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To Diet or Not to Diet...?

It seems like diet mania is all around me. Or, at the very least, people have certain attitudes on what is healthy and what they "should" or "should not" be eating. People use terms like "that is very bad" or "I was very naughty today" and it's been driving me crazy.

I've decided to throw it all out the window and just eat whatever I feel like eating when I get hungry. Now, I'm not talking about gorging myself but I'm trying to get into a mindset where I eat exactly what I want in exactly the right amount. For example, if I'm craving a couple of fried chicken wings, why eat cottage cheese instead because it's healthy?

Is there a sane way to approach eating in this diet-obsessed time?

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  1. I am very much anti-diet and don't believe in any forbidden foods. For me the key is to onl eat when hungry, eat food I truly enjoy and want and maintain small portions. I also try to make extra good choices if I know a meal that day is going to be exceptionally indulgent.

    1. Do you mean a sane approach to dieting or to eating in general?

      As far as dieting goes, my husband and I have been doing weight watchers for 5 weeks now. I find it very sane, and very workable. We are following their points plan, which gives each food a value based on fat/calories/fiber. Each item you eat is subtracted from your daily points allotment. There is nothing you cannot eat - so you don't feel deprived - and I have not found myself to be "starving." The focus is on living your life - but making better food choices - this past weekend when we visited family I decided not to track my points, just to eat as I wished. I didn't go crazy, but I relaxed and enjoyed things. I still lost almost 2 pounds last week. I didn't feel guilty or "naughty" and I went back to tracking my food monday morning. (We've each lost almost 20 lbs since we started!)

      Even before we started weight watchers, I tried to focus on balance. Don't eat TOO much of one thing or another and keep in mind that when they say that something causes cancer it is usally based on a study where they force fed some poor lab animal HUGE amounts of that particular food. More that you would normally consume in a balanced diet.

      Just my 2 cents. :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: jujuthomas

        I agree that ww seems to be a very sensible plan as it doesn't deny you anything and forces yout simply pay attention to what you're eating.
        That said 20lbs sounds like an awful lot to lose in 5 weeks, so I do hope you make sure you truly are staying healthy and using all of the points allotted to you : )

        1. re: hyacinthgirl

          Thank you for your concern. :)
          Things did slow down, and after 3 years I've lost 97lbs. I am in my 4th month of maintenance and feeling SO healthy. (notice my post was in 2007!)
          ww taught me portion control, and a better balance of meat/carbs/veggies on my plate.

          1. re: jujuthomas

            Oh ha! I didnt even see this was an old thread. Congratulations! That"s such a tremendous accomplishment, you should be exceptionally proud : )

      2. Do I diet? No. Do I deprive myself of things I want? Yes. I know how much food I need to eat to maintain my weight, and I know how to feed my body when it's hungry. And sometimes I really want something (a second doughnut, a piece of the Easter candy sitting on the counter) when it's not something my body wants or needs. And then I do my utmost to not eat it.

        I am constantly choosing to say "no" because saying "yes" all the time would be disastrous. So when it really is time to eat, I make whatever I'm going to eat as delicious as I possibly can, and make it as healthy as I can as well. When I eat well, I've got the room in my diet for that occasional glass of wine, cookie, etc.

        1. I think you've got the right idea. If you crave a cheeseburger, eat one. Ditto for cookies. Of course, if you crave deep-fried twinkies all the time you might be out of luck.

          What's interesting to me is how all these diets emphasize denying yourself, and very rarely stress the importance of exercise. When you see those commercials on TV, just try to read the small print at the bottom of the screen. I especially laugh at Subway's commercials. Jared sits there and talks about how he lost so much weight, and at the bottom of the sreen it says something to the effect of "Subway can be a part of a healthy diet along with exercise." He didn't just eat Subway. He worked out regularly and ate other foods as well.

          6 Replies
          1. re: mojoeater

            The Subway diet is based on only eating a 6 inch sub chosen from the 7 or so "6 grams of fat or less" list, one each for lunch and dinner. He also supposedly walked from his house to the Subway for each meal. That would make anyone who's 300 lbs lose weight.

            1. re: MeAndroo

              If he lived 5 miles from Subway and walked back and forth twice a day, I'd believe it. If it was one mile, not so much.

              1. re: mojoeater

                You have to consider how little a person exercises/how many calories they consume to get to be 300 lbs. Eating 1400 or so calories and walking 2 miles a day would definitely make someone that big lose weight. How long it takes is another story. You'll also notice that while he's thinner, he's by no means thin.

                1. re: mojoeater

                  That's extremely short sighted. You don't know what his caloric equilibrium was beforehand. For the sake of argument, suppose he consumed 2000 Kcal a day and was at a true equilibrium, he wasn't gaining mass but he wasn't losing mass either. Now suppose he's consuming only 1400Kcal a day *and* walking 2 miles a day. Just as a WAG let's call that 200 Kcal (I'm not going to bother looking it up, I'm betting that's in the ballpark). He's now working on a 800Kcal per day caloric deficit over his previously established BMR. At least until the body adjusts, that'd be roughly 4-5 pounds of body mass a week he'd expect to lose.

                2. re: MeAndroo

                  OK- he lived virtually directly upstairs from Subway and walked to classes/work in Bloomington IN which is a very walkable town- I got away without a car for 2 years when going to school there.

                  1. re: MeAndroo

                    There's a reason why most studies that are tryign to demonstrate some sort of fat reduction always try to use obese participants - pretty much anything will cause them to lose body mass.

                3. Remember the old joke.

                  "I'm on two diets, i did not get enough food on one."

                  We all know our bodies and how they change over time. And yes if you are on this site you like food. So there's a tradeoff. I am fortunate that my motabolism is pretty high. Mrs Jfood tells me all the time I should weigh 300 pounds and 30 years after graduating college I am only 15 pounds heavier that my "fighting" weight.

                  Do I diet? No i moderate and exercise. If I have a bigger than normal lunch (usually with a client) I cut back on dinner (nothing wrong with a bowl of honeydew). I love fruit and will eat that instead of my normal 5 scoops of ice cream while watching Sanjaya (makes me loose my appetite anyway). If I have my normal salad or grilled chicken sandwich for lunch, I'll eat a bigger dinner. And I try to hit the elliptical at least 4 times per week and sweat it out as well.

                  But some people like rules and regulations and if WW, Zone, Atkins or anything else makes you feel better, than it is good for you. Yes I went on Atkins once and lost 10 pounds in 10 days. Eating cheese eggs and meat 24/7 is fun for a while but even that regimen gets pretty old, pretty fast.

                  But remember you have one body, one heart, one liver. Take care of them. I shake my head when i hear that Tom has Type2 Diabetes and he is only 35. What a shame. Hello, he weighs 300 pounds, has a history of diabetes in his family and his idea of exercise is switching channels on the remote.

                  So it's not about the weight, it's about your health. Instead of being diet-obsessed, we should be health-obsessed.

                  Good luck to all on their eating and exercise regimen.