The un-diet

10/04/2011 at 10:27 pm | Posted in weight loss | 10 Comments
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I love food.

It’s pleasure. Nourishment. Comfort. It brings people together. It’s front and center in our lives all year. Like right now, when the weather turns cool, I get excited thinking about cooking up a big pot of chili or brunswick stew. Football equals buffalo chicken and beer. Thanksgiving and Christmas are no-brainers.

Same goes for the warm months. Summer is all about hamburgers on the grill and Friday night ice-cream runs. Beach vacations are fried shrimp and hushpuppies. And at practically every party I’ve ever been to, everyone always ends up huddled together in the kitchen.

Food is social. And fun. When I was growing up, family dinners were a staple. And I’m determined to keep up that tradition with our girls, no matter how hectic life becomes. I love gathering with my family and friends over a meal. And don’t get me started on pot-lucks. Or Marc’s fresh-caught flounder. Or my mom’s meatballs.

Oookay. Back on track.

The way I love food makes it difficult to diet. I’ve actually never really been on a diet. Never counted calories, fat grams, carbs. I don’t believe in cutting out entire food groups or starving myself. To me, dieting should be about creating healthy habits that are going to stick, and there’s nothing healthy about extreme eating — in any which direction.

I do believe in moderation, and I try to eat healthy every day. I also try to treat myself, especially on special occasions. Or at sporting events, where I absolutely cannot resist a hot dog.

And all bets are off at the state fair in a few weeks.

With the exception of my two pregnancies, I generally make good food choices. Whole-wheat bread and pasta, lean proteins, skim milk, lots of fruits and veggies. But when I start over-indulging regularly (like, ahem, all summer), it’s difficult to stop. My appetite changes, my sweet tooth takes over. So I try to put on the brakes and get my diet back on track.

Like right now.

My goal this week? No sweet tea. I’m also trying really hard to cut back on desserts. But with birthday cupcakes, leftover Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer and homemade banana bread at the StrollerThon, I haven’t done so well on that one yet.

Baby steps, right?

I’m curious. Has a particular diet worked for you? Was it sustainable?


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  1. I followed the idea of Weight Watchers and I’ve lost close to 50 pounds, not including the baby weight. I’m not a calorie counter so the point system only helped so much. What did help was food journalling. I just downloaded an ap for my phone and input what I ate. I already made decent decisions regarding eating but seeing what I was eating is what worked for me.

  2. I honestly can’t say enough good things about Weight Watchers. The new Points Plus program puts such an emphasis on eating fruits and veggies and really making the most out of your points for each day. I’ve lost 18 lbs and I’m 9 lbs from my goal weight!

  3. Honestly? The ONLY diets that have ever worked for me are depression & Nutrisystem. I get really thin when I’m depressed because I lose all will to eat or survive.

    Nutrisystem did beautifully for me, but it is pricey & it does get tired eating the same food out of the same package months on end. I really missed “real” food after several months of the program, even though I was losing weight wonderfully. But even Nutrisystem couldn’t combat with the meds I was taking & I gained back about 15 lbs, even on the NS diet.

    So…all that to say that I have no clue. Which is why I’m 15 lbs heavier than I want to be.

  4. I’m an advocate for the moderation diet. In college after I gained my freshman 20+ I started doing moderate eating. I slowly started to cut out the “bad” foods. Each week or so I would have a new challenge to cut back/out a certain food. I lost my freshman 20 and a little more.

    To this day I still drink only water, it became a lifestyle not a diet.

  5. Weight watchers girl! They teach you a lifestyle, and get your mind away from thinking it’s a diet, worked for me because of that, you can eat anything really but they teach moderation and I’ve found so many different ways to make healthy foods taste good but you can still have that donut every now and then! I’m cutting out sweet tea too and learning how good unsweetened can be with a little lemon and sweetener, also crystal light peach iced tea is great, no calories….

  6. I’m the same as you – love food and the camaraderie it brings, never really “dieted”, and can’t imagine cutting out whole food groups. Moderation is what makes sense to me when I need a little caloric tweaking. One thing that has helped me before, though, is cutting out desserts at work. We eat lunch in a cafeteria in our building, and each day there’s a delicious dessert down there. So I would just bypass that table all together to avoid the temptation, and save the calories for something I knew I’d be enjoying at home that night. (I have a huge sweet tooth, so cutting out dessert all together for me is crazy talk!) Like your cupcakes, B & J’s, and banana bread. ๐Ÿ™‚ Little things do add up!

  7. You just described my love affair with food to a T. It is SO social for me and often the highlight of my week when I know we are going to eat out somewhere. I find that focusing on exercise is the best way for me to stay on track. Making responsible choices is key, but I just seem to be better at it when I am at the gym a couple times a week. I think it’s in my head, but hey. Whatever ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck!

  8. I used to hate the people that said it…but moderation is really the only way to go. That & exercise. I finally figured this all out about 4 years ago. I am by no means really thin, but I’m happy where I am, don’t deprive myself of foods I love & feel healthy.

    I went waaaaaaay overboard with food & really slacked on the exercise last month…I can feel it! So, I’m getting back on track right now, too.

  9. I’m a Weight Watchers lifetime member, but found that the new US 2010 government dietary guidelines are just as effective and very easy to follow. For your meals, you use a 9″ plate and fill half with fresh fruits and vegetables. The other half is split between proteins and whole grains, along with a nonfat or low-fat dairy serving on the side. The emphasis is on fresh, healthy choices and a lot fewer sweets and fats. The My Plate website lists lots of information, meal ideas, etc. I’ve found that this nutrition plan is convenient to follow anywhere I’m eating. I don’t feel deprived and am steadily losing weight without having to take the time to record points, weigh foods or count calories. Exercise will help the pounds come off more quickly…but I still need some motivation there! Good luck!

  10. Honestly, the only diet that has really worked for me was low carbing, but it is not sustainable. I consider it a modified low carb diet b/c I eat as many vegetables as I want. I fell off the wagon for my birthday, and I’m trying to get back on. Like you, this time of year is all about eating, and I can practically feel my body yelling “pasta! sweet potatoes! carbs!” I’m trying to figure out how I can make eating fewer carbs more of a lifestyle than a strict diet. I need to get upstairs and spend some quality time on my treadmill, and it also helps that I don’t like chocolate (I know, freaky).

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