At least not for me.
I mean, they work temporarily, but clearly they don’t work long-term. Even if the “diet plan” is called something else (“this isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”), I’m still changing my eating habits in a way that isn’t going to be permanent, so let’s just call it what it is = diet!! 😉
So, I’m not going to diet, because it doesn’t work for me!!!
Of course, it’s not like I have any better ideas right now, other than what I blogged about last: logging my food so I’m just more aware of what I’m putting into my mouth. I’ve used MyFitnessPal.com in the past, and it’s a fine site, but after using Lose It! for a couple days, I like it better. It syncs well with my phone (and I like the mobile app better than the MyFitnessPal mobile app) and it also syncs with the gadget I’m really wanting to buy to help me be more active, in general: a Fitbit Ultra*.
*Quick sidenote: If you know me at all in the real world, y’all know I’m a technology junkie. I’m also very competitive and I am the most competitive with myself. So, a wireless activity tracker that has Wifi seems likes the perfect motivator to be more active!
Ok, back to the food issue. I had considered signing up with Weight Watchers again, but in the end, I’m just no longer willing to spend money on a diet, because it’s literally cost me thousands of dollars over 10 years to realize that diets don’t work, and I’m just throwing money away to temporarily lose weight and eventually just gain it back again.
I would love to hear from those of you who have had long-term success with this gluttonous battle. I am just basically at a loss as to where to go next, although I’m excited to start the 12-week Made to Crave study, since the book was awesome, but the study has a 6-week Action Plan study to go along with it!
Success stories anyone? I could use a little encouragement that this demon is possible to overcome!! 🙂
5 thoughts on “Diets Don’t Work!!”
I don’t know if you are interested in the maintenance tips of someone who has never been seriously overweight (the most I ever gained was 20 pounds when I quit smoking, which I have kept off for more than eleven years now), but here goes:
1. Weigh yourself EVERY day, first thing in the morning, immediately after you potty. I know this can be frustrating, especially if you are working out because you may be gaining muscle and losing fat, but you need IMMEDIATE recognition of when you are getting out of control. When you weigh yourself in the morning, every morning, you have quicker recognition of what the results are from yesterday’s eating. We are moving yet again, and the scale and my weight records (going back to 2001) will literally be the last thing I pack and the first thing I unpack.
2. I try to maintain my weight within a three pound range. You may fluctuate more than that, but pick a fairly tight range (5-8 pounds) in which you won’t be demoralized and tempted to give up if you reach the top of it. When I start getting close to the top of that range, I do what I call “locking it down” and I force myself to be VERY strict with what I consume for the next few days. Sometimes this means not eating much or fasting. I use being really busy as an excuse to not eat, but when I do eat, I know I must make good choices, no matter how hungry I am.
3. Don’t diet. You must eat the same way ALL the time. You must stop the roller coaster. You must acknowledge that the way you eat when you are “off diet” makes you gain weight, so you must come to terms with the fact that you can never eat like that again if you don’t want to be heavy. I am always trying new ways of eating, but I don’t “diet” and I don’t deprive. That being said, I don’t have a big meal or dessert more than once a week.
4. Eat two meals a day, max.
5. Don’t snack. If you have two (or three) meals a day AND snacks, your opportunities for overeating are maximized. Eat just a little bit too much a couple times a day and you’ll be gaining instead of maintaining.
6. Eat your first meal as late in the day as possible. I am a morning person, up between 5 and 6AM, and I can usually put off eating until between 11AM and 1PM. I call this daily fasting. It won’t hurt you a bit.
7. Eat lots of veggies before you eat anything else at big meals or buffets. This will automatically reduce your calorie intake and increase your fiber intake.
8. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners from your everyday life. Sugar should be reserved for your one binge meal or dessert once a week, even fruit. If you MUST snack, make it a savory one, not a sweet one. Sugar is poison. Fat cells, cancer cells, and bacteria all eat sugar. Not something we want to encourage happening in our bodies.
9. Be picky. When eating out I am VERY picky. You simply do not need a full restaurant meal, ever. Restaurant meals make most men gain weight. What do you think that does to a woman? For the places at which you eat frequently, look up their menus online, and decide in advance and memorize what items are appropriate (under 500 calories for the entire meal) and what are not. Whenever we go somewhere, I already know what I’m getting and don’t have to make decisions when I’m hungry. If I have a sandwich, I get it without the bun with a small side. If I get a sandwich with the bun, I get sandwich and water, no sides, no soda, and throw out half the bun. I don’t eat a lot of salads, but I do occasionally order a side as a meal (or an appetizer – but be very careful, some apps have more calories than should be eaten in a day). For example, this list is just from memory:
a. Wendy’s – small chili with cheese and baked potato. I dump the chili on the potato and top with sour cream. Throw out the margarine/butter and don’t use the chili sauce, it’s loaded with sugar.
b. Chick-fil-A – grilled chicken sandwich (NOT the club) with one packet of honey bbq sauce and small diet lemonade. Breakfast: chicken biscuit (throw away half the biscuit) with one packet of honey bbq sauce and small diet lemonade.
c. Carl’s Junior – six-dollar cheeseburger, protein style and water.
d. In-N-out – double double, no sauce (add ketchup & mustard), protein style and water. Or just fries with a ton of ketchup (not really enough protein, but when I really want fries, these are my favorite).
e. Rubio’s – one traditional fish taco, small side of black beans, and water.
f. Los Betos (or any of the –berto’s) – one shredded beef taco with lots of hot sauce and a small horchata. Breakfast: ham and egg and cheese and potato burrito with TONS of hot sauce, but cut it in half and wrap up the other half before eating, then don’t eat the very end that has all the tortilla wrapped up.
g. Jack in the Box – two jack tacos and water. Breakfast: breakfast jack and milk
h. McDonald’s – cheeseburger or mcnugget happy meal, NOT the mighty kids meal (ironically, it’s too many calories for a meal for an adult female). Breakfast: egg mcmuffin with milk or chicken biscuit with water.
10. Avoid sit-down chain restaurants where you can’t look up calorie counts prior to going. Fast food is (amazingly and ridiculously) much less caloric. There’s a reason those restaurants don’t list their nutrition facts and calorie counts online. Nutritionists can’t even figure out what the lowest calorie items are on those menus. Things that you think are healthy or low-calorie, aren’t. Ruby Tuesday has a turkey burger that has more than 1,000 calories. Even restaurant salads can be 1,800 calories, more than almost all women should eat in an entire day. Ugh. Save these for your once a week binge meal.
11. Hunger is NOT an emergency. Get used to the feeling, then eat a SMALL amount, not nearly enough to fill you up. This will help you deal with hunger and make better decisions. Most people panic when they get too hungry, and this causes them to make bad decisions, not only about what they eat, but also the amount they consume.
12. Fast one or two days a month (not in a row). Liquids only, like broth or V-8 (I like heating it up, then sipping it from a cup so I can pretend it’s soup), NO fruit juice.
13. Don’t eat what Mike eats. I don’t EVER eat what Dan eats, even though I’m tempted to justify eating that much by telling myself that I can eat as much as him because he needs to lose weight and I don’t. Even with him on a diet and me not, he can reasonably eat about twice what I can. Women simply don’t have the muscle mass to burn nearly as many calories as men.
14. Don’t eat ANYTHING that doesn’t taste good. I’d rather eat nothing than something that tastes just okay. When something stops tasting good, stop eating it. Period. It’s not worth the calories. Ever.
Some of these are counterintuitive and exactly the opposite of what most “professionals” will tell you, but this is what has worked for me (and is now working for my 60 year-old mom) over the years. I fear gaining weight again because I’m terrified that I won’t be able to lose it like I did last time. I think this is where your previous success losing weight hurts you, because it makes you not worry enough to maintain and you tell yourself that you can lose it later because you have already done it so many times.
Finally, you should be able to maintain your weight with diet alone. Realistically, a human does not need to exercise to maintain a weight. Not having time to exercise is not a valid excuse for gaining weight. You do need vigilance and a commitment to your health, NO MATTER WHAT. I exercise a ridiculously small percentage of the time, but when I do, I make it something high-impact and low-time commitment (like kettlebell swings) because I don’t do it that often (unless it’s something I enjoy, like hiking).
That’s it. Love you and I KNOW you can do this.
Nicole – THANK YOU!! You are so incredibly encouraging and awesome for taking the time to type this out. I think there is some fantastic information for me in here!!
As far as the exercise part goes, I think you’re right. BUT, I also know that you’re a lot more active than me, in general (you actually do things that are active for recreation, which generally, we do not), which is why I feel the need to compensate with some exercise.
Since I work from home, I spend VERY little time doing anything other than sitting at my desk or on the couch. I know that I don’t need to do stringent exercise a ton (although I LOVE Zumba, so I want to capitalize on that!), but I just need to be more active. This is what I’m hoping the Fitbit helps with. 🙂
Thank you again – love you too and miss you guys so much!! 🙂
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I’m so sorry about your frustrations with weight loss!! It is so so tough. I’ve had a rough couple weeks myself, but am recommitting today! I think we just have to keep trying and NEVER give up. We all fall off the wagon and get into ruts from time to time, but you just have to keep pushing forward.
I agree with you that diets just don’t work, so over the past couple of years I’ve slowly made permanent changes in my life that have proven to work. I wish I could still eat my favorite foods/treats all the time and stay thin, but I know I can’t. 😦
So, here are the basic things I’ve learned that have helped me…
Eat 5-6 small meals a day (eat until you are satisfied, not FULL) This is tough, but really, really helps.
Drink tons and tons of water (at least 3-4 liters a day)
Get enough SLEEP! This is so tough for me, but if I’m tired and sleep deprived, all of my healthy efforts just go out the window!!!
Weigh yourself regularly and hold yourself accountable. If your weight starts to creep up….get a little more strict until the weight gets back to normal.
Strive to exercise HARD at least 3-4 times a week. Walking is great, but by HARD I mean running, kick boxing, boot camp, weight lifting, etc. Something that completely wears you out and leaves you dripping sweat (sorry to paint that picture, but you get the point.)
EAT WELL ALL THE TIME! This is so hard because we eat several times a day every day!! But, we need to make good choices every time! You can eat well all week long and then blow it all with one bad day. When I’m “on”, I really limit processed food and only eat really healthy carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruit, oatmeal and quinoa. I don’t eat any bread (except for Ezekiel).
Well, those are my basics that I strive to live by. I struggle all the time too, but keep coming back to these basic rules. It is so so so tough!! Good luck!!!
Thank you Melanie! You’re always so encouraging and inspiring to me!!
Last week was actually really successful for me. I DIDN’T diet, just paid attention to what I was eating (even had Taco Bell in there!) and I ended up losing over 5 lbs!! Of course, it’s week 1 of eating healthier, so that’s a lot of water weight and such, but still – that’s pretty good no matter how you look at it!
The exercise thing still alludes me. We do Zumba a couple times a week, but it’s hard getting our schedules (and healthy kids) to collide lately…