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Epiphany: DIET vs. LIFESTYLE CHANGE

I've been reading people's success stories and logs all morning and something just hit me. I've heard people say over and over that to lose weight and keep it off, you have to change the way you eat for life. Diets don't work because as soon as you stop the diet and start eating "normal" again, you go back to being the way you were before...fat, unhealthy, etc. This is something I've known for a while, but I don't think the reality of it hit me until today. I am still thinking in DIET terms. In my mind, I am eating and excercising a certain way as a means to an end...the end being a skinnier and happier me. This way of thinking is wrong, and I'm realizing that, but I'm not sure how to reprogram myself after all these years of being a dieter. I know it's possible for other people, but how do I prove to myself that it is possible for me???

Thu. May 17, 11:25am

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Over the past year or so, I've bee "on and off" of my diet, but I've managed to not put any weight back on. I've lost 60 pounds since last may, but my weight from January until now has not changed much (I'm within a pound of where I was the last time I relaxed the diet a bit).

I was using the weight watcher's program (so calorie counting) but one of the things I did was try to eat different foods than I was - a lot more veggies, fruits etc. so even though it was a diet, I've managed to change my habits enough that as soon as I"m off the diet, my weight doesn't shoot through the roof.

Along the same lines, I used to go our for chicken wings with 'the boys' almost weekly. It's been a while since I"ve even eaten wings now.

If you're dieting, pay attention to eating good foods, and not just the calories. If you can change your habits now, then they'll come along with you when you're not on a diet any more.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 2:15 PM

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I try to think of it as "you are what you eat". Garbage in, garbage out. I hate diets because the focus is usually on how to eat less calories and most people do that by eating foods with little to no nutrition. Try to focus on what you need to fuel your body just like fueling your car. You need a certain amount of fiber, water, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals for your brain, heart, liver, etc to work properly. Try to pay attention to how you feel 20-30 minutes after you eat and decide if what you ate is serving you well. If you are not sure what to eat or how much fiber, protein, water, etc you need then try to find a nutrition class at your local community college or ask your doctor to prescribe a visit to a nutritionist. Good luck and if you want to have more conversation my screen name is EcoGirl

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 2:27 PM

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epiphany: It's a lifestyle change

This time around I am doing something different. I am not going to follow anyone's plan with all its specific rules about what you can and can't eat. Lifestyle change for me means eating normal food, but less food and healthier. No eating because I'm bored, upset, anxious, whatever. I will stop eating when I am full, and not go past that point. I don't want to eat diet food. I will work on improving my habits such as the amount of water I drink, work on making exercise a regular habit and maing sure I get enough sleep. It is a means to end, weight loss, but by the time I get to that point of the journey i hope to have incorporated these habits so that I will not stop when I reach the goal. I will have times that I slip up, but I will not beat myself up about it and let it all slide downward again. I will continue to eat the same way after I reach goal because I will never have been on a DIET. I will just change my relationship with food from an abusive one to a healtier one. Food is one of the pleasures of life. I may never get to liking exercise, but liking what it does for me and so I will continue to do it. This is my plan and vision for my lifestyle change. I will work on develpoing thiese habits one day at a time, until I no longer have to conscously make myself do them, but do them automatically.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 2:37 PM

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I was going to say something close to what EcoGirl said...and not many people seem to think that way, but that is EXACTLY where I'm coming from. I'm not doing WeightWatchers or counting anything...I'm eating food that is less prepared, less chemical fillers, less preservatives, etc., "Closer to the ground" is how I think of it...like trying to eat more basic and natural stuff.

I think it dawned on me when I saw a friend of mine I haven't seen in quite a while...she has lost about 100 pounds in the last 2 years...the thing is she has done it with a "dieting" mentality so as soon as she hit a weight she was okay with "dieting" was over and it was back to eating total junk food. She works out like a fiend just so she can afford to eat as many cookies and chips and fries as she wants. Thin doesn't necessarily equal healthy arteries. So my focus has become not obsessing over how much I'm eating in terms of calories, but more looking at if what I'm eating is GOOD for me and does good things for my body.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 3:49 PM

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This message is to the person who wrote the 4th post in this string at 3:49pm. What group do you belong to? Is there room for one more. Thank you. EcoGirl

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 4:22 PM

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OP here...

I'm so glad you all commented. That's why I love this site. Everyone is helpful and it is good to get different viewpoints.

I did want to ammend one comment I made in my original post regarding this not being the means to an end. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to lose weight...that is definitely a goal I've set. But by incorporating lifestyle changes as opposed to simply dieting, I hope to make this the means to a new beginning. A new life in which I make healthy choices and can finally start winning this battle with the bulge.

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 4:37 PM

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EcoGirl!

Haaahaha! I realized right AFTER I posted that that I didn't put my name on it...and didn't want to look like a big dork and repost!

My name is yurasi (not in real life, mind you, that would be tragic!)...shoot me an email if you like at yurasi@gmail.com and we can talk!

Thursday, May 17, 2007, 5:09 PM

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I think you've hit on the right question! I asked this question myself about four months ago, and the result has been a complete lifestyle change and I'm banging my hand against my head like 'Why didn't I see this before? It's so SIMPLE."

Here's what I finally realized: The key is to do it *gradually* so you get used to each change before you add a new one. Also, you're a grown-up, and you're in charge. That means it i's okay to reject a change if it doesn't feel right. Push yourself to give it a fair try, but if you hate it, do something else--or add your own twist which makes it palatable for you. Don't let others tell you what to eat--you need to figure out your own lifestyle, without pushing yourself too fast on the things which are going to make you want to quit.

For example, it took me very little time to enjoy eating mostly lean protein--fish, tofu, chicken. Fruits and veggies weren't so bad either. Whole grain bread started to taste good. But brown rice? FORGET IT. Not even mixed half and half. It made me miserable. So I kept eating white, and pursued other changes. But iI remained open to trying brown rice again. So when I read online that cooking brown rice in chicken broth made it taste better, I tried again, and liked it enough to mix half and half with white rice.

If the gradual change approach might be for you, there's a few books that can help. My favorite is Thin For Life, and its companion Eating Thin for Life. Both focus on interviews with "masters" who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off. Another good book is Secrets of the Lean Plate Club.

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 12:15 AM

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p.s. I also loved yurasi's post!

I'd love to have a regular group to discuss these issues. I just joined a team called I"m in it for Life, which is small so far with nice people. Perhaps others would be interested in joining?

If people want to start another group/team with a lifestyle focus I'd be interested in that as well!

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 12:22 AM

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A couple of months ago someone asked me, are you going to have to eat this way for the rest of your life?
Well of course my answer was yes. But the thing is, I like my food. I really enjoy it. I love to cook and share what I have created.
I do think of it as a lifestyle change.
I guess food was my enemy but it sure seemed like my friend. It was there to comfort me.
I still struggle with wanting certain foods that are not good for me. And so I give myself a day or two a month and have what I am craving. That may not work for everyone but it does for me. And each and every month I am reminded how much my body loves my new food choices. No longer does my body easily process fried or sugary foods.
So each month I am reminded that I am being good to myself and caring for myself in a way that I never have before and because of this for the first time I have hope for the future.
My dr recently asked me what had changed that I was so much happier? Obviously the weight loss had helped but I said, I have my hope back. When the hope went, so did the health.
Anyway, lifestyle change, ya that is what it is all about.
My two cents anyway.

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 4:19 AM

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LOVE this thread and I am in total agreement with many of the posts. It most absolutlely is lifestyle change...really, better said, LIFE change.

I don't want to repeat the wisdom here but I would like to add to the list..

Living is not about perfection, it is about adapting AND some days are better than others. The changes I have made involve a learning curve and sometimes I forget or have a bad day. So I need to go back to the drawing board on a fairly regular basis. What works on a beautiful spring day may not work in the winter.

That's where "diets" fall short. It is following directions and it isn't driven by learning for real what your body needs during hot weather, cold weather, when you are not getting enough sleep, when you are feeling stress, when everything is great. This learning take practice and let me tell you after about 5 years of slow weight change I am still learning to listen. But I am definitely on an improvement curve, I am healthier than I have been in years, and I am no longer wearing 4x's, instead "regular" sizes. It's been more than 20 years since I have been in this kind of place. No more "diet-head", real life is here to stay.

I'd love to be part of a team that has this focus...

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 1:30 PM

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Ha...here's a possible name...the "epiphany sisters and brothers - no more diet head thinking."

Excuse the irreverence but I think you are on to something great and it is fun to be wild and crazy around a new way to focus.

First step, burn all those traditional diet books. But wait, we don't do steps!

;-) really, all kidding aside I will join in a minute!

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 1:35 PM

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Let's start one!

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 11:09 PM

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I think people obviously want to lose weight as fast as possible; they get disillusioned if the're not thinner within a few days! So they starve themselves, or stick to impossibly strict diets and workout regimes. But making small changes gradually (as someone upthread said), is what will stick, because you can maintain it and the weight won't all come back when you stop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 4:56 AM

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What a great thread :)



Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 9:32 AM

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