Wednesday, October 7

Live Healthy: Do diets work?

I've been thinking about it a lot and I've found a point of disagreement with Gwen Shamblin's 'Weigh Down Diet' and Bethenny Frankel's 'Naturally Thin'.

Both are quite strong in their arguments that diets don't work, period, and this includes counting calories. Then they recommend their systems which focus more on mindful eating, not eating until you're hungry, stopping when you're full and other 'rules' like that (Frankel calls her guidelines 'rules').

My theory is that it's true: diets don't work when the diet is looked to as a temporary, almost magical fix so I can get the weight down and then go back to 'normal' life. Diets don't work when they entail bizarre, unhealthy or unsustainable eating.

To me, the key factor in successful weight loss (which I haven't even yet achieved, not to mention maintained, so take it with a block of salt) is willingness to make a lifestyle change: what I've done before does not work. I'm going to change my life, especially my outlook, eating and exercise. And, when I'm done, my behavior if not going to change much. I'll be able to eat a little more than when I was losing weight, but, if I want to keep it off, I'll still be working the new lifestyle and not returning to the old one.

Counter-evidence to WD and Naturally Thin: there are a lot of people on SparkPeople who have lost weight and kept it off in a program that includes counting calories.

I read recently (though I can't remember where) that most people who successfully lose weight try and fail a number of times (six or seven?) before they succeed. This is certainly true of my own experience and I would say it matches up with trying to find quick, magical fixes and finally getting fed up and ready to change lifestyle.

To be clear, my theory is that willingness to make a lifestyle change is the key to weight loss. Once that point is reached, there are probably many healthy 'diets' (where 'diet' is construed in its broadest sense of 'what you eat') that will work for weight loss and maintenance. The key may be finding what approach works best for you.

Personal update

I have suffered a minor weight setback due to a lot of exceptional socializing, mostly around football. Went to the Gamecocks game Saturday night with my brother and ate game food. Then went to a bar Monday night to watch the Vikes (I don't have ESPN) and had some tortilla chips and a couple drinks. Tonight's the last soiree for a while and then I'll be back on plan for at least a week and a half. I'm a little disappointed in the lapses and in going backwards on the weight loss (203 this morning after 201 last week), but it seems most 'natural' (for whatever that's worth).

On the exercise side, I'm still doing great. Making progress with the Couch to 5K program; completed day 1 of week 6 last night.

Further, I've been invited to ride 40 miles for a friend's 40th birthday coming up. Since I haven't ridden near that recently, I rode 20 miles this past Sunday as sort of a warmup and it went pretty well.

I'm feeling a few tweaks in my left knee and ankle from all the training. Seriously considering going Gallaway (taking frequent walk breaks) on the Couch to 5k for the time being, until I get through the 40 mile ride. Then I can back off the bike mileage a little and resume my training for the Saluda Shoals Sleigh Bell Trot in late November. I know I could finish it now, no problem, taking walk breaks. The question is what will my goal be? Will I set a time I'm shooting for? Do I want to run it without walking? Not sure yet...
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