Lifetime Diet Plans? Enough Already!

Post Holiday Panic

This is the time of year when the big and highly successful weight loss companies lie in wait for the post holiday panic they hope most women will experience when they step on the scale.  It’s a perfect time for them to offer you specials and tell you it is imperative that you get that excess weight off NOW.  

What’s really interesting about the major diet plans is they have lifetime memberships. The plans work like this: Initially you join for a specific program with the promise of prepared meals or liquid drinks or a list of points you may consume. You may experience some success through caloric restriction, and become quite excited by the initial weight loss. But what often happens with quick weight loss is you lose a portion of muscle mass, which is your real calorie burner. When the diet ends and you go about your life with less muscle mass than you had before, the pounds begin to creep up.  Sound familiar?  

Here’s where the lifetime plans come in.  You are frustrated, vulnerable, and not understanding why you can’t keep the weight off.  The diet company tells you that you can maintain your next weight loss only with ongoing support that comes with a lifetime membership.  You sign on and become a lifelong dieter.

 

A Lifelong Dieter’s Story

 

Here are some key elements/emotions of a lifelong dieter:

  1. If I eat that piece of cake I am weak person and cannot derive any pleasure from it
  2. When I go to events I’m thinking about the food, not the people I might see and enjoy
  3. I wish I could have just one size of clothing, but I need several for my ups and downs
  4. It would be great if I could stop thinking about food, but I have to count calories/points
  5. Every time I lose weight, I gain it back; I am a failure
  6. If only I were slim; then I could be happier

 

When you are part of the dieting culture, your energy and focus on food is so powerful it is hard to tune in to the other things that might nourish you.  This is the real damage of being a lifetime dieter. 

 

But What about My Weight?

 

Naturally, we all feel better and look better when we are at an appropriate weight.  Getting in sync with your appetite and energy requirements is essential for good health and good weight.  But it is not so much about the weight as it is about your health.  When you establish consistent eating habits where you consume quality food most of the time, your weight will adjust. 

How Do I Get There?

Here are 4 simple ways to begin the process of eating well without dieting: 

  1. Become educated about food - Michael Pollan sums it up in his book “Eat real food,  

     mostly plants, not too much”. A list of calories or points won’t make this happen.

2.  Tune in to your appetite and feed yourself with real food before you get too hungry

3.  Get support in learning how to eat well. Good food really tastes delicious.

4.  Make it a way of life rather than a lifetime of dieting. 

 

I’m not against losing excess weight.  After all, it is a part of my work as a health coach. But ask yourself:  If your auto mechanic had you in the shop every week, would you keep going back?  If your financial planner kept whittling away your investments, would you keep your money with the firm?  No, I didn’t think so, and for the same reason, don’t  go for “lifetime diet membership” plans that keep a hold on you. 

 

Instead, regardless of the time of year,  invest in a comprehensive program like health coaching that looks at the whole picture, including the factors that influences your food choices, and works with you to establish attainable goals that build your sense of confidence that you can be well and healthy - and be a reasonable weight.