Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dieting Disasters...Short Term Solutions Never Last

DIET - I hate the word!  In fact, I think that single word is one of the biggest impediments there is to losing weight and keeping it off.  For one it always seems to be used in a negative context... "I gained weight and need to go on a diet"... "can't wait to get off this diet"... "I hate this diet"... "no thanks, I'm on a diet"... 

So right off the bat, the word can cause heartburn and nausea, before you put the first piece of food in your mouth.  Thus, for someone who wants to lose weight, the prospect of going on a diet can cause a lot of anxiety and may actually become a road block that discourages them from even trying.

The second problem, is that since so many diets deprive people of the foods they like, there is a tendency to cheat or quit early.  Thus, people on diets can easily become the very miserable individuals that they initially perceived all dieters to be.

The third problem, is that diets are treated as short term solutions, thus most people choose something based on promises of quick results, no matter how distasteful it really is, because they see it as a temporary situation.

BAD THINKING all the way around.  Temporary weight loss initiatives have temporary results. Typically, the minute you stop whatever program you were using to shed pounds, you will start gaining them back, so you can NEVER treat a diet as a temporary discomfort to your current lifestyle. 

According to an article on MSNBC entitled When You Lose Weight And Gain It All Back, researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed 31 long-term diet studies and found that about two-thirds of dieters regained more weight within four or five years than they initially lost.  Now that really stinks.  The only thing worse than engaging in a diet you really hate is to gain back all weight!

But the statistic is there and proven, thus it pays to think about the future before you engage in ANY activity designed to help you lose weight.  Make sure you ask the all-important question before starting anything new: "can I continue this forever?"

Speaking as someone who has defied the statistics, I never went on a "diet" per se.  Instead I changed my eating habits (slowly) to focus on eating less, paying attention to calories, and focusing on better food choices.  Trying to change a meat and potatoes guy like me to yogurt, fruit and cottage cheese wasn't a real option (still isn't).  I enjoy my food, and still eat things I like, but in moderation, among other things. 

Said another way, I make educated food decisions and control what goes in my mouth, but don't eat bizarre stuff that doesn't satisfy me.  As the MSNBC article points out, people have a tendency to put all their faith in a program created by someone else, rather than taking control of their own destiny by devising a plan (based on facts and research)  that works for them.  Look at all the celebrities that are referenced...

But on the flipside, not all diets are bad.  In fact, there are plenty of good ones out there that people use successfully all the time.  I am NOT against diets at all, just the concept of short-term dieting.

If you have read any of my posts or my book Eat Slow Walk Fast, you know my theme is "sustainable lifestyle change" and I never let up.  That's because it works and for the most part its the only thing that works for the long term.  And if you aren't committed to the long term, don't even waste your time with the short term.

Stay tuned as I profile a couple who adopted a diet plan that fit their lifestyle and not only lost weight, but improved their health as well...

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