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Don't you worry that your weight loss diet is SO different from 'normal' you'll never keep it up long term?

(22 Posts)
Erebus Sat 12-Jan-13 12:21:04

It occurs to me that a major problem with a lot of diets is that they require you to go so off piste from what I'd consider a normal, everyday diet for a normal, non-dieting person, i.e. the sort of things we eat and can readily access in the West (and I do not mean the bad stuff! I mean meat, veg, inc carbs like spuds, bread, pasta, rice, & dairy) that if you've been habitually eating it but perhaps a bit too much of it (hence the need to diet) that suddenly dispensing with a whole food group really won't be something you can do for ever?

Do you feel you're setting yourself up for 'failure' if you for instance just stop going out because what'll be available to eat 'out there' doesn't fit your 'new' diet? Or do you expect to be able to go 'back to normal' after a diet like Atkins has done the job?

2kidsintow Sat 12-Jan-13 13:18:21

That's why I usually gravitate back to WW or MFP (depending on whether I want the support of a weigh in or not!)

They both allow me (and encourage me) to make simple changes to lower the fat or cals in the foods I choose. And then I eat what I normally eat, but in a more mindful way.

I've looked at atkins and don't like how limiting it is.
Same with low carbing.
Same with slimming world (again, carbs the issue there for me as well as how high the syns are in things I can fit into my diet of I do WW or MFP)
Same with the 5:2 diet. I liked the simplicity, but simply can't factor into my life fasting days for part of every week.

onthemetro Sat 12-Jan-13 15:22:10

I used to find that when I did things like Slimfast, which was great for weight loss but REALLY difficult to keep up, because you're not going to want to drink shakes instead of meals for the rest of your life.

I did well on Slimming World but failed in the end because I felt too restricted, and any time I ate something over my syns I'd just think 'screw it!' and go completely off plan.

I'm doing Weight Watchers now and I really like it so far, it doesn't feel like I'm 'dieting' it just feels like I'm eating normally, BUT reining it in a bit to what I think is normal anyway grin I gained 4st in 3 years after moving in with DP and living on takeaways & chocolate, but WW just feels like how I used to eat when I was 4st lighter, and that seems to be really good for my state of mind iykwim

StarfishEnterprise Sat 12-Jan-13 15:42:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

freerangeeggs Sat 12-Jan-13 18:20:01

I agree completely with Starfish.

I lost 5st on WW and never really felt deprived. It was invaluable in teaching me about high/low fat foods.

However, the downside was that I still ate cakes etc (albeit low point ones) and my blood sugar was probably all over the place as a result. I thnk they've tried to address that with the newer plans, to be fair.

WW changed my life and was amazing for me, but recently I've lost a good bit of weight by being sensible and cutting out foods I know are unhealthy. I don't have too much to lose now as I didn't regain much of the pre-WW weight, so I'm just going to take my time and cultivate proper, healthy eating habits as I go.

TheHumancatapult Sun 13-Jan-13 08:20:20

Hmm I'm on what Yiu would call a restricted diet . Low carb and very low in calories but high in protein and been on since June with a total of around 7 days of in this time and lost over 8 stone . I have plenty of engery and feel more great than have in years

I no longer find it restrictive am aware over time when hit my goal weight I will need to add calories and carbs back slowly till find right point to maintain and It has changed way I look at food on the days of I had cake and only are half as sweet tooth has defintley gone . Which is good job as couple my dx in high fat and high calorie special diets so stuffed to brin with junk food

But my circumstances are unique to myself so it's not for everyone

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 13-Jan-13 08:24:33

At the moment I eat either carbs and veg or veg and meat/fish, seems to be working and should be sustainable in the long term but the odd meal here of there shouldn't make much of a difference. I tried the dukan and lost a lot very quickly but would have been unsustainable in the long term as I have so much to lose. SW really disliked the bloke and struggled with the sins and WW just gave up counting.

Well don humancatapault that is an amazing weight loss.

Snowkey Sun 13-Jan-13 09:01:15

Thing is portion control on "normal" food is not easy to keep up long term either - if it was we'd all be skinny. smile I think you need to find out what works for you and try to stick to it 80% of the time, allow a certain amount of going off piste.

I lost weight last year and have managed to keep most of it off with a lower carb diet, fasting and exercising - no idea how long I can keep it up but it seems to be working for me atm - much better than daily calorie restriction or portion control ever did.

Ilovemyteddy Sun 13-Jan-13 09:09:46

Absolutely agree with Snowkey about doing what works for you, both in terms of weightloss and lifestyle. I've lost 5st in the last year by low-carbing and find that it works for me because it fits in with the way that I live, and it makes me feel better both physically and mentally/emotionally.

I think that many of us just put food in our mouths without thinking about what we are eating. Any diet which makes you think about what you are eating, whether you are counting points, or, in my case, restricting carbs to 'good' ones found in most veggies, can be sustainable, as long as you make it the way that you choose to eat, not something that you are just going to do until you reach a certain number on the scales.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 13-Jan-13 09:18:32

No, because I'm not on a diet, just using MFP to make myself more aware of what I'm eating and my portion sizes. I am hoping to educate/train myself to eat normally rather than overeating.

I have lost 5 lb in two weeks so that's s welcome side effect.

If I have to use MFP or keep an equivalent food journal for the rest of my life in order to stay closer to a healthier weight then so be it.

Erebus Sun 13-Jan-13 09:24:32

Yes, I guess it would depend too on how much weight you have to lose. With all respect to those who might 'laugh' at my relatively small weight loss need, I guess you'd have to be very drastic in a complete change of lifestyle/food intake/attitude to food if you found yourself with many stone to lose to get back to a healthy weight. Maybe there'd be no 'normal' to return to. But on a 'special diet', if you had a lot to lose, you'd probably have amazing weight losses in the first few weeks which would be encouraging.

But I know it would have to be an individual thing. Some people can and do manage a complete rethink, of course.

I need to lose about 2 stone, so this weight has been put on via 'careless' eating over the years, which does amount to portion control, snacking and pinot grigio grin I have never sat down and eaten a whole packet of biscuits or a whole tub of ice cream because I had one portion and couldn't stop for instance. I've been lucky that that 'need' has never been there. But I might have had 3 biscuits.

snowkey you've sort of nailed it really with your 'no idea how long I can keep it up'. That's what would worry me!

I suspect that for me it's going to have to be 'normal' but 'mindful' (is that Paul McKenna?!). This of course will mean I will have to choose to not eat certain foods, or if I do, to balance that with not eating something else later. Like if I had a full English breakfast, it'd have to be soup for lunch and dinner sad. And I tend to eat low GI carbs by choice anyway.

I have of course been looking at the options, like the fasting diet and the low carb diet, the 'high protein no anything else' (!) one, but for me (and I can of course only speak for myself) I am increasingly thinking that my diet is just going to have to be 'normal' but mindfully eaten. So lots of psyche! I also think that what will happen is that initially I will lose weight (3lbs in week one, just ended) but that weight loss will tail right off on the same food intake, that I'd have to reduce my intake yet further to maintain anything like that rate of loss, which is where I imagine dieters fail- they get disheartened and quit as the weight loss slows to 1lb a week.

But well done everyone in their weight loss via their chosen method.

Snowkey Sun 13-Jan-13 09:43:26

Erebus - you missed my point - if I was doing Paul McKenna or "normal" food with portion control I'd have said exactly the same thing - I don't know how long I can stick to it - none of us do, some people who do Paul McKenna still rest back to their old eating habits. I'm not a person who says with conviction I'm doing something for life - that would be ludicrous, but for the moment it is working - just like when I gave up smoking nearly 20 years ago, I would only ever say - I'm not smoking today - we'll see what happens tomorrow. smile

So I don't worry about it not working in the long term because in the long term we are all dead! If it works (according to my criteria) for now, that's enough.

deliasmithy Sun 13-Jan-13 10:09:32

I think 'opting out' of normal eating has its place.

For instance I did, and still do, have behaviour routines that are hard to break unless I avoid the situation completely, I.e. I could never order less than a large dominos pizza, pile my plate at a Toby carvery, stop eating cheese once packet is open.

When faced with a large amount to lose I found getting started very hard. My ideas about calories, carbs etc were warped and therefore stopping me from losing. Two weeks solely on slim fast with support of GP was hideous, difficult, but helped break my food addiction. I had momentum to carry on my reduced eating, with normal foods.

I now own smaller plates, eat more protein, less carbs, and stop when I am no longer hungry. I had completely forgotten what that felt like.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 13-Jan-13 12:09:48

I have 6lbs of baby weight to lose (I'm on the "new mummies with wibbly tummies" thread). Depressingly, I find with age (I'm pushing 40) that to look good, you need to weigh less than you did a decade earlier- must be something to do with muscle wastage or something.

Anyway, I am doing the "low hanging fruit" approach, so as an example, I work 2 days a week, and on those days I would get a cab to work and then get a latte and a muffin for breakfast. Since Jan 1, I've replaced the coffee and muffin with a lean ham sandwich, brought from home, and a lemon tea. Saving- c. 500 cals per week. If I just did that, all other things being equal, I'd lose my 6lbs in less than a year. Tomorrow, I'm going to start walking to work (30 mins). Again, it's not major, but it'll burn a few hundred calories more a week, and I'll barely notice it. If it rains, I'll probably still get a cab, but I'm reprogramming my "norm" to be walking.

At the same time, I'm taking the "lifestyle defibrillator" approach to my worst excesses. I'm having a dry January to kick the "2 glasses of wine a night" habit, but there's no way I'm ever becoming a tee-totaller, so I'm not expecting that one to stick. Also, we've stopped getting takeaways, as we were getting 2 a week, but I'm not going to say "I'm never having a takeaway again" because I know I will. I've cut out caffeine completely to curb the coffee habit (3 lattes a day!) but in Feb I'm going to allow myself 1 small coffee a day. I guess I see the "this is banned for a month" as like a reset button- a short sharp shock to your current lifestyle, after which a more "normal" behaviour pattern can start which still allows you your treats.

I guess what I'm saying is that you can make a lot of progress just by going for the low hanging fruit. It might be a bit slower than the 1200 cals a day route, but it's also more sustainable.

Erebus Sun 13-Jan-13 12:14:25

Yes, delia- I get that entirely- that there was 'psychology' associated with food and the way you were eating it, like the whole packet of cheese; the putting a 'fire break' in (the fortnight on Slimfast) allowed you a breather to take stock. And I bet you got the boost of seeing significant weight loss.

snowkey -so it's probably a question of degrees of change. If I eat reasonably healthily normally but just too much of it, it should by rights be easier for me to just cut back (ie portion control) rather than go one a cabbage water and fasting diet (joke!), then try and ease back towards 'normality' or maintenance from there.

To me, 'low carb, fasting and exercise' are 2 out of 3 things that to me I know would be 'a step too far' in sustainability, or maybe 1 1/2 things in that yes to exercise, half yes to low carb (I tend to choose low GI anyway) but no to fasting. As I said, of course it's individual but I do wonder how many diets fall over because of the existence of the trundling behemoth that is Real Life, ready to swallow us back up once we become less vigilant. For instance, I have to do 80/20 because in my life there will always be 20% of the time that I will find myself in a situation where I either don't want to or it would be inappropriate to impose 'my diet' on a social situation. But then, I can eat a meat samosa and leave it at that, not the whole plateful. I know I am fortunate in that regard!

Obviously I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, but extensive reading on this forum does reveal quite a lot of difficult psychology around food- so maybe some people, more than me, really do need to do something totally different to what they've been doing, maybe there's a psychology there too: "I have completely shunned my giant pizza and 2 litre of fat coke habit etc etc and am now on - I dunno, Dukan? India?- in order to make the head-space 'break' with that old way of doing things".

I guess if there never was or hasn't been 'normal' in your dietary life for years, adopting A Diet such as those mentioned would make a valid replacement.

Erebus Sun 13-Jan-13 12:16:02

'X' posted with you rich- I like the 'low hanging fruit' analogy!

Branleuse Sun 13-Jan-13 12:28:00

that's why i like mfp . There is no point doing a diet. Its about changing your eating patterns for life. If your normal everyday eating is fattening, then Im afraid you and your family Will most likely always be fat until you change your normal everyday eating

Snowkey Sun 13-Jan-13 13:59:35

The exercise I have been doing for 6 years now - it's part of my life and I do it because it makes me feel good, healthy, strong and it burns a few calories. I miss it when I get injured, I actually enjoy it.
The low carb - is sugar free and limited starches in small portions, sugar free because I am a sugar freak - it's easier for me to say no completely to sugar than to limit it and torture myself with sweet food calling to me from the cupboard.
Fasting is done for health reasons too - we'd like to lower our risk of cancer and dementia, we don't find it too much of a struggle.
We didn't fast over Christmas, we ate more carbs than normal but didn't want to continue eating like that - it isn't our way of eating. Same for holidays - we go off piste, get home and go back to low carbing - we take our training shoes with us, we run where ever we go.

So I don't think we will go back to our previous diet, but who knows? Thing this suits us, dh and I support each other, that makes all the difference.

Babieseverywhere Sun 13-Jan-13 15:44:52

So far it has taken me 18 months to lose 5.5 stone and I also have had a healthy pregnancy in the middle of that 18 months too.

I really hope I can stick with my new way of eating, I think I can because I have no real restrictions. I don't eat special diet food, I don't restrict any type of calorie(i.e. fat, carbs, sugar). I still have takeaways, drink alcohol and eat chocolate but I aim to eat unhealthy things in moderation and less frequency than I have done in recent years. I am more successful some days than others but on average I am losing 1.5 lbs a week, so this works for me.

I aim to eat a 'good enough for me' diet whilst still aiming to make better choices when I can, to alter my habits in small ways and ensure that the majority of my food intake is reasonable.

I aim to continue this way of eating for the rest of my life. I have to...what I use to eat made me fat and unhealthy, I can't go back to that again. Logically going back to the same input will lead to the same output...not a path I want to go down again

It will take another 6 months or a year to go from overweight to healthy, a further loss of another 30 lbs. But I don't feel the need to race there, slow and steady will win the race for day smile

Debs75 Sun 13-Jan-13 15:58:11

I think it depends on:
a) how much weight you have to lose
b) how bad your diet is before dieting
c) how quick you want results
d) how focused you are.

I need to lose at least 4 stone, my diet before dieting isn't shocking but there is too much chocolate and bread, I don't mind it taking a year or two and I am not particularly focused.
Last year I did WW and lost almost 2 stone in 8 months. I cut out all chocolate, except on a friday and almost all bread. By september I had slowed down and pretty much stopped dieting and didn't put any back on till Christmas. I know I can do it, it will just be slow. I am aiming for 2 stone off this year as I will be adding more exercise in.

In contrast my bf lost almost 6 stone in 16 months by radically changing her diet. She was focused as she had to lose weight to be considered for fertility treatment. She is at goal and still losing weight as for her it has been a total life change

I think if the changes you make are radical and you don't like them then you will put weight back on when you stop dieting. Losing weight is not just diet it is learning how to stay at your goal weight

BsshBossh Sun 13-Jan-13 17:03:39

For me what's worked is doing something drastic for a few weeks eg Atkins or Slimfast then monitoring calories in MFP. What happens is that I'm enthused by the big initial weightloss then MFP helps me gauge correct portion sizes over the longer term during which time I re-educate my stomach and mind as to correct portions. I don't deprive myself of any food group but my eating habits naturally become healthier. Result = sustained, long term weight loss (even without exercise, though nowadays I go to the gym three times a week).

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 14-Jan-13 01:07:59

Agree that the best method is what suits you, and your psyche best.

The stricter methods give you a faster initial weight gain, which can be motivating, but these plans are also harder to stick to, so many people may not even make it through long enough to get motivated by that loss.

The slower methods- "change one thing" philosophy- take a lot longer, but are less intimidating. If you are extremely overweight, you could probably lose a lot of weight just by, say, committing to a big salad with protein for one meal a day, and letting the rest of the day take care of itself.

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