asked to give all those things up, I'd lose weight for sure but I'd never be able to keep it off forever. I can say that confidently because I've done it before. I've lost hundreds of pounds. Many, many times. The diets I followed all had good parts to them but they were too restrictive for me to be able to keep the weight off forever AND they didn't teach me how to eat for the rest of my life. Most people love hearing that there is nothing off limits when you're trying to live healthy, a little extra work in writing down your foods and counting calories and you WILL lose weight. The only place where success comes before work, is in the dictionary.

By making small changes, cutting 500 calories a day and adding enough water to keep yourself hydrated, it's possible to lose weight and keep it off forever. There are lots of websites that will tell you approximately how many calories a day your body needs to survive, you can use that as a guide. Cutting 500 calories a day is easy. EASY! Leave the butter off your bread, -100 calories! Choose a "deli flat" over two slices of bread, -140 calories! Choose skim milk over whole milk, -50 calories! Skip that "mini" bag of chips at lunch time and eat a 100 calorie bag of popcorn instead and you've eliminated 500 calories easily! Add more movement or exercise to that and you've eliminated even more. Cutting 500 calories a day will equal a pound a week and before you know it, you'll be losing weight, keeping it off and hardly even noticing those small changes you make.

So I guess that kind of sums it up. I do not believe in fad diets, I do not believe that you have to cut out entire food groups or all white foods or that you can't eat after 6:00 PM, etc. I believe in basic, healthy, balanced eating, calories in vs. calories out and being mindful about what you eat. It's worked for me for almost ten months now. I'm proud to say, I've NEVER had a gain and it's worked for my diet guru, Ms. Phyllis for ten years. She just celebrated her 10 year anniversary of losing 104 pounds! I think I'll believe in those results for sure!

Have a great Monday everyone! Stay healthy!


Running Jen said...

Totally agree with you! It's exactly how I do it, and I love seeing that you're doing it the same way. I've known too many people that do "fad" diets, only to gain the weight back. Fad diets just make me crazy, I'm an everything in moderation kind of gal.

A Southern Accent said...

Totally needed to hear this today. I'm feeling really frustrated with my weight and everything and this is a great way to appraoch it.

gnome517 said...

as I like to say at work: it's a LIVE-IT, not a DIE-IT :)

Chrissy Cuz said...

Good advice Caren Cuz. You are proof it works. What an inspiration. :o)