Do Diets Work?

- POSTED ON: Dec 04, 2011


I treat dieting as an ongoing, enjoyable hobby.

Some say that Diets don't work,
but it isn't Diets that are ineffective.
What doesn't work is the common approach to dieting
which treats dieting as a temporary fix,
instead of embracing the process of dieting
as a permanent part of one's life.

Below is a quote from an online forum
that describes this common approach.

"Dieting has made me over weight.
Because  I get all excited and motivated about a new diet,
just to not be able to stick to it for more then a couple days at best,
fall off and eat a bunch of junk for then next few days.
And I better eat it all cause I'm starting the next diet on Sunday!
It's a vicious cycle and it'll make you fat!!!"

For me, dieting is every day,
and starting or ending a different food plan (or new diet)
happens end-to-end…without any "Vacation time".
I am accountable for everything I eat, every day,
no matter what food plan, or what specific diet I'm on at the moment.
I record it all in my computer software program, DietPower.

Recording my food into a computer program is my Habit.
I don't have to decide whether or not to do it,
just like I don't have to decide whether to shower
or brush my teeth, or use the toilet.

I don't have to remember all of my food details,
because as soon as I log them into the computer,
I can put them out of my mind.

The more details a diet requires,
the more of your willpower it will sap,
and a diet in which you can't maintain willpower will fail.

My program remembers the most of the details for me,
all I have to do is look at it.
"How many calories have I eaten so far?"
"Have I eaten enough protein?"
"Have I reached my carb quota?"
My data is there,
no matter what specific diet or food plan I choose to use.

The more the way that I eat becomes a habit,
the less I exhaust my willpower through "decision fatigue".
I don't have to spend a lot of time figuring out what to eat
unless I want to, because if I don't already have something in mind,
all I have to do is look at my computer screen
to see a list of my previously selected favorites
and pick one to eat….all of the detailed info is there
and with just a click or two I've easily recorded it all.

Once this has become a Habit,
food issues become SO much easier to deal with.

For those of you who are following my “Ask Grandma” video series

Click : “Friends Who Lie" to see my latest video,

which is located in DietHobby under RESOURCES, Videos, Ask Grandma.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Dec 04, 2011 wrote:
I know the situation for the formerly obese may be very different, but it is still hard for me to understand that you feel you must chart everything. I mean, haven't you eaten rather similar meals for several years now? I have a routine most days for lunches and dinners that I guess I got into on one of the diets I tried to adhere to. Though I didn't keep to it when I was on it, the meals impressed me and I've used them as a guideline in these later years. Occasionally, when I would chart them on my first year of the No S diet on sparkpeople, I would find they fit the 40/30/30 (carb/protein/fat) pattern over and over. And the calorie count is quite consistent as well, between 350 and 500 calories, which is okay for my 5'6" body- or at least I say so. I guess I could have done the same thing with my weekend eating, but I didn't because I guess my goal since I turned 30 isn't only to weigh a certain amount. It might be someday, but my goal has been to feel that I could take or leave food. I've wanted to be free of the fear that food rules me and I want to feel free of the fear that it matters so much. I feel I am closer than ever and I don't believe that tracking my food would bring me that sense of detachment. Really, if someone were to be able to grant you a wish, would you wish for permanent thinness or permanent contentment with food and your body? I'm honest enough to admit that I doubt I could feel true contentment with a body as heavy as I used to be, but I do think can get pretty close to contentment with my eating choices just by continuing eating my three meals a day and a bit more fine tuning on what I do now on the weekends, but I don't believe that's going to make me thin. And I know for sure if I thought someone could truly grant me peace, I'd take it over thinness any day. Then again if you say it is a hobby, much like playing a musical instrument or a sport, and if that's all it is, then keeping track is just smart. The problem with dieting and all its forms is it can make you believe that your worth is dependent on adhering to it. And that down deep I will never, ever believe, no matter how much my programming has me fooled on the surface. Even now, my disappointment when I slip has more to do with the fact that it usually ruins my appetite for the next meal I know I would have enjoyed more if I hadn't overeaten!

On Dec 04, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Oolala, the foods I eat vary a great deal. Except when I am experimenting with a specific diet, I allow myself to eat whatever appeals to me, however, I find it important to weigh and measure foods and track them because if I don't do this I eat far more than my body can use. This is simply a truth of my life. I find it personally acceptable to "live to eat", and have no personal desire to detach myself from food or reach a point where I can "take or leave" food. I am not afraid of food or of eating and more than I am afraid of money or of buying things. Through a lifetime of experience of earning and spending money, I've learned how to budget and handle money in a way that is satisfactory to me. I see Food and eating as a similar thing. A person sets his/her standard of behavior for everything in their life, how they handle money, how they keep house, how they drive, how they treat people, how they dress and groom themselves, and how they eat etc. If one's behavior doesn't meet their standards of behavior, one tends to feel discontented with oneself. This is just part of being human. It has very little to do with "dieting". Everyone doesn't have to handle food the way that I do, but I offer an alternative way to look at dieting. Dieting isn't temporary, which doesn't have to be a negative thing. It can be embraced, and can become an enjoyable hobby. In order to do this, one has to shed the view that one shouldn't have to consciously think about food and that when and how and what to eat shouldn't take any thoughtful effort. I have to budget my money, and I have to budget my food. There are tools available to help me do that., and I use them.

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