Is There A Right Way?

- POSTED ON: Sep 07, 2012

                                            
I am certain that there is NO One-Right-Way to lose weight.
However there are plenty of wrong ways,
and what's right for one person is almost certainly wrong for another.

My body doesn’t provide me with the ability to eat intuitively. I put every bit of food that goes into my mouth into my computer food journal. I also use my food journal to help guide me in my decisions of what to eat. I see looking at the calories ..and other nutrients…when I eat as like looking at price tags when I shop. Just like price isn't the only consideration when shopping, neither are calories the only consideration when eating. Food is also in my life to celebrate and comfort, and therefore knowing the amount of calories doesn't always lead to low-calorie choices.

Brian Wansink is a brilliant researcher based out of Cornell whose life's work revolves around mindless eating. His recent research study determined that consuming crackers from 100 calorie packs vs. large bags, cut consumed calories by 25%.

I’ve noted that tracking in a computer food journal protects me against mindless eating by allowing for the use of calories in decision making. There are people who feel that you don't need to count calories to eat mindfully, and that there are other ways of journaling, and that one is better served by paying attention to how one’s body feels, and/or to one’s psychological state.

So who's right? Should one eat intuitively, or should one count calories? And looking at an even larger picture, should one do low-carb, slow-carb or low-fat? Should one include cheat days or no-cheat days? Should there be forbidden foods, or should everything be allowable? These questions could go on and on.

I’m a member of The National Weight Control Registry … which is the world's largest prospective study of people who have been successful with long-term weight management. It tracks how people have lost weight before they register within the program. The average registrant has lost about 65 pounds and kept it off for more than five years. The Registry’s records indicate that while there are some behaviours which are shared by a large majority of registrants, …such as eating breakfast and exercising, … there is an enormous variety in the way each of these registrants' manage their own weight.

As of today, Amazon.com has more than 71,000 titles with the word, "diet" in them. And truthfully, each of these diets probably all 'work' for someone. However, many of these diets will probably provide a temporary result only, because one needs to actually like the way one lives in order to keep living ..or weighing .. that way.

I agree with Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, MD when he says :

“It's about living the healthiest life that you can enjoy, not the healthiest life that you can tolerate, because if your life is simply tolerable, you're not likely to keep living that way. To take an extreme example, while becoming a teetotaling, vegan, shut-in, marathon runner might well help you to manage your weight, is that a life you'd be willing, or even able, to live with forever?”


One’s bodyweight involves many different variables. Some of these are within our control, and some are not. There are some things in our lives that we can change to help manage our weight, but there are also some things in our lives, which affect our weight, that we either won't be able, … or won't be willing,…to change.

We can use our scale numbers … weight, body mass index, body-fat percentage…. to see where we are in life, and to decide whether or not to Diet. But it can be a mistake to set detailed and arbitrary goals based on those specific numbers, because the ultimate goal that we actually need is to live the healthiest life that we can enjoy.

There is no point in trying to live a life that we can't sustain. The personal cost of reaching and maintaining some table's definition of “ideal” might be too high for some of us. We are rightfully proud and satisfied with our personal best in every other area of our lives, and our personal best is also good enough weight wise.

So if you want to lose-weight, or maintain weight-loss, which diet should you choose?
Whatever works for you. Whatever you can honestly see yourself doing for the rest of your life. If there were only One right way, we'd all be doing it.


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