The "Un-diet"

Diets don't work. Or so they say. At least they don't work forever. Define diet.
OK. A diet is a temporary eating program that changes what and how you eat, often drastically, with the intention of losing weight rapidly. You or the dictionary may disagree with my definition. I'm just stating what I'm using as a working definition for this post.
I guess I would have to further amend my opening statement. Diets may work but they usually have some intrinsic problem. For example, I was a vegetarian for about 2 years in my 20s. I had no problem whatsoever avoiding meats because I simply set a strict rule about it. There was no need for constant decision making - should I or shouldn't I - it was just off my radar screen. I didn't miss it and, in fact, the thought of eating meat grossed me out. The problem with it was that it limited my interaction with non-vegetarians. There was often some awkwardness when invited out to dinner or at someone's home to refuse offered foods with graciousness.
More recently, I did Atkins for about 2 years . Again, I enjoyed the diet for the most part and had no problem whatsoever avoiding carbs because I just put them off my radar but it turned out to be a burden on my wife. She did not subscribe to the diet herself and not only had to cook with my needs in mind but also she felt it separated us in a fundamental way.
Of course, most diets worth their salt (pun not intended), recognize that in order for a desired healthy weight to be permanently maintained, the diet must become a lifestyle.
Nowadays, my thoughts on this are, why not develop the lifestyle from the outset more as a way of viewing food and eating and forget about what you can and cannot eat.
Make small, gradual adjustments in what and how much you eat and settle for slow weight loss over an extended period of time. As with everything, this is a personal matter and the more extreme approach may in fact, work well for some people. In my case, what has worked is recognizing a few problem areas and coming up with ways to deal with that. One problem was snacking at work. There was always the vending machine with not very healthy choices and the problem of lots of free food from meetings and lunches. More often than not it was pizza and desserts. I have counteracted that by determining to eat raw fruits and vegetables for snacks that I bring from home. It doesn't really counteract hunger that well (eating a bag of baby carrots is like eating a bag of nothing) but it gives my mouth and hands something to do when I'm staring at the monitor. Occasionally, I will have a Snickers or something in the afternoon which is when I usually have a carb attack but I really am getting away from it and it is becoming increasingly rare. I am developing an aversion to it.
The other big problem is eating after supper up till bedtime. I am dealing with that by going to bed earlier which kills 2 birds with one stone. I needed to get more sleep. I find that the longer I stay up and the more tired I get, the harder it is to resist the temptation to eat or drink.
This approach has been working well so far. I am losing weight and I don't feel like I am dieting.

Posted in |