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Dieting vs. Behavior Change

I keep reading that diets don't work, and I see a lot of people in my groups do well simply making better decisions over time. Be curious what experiences people have, and what people think are the best strategies over the long haul.

Tue. Nov 29, 1:51pm

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Definitely you need to change behavior over time! "Diets" are restrictive - can you imagine being restricted in what you can eat for the rest of your life?? But small changes can be maintained. For example, I love how fresh I feel after I eat fruit/veggies, and I can't stand how greasy/heavy I feel after I eat something greasy/heavy. Also, I've found that white flour makes me constipated - something I never would've noticed if I hadn't pretty much stopped eating it! So now I don't even want to eat it, it doesn't make my body feel good!! I don't think that I'm on a diet, but I've lost 8lbs! (And only started wanting to lose 5!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 3:28 PM

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It has to be a lifestyle change to work long-term

I set out nominally 5 years ago to lose "about 5 pounds" because that was all I thought I needed to lose. To make a long story short, I wound up losing 30+ pounds in nominally 30 weeks, and have kept it off for 4 years now.

I set out from the start to make it a lifestyle change. From what I have read in long-term studies on the subject of obesity and weight loss, it is the only approach that will work. Again according to what I have read, people who follow a short-term diet to lose weight invariably regain the weight, and perhaps more, when they return to their former eating habits.

The meal plan I follow now would seem a bit eccentric if laid it out in detail, though it is very much in line with what is recommended by the National Weight Control Registry: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and plenty of lean protein and healthy fats.

One helping of oatmeal (1/2 cup dry) is the only "carbohydrate" in my basic meal plan. The rest of my carbohydrate intake comes from beans, fruits and vegetables, lean dairy, and nuts and seeds. I'm certainly not above an occasional treat such as pie, cake, ice cream, candy, etc. --- I just try very hard to keep it from becoming a regular part of my diet.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 4:12 PM

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Great job Digby! And great advice too. If we all just ate what we we've been told to eat as a healthy diet we'd do so much better. I think subconsciously we all know what to do, it's just a matter of doing it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 5:06 PM

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Amen to that!

I've totally been struggling between making small changes over time and getting impatient and going extreme, just to binge on junk again. I've been at 188-194 for at least 2.5 years now, and I'd like to get back down to 140-142. When I get too restrictive, I freak out. So I've been making changes (now with the help of Peertrainer) and focusing on making them permanent. Now I have to get back in the groove of exercising!
Thanks for the support,

Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 6:45 PM

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This is the best thread in the lounge. Way to go Digby. It's all about lifestyle change isn't it?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 3:48 AM

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And I also want to say that to me, the whole idea of "dieting" sounds a bit like torture whereas a shift into a healthy lifestyle sounds far more pleasurable.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 5:19 AM

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You can do so much for your health by paying attention to food choices. I've heard that some dieticians feel that partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) should be banned, and yet they're in lots of things. I try to avoid those products. I also tend not to buy things that have really long lists of ingredients, most of which sound like laboratory experiments. I agree that eating lots of fruits and veggies makes you feel better and the more healthy your eating patterns, the more in tune you become with what feels good to your body to eat.

I don't like "dieting," but have maintained a healthy weight by eating good foods and not overeating. Avoiding lots of fried food and items with lots of sugar is also important. It seems a little like common sense once you do it. You eat better, you feel better. And you see results!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 7:50 AM

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Amen and thank you very much! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 8:19 AM

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can please lay out your eating plan in detail?

your advice on weight training helped me so much (i was the orginal poster on that thread) and already eat similarly to what you detailed. can you tell me/us more about your diet?

thanks, carrieanne

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 11:15 AM

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This is similar to what digby does..

Digby is in a group with me, so I see his daily diet. I'm sure that he'll post it soon. Of all the "diets" that I've seen the one that he is closest to is the "Eat to Live" diet by Joel Furhman. Basically, eat whole foods - avoid processed foods at all costs, and use beans/greens as your main sources of protein. Meat and dairy are also used as sources of protein, but they are secondary to green veggies/beans.

I highly recomend Eat to Live. At the beginning of the summer last year I wouldn't weigh myself (I was probably close to 190 - the first time I was willing to weigh myself I was 177), now I am at 154. My weight is slowly decreasing despite occassional slip ups. I eat what I want and generally lose about 2-4 lbs a month now. I never feel hungry/restricted by my diet; if I want oreos (which are pretty bad for you) I eat them and move on. That is allowed by this "diet".

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 12:55 PM

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Digby, can you make your log public?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 1:03 PM

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I second that emotion, Digby, I'd love to read your logs! I think I'm careful with my food choices, yet I don't seem to be able to lose weight. I'd like to compare & contrast with someone who's been so successful. Thank you in advance!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 1:19 PM

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By request, Digby's log is now public

I'm not sure whether I'm more flattered or embarrassed. I have, however, made my log public at:

I trust that it will be of help to some of you.



Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 1:43 PM

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Carrieeanne, at your request Digby has posted his Basic Daily Mealplan


Thanks for your comments ---flattery will get you everywhere :-)

I have posted my detailed daily mealplan. Perhaps it will be of some help to you in your own diet and exercise program.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 3:04 PM

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Dieting vs Behavior Change

I think changing behavior is more important than dieting. In October, I was diagnosed with diabetes and I already had hypertension. Not a good combination. My mother died at 47 from complications from diabetes and congestive heart failure. At 38 years old, I did not want to go the same route as my mother. I made a decision to change my behavior by watching everything I put in my mouth including monitoring my sugar and salt intake. One and a half months later, my blood pressure is 110/70 and my sugar level is close to normal. I have also dropped 13 pounds in the process. I have not been depriving myself at all.

Thursday, December 01, 2005, 7:23 AM

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Congratulations on your success

Glad to see your story. That is a terrific accomplishment in 1-1/2 months.

If more people had your motivation, I'm sure they could modify their behavior and lose a considerable amount of weight as well.


Thursday, December 01, 2005, 11:02 AM

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I abosutely agree that the best way to maintain good health and lose weight is to make small changes over time. And to weigh in on another topic - I think diet is the key, not exercise. Many countries around the world don't participate in our exercise craze, but also don't have our obesity problem. They eat moderately and stay healthy. Exercise is good, no doubt, but you can't exercise away McDonalds every day of the week.

Thursday, December 01, 2005, 11:36 AM

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I disagree a little bit. I think "diet" and exercise are almost equally important. I agree that one should not OVER exercise. I also know that one can exercise all he wants but if he still has poor eating habits, he can remain or even become overweight. I live in France (which might be one of the countries you are talking abou)t where in fact there is a fast growing problem of obesity due to lack of exercise and poor modern day eating habits. I believe the key is making a lifestyle change that involves exercise and a healthy eating habits not "dieting".

Tuesday, December 06, 2005, 3:38 AM

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I make more progress when I focus on healthy eating and making better choices than I ever have by going on some "diet." I believe many of us rebell against radical changes - rather than thinking about restricting what you eat, consider saying, I want to add more veggies, or more lean meats or whatever you believe you want to add. Then those habits and foods starts to crowd out the less desirable foods. Small changes can add up and I do best when I'm gentle and positive with myself.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005, 7:32 AM

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Dieting vs. behaviour change.

I totally agree. Dieting is just about controlling your food and when you reach your goal weight, if you do, then what. The reason you were overweight was still not addressed. Behaviour change, allows you you to challenge certain behaviour and over time change or replace them with positive things. Much better don't you think?!
I lost 25lbs 2 years ago, just by stop overeating. I challenged myself to eat only when I was hungry and stopping when I was full. Following a diet was a lot more painful and all it did was keep my mind on food, not my behaviour.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005, 8:22 AM

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I second that emotion

(This really is a great thread)-
I have a friend who lost 45 lbs. over the past year by severly restricting her food intake and living on 4 cups of coffee (with regular sugar). She also does not eat bread (of any kind), pasta, rice, etc. In addition, she takes an OTC "carb-cutter," and when she happens to eat some rice or pasta on special occasions, she gets sick. Her hair and skin are thin and dull, and she looks drained all the time. I want to mention something to her, but needing to lose about 50lbs. myself, I'm afraid she'll think I'm jealous. I just don't think that kind of deprivation can be maintained!
I'm grateful for PeerTrainer so I can continue to make small changes over time. I agree that a big part of the problem is overeating; but exercise can psychologically boost us---we'd be less likely to eat a Big Mac after a great workout.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005, 8:35 AM

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