Monday, September 13, 2010

Not A Diet But A Lifestyle

Thank you to Connie for her comment that sparked the idea for this post. Connie asked me how I planned to eat when I finished losing and began maintaining. I really wanted to address this question in more than just a post comment.

I am a big believer in making lifestyle changes instead of short term band-aid-style solutions. Dropping ten or twenty pounds on a two-week South Beach diet is short term success. Changing your relationship with your body is a long term lifestyle change. I have done the quick weight loss stunt many times. I have attempted the quick loss a thousand times. A radical change in behavior rarely sticks and becomes habit. We all know that! 

The lifestyle I have developed over the past three months is the lifestyle I plan to stick with for the rest of my life. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I have factored those things into my plan. This is the way I live now, and it is the way I will live as long as I have time:
  • Eat well. 
    1. Limit refined and processed foods as much as possible. Refined sugar, flour and sodium are the demons of the manufactured food industry.
    2. Eat real food. Lean protein, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fruit, etc.
    3. Eat with an awareness of sustainability. Feeding humans should not destroy the earth.
    4. Be honest and own what you eat. Everything counts.
    5. Eat consciously. Make sure you think about what you're eating.
    6. Eat to live, do not live to eat.
    7. Food is fuel for the body, not a panacea for life's unpleasant moments.
    8. Eat enough food to adequately feed your body. Undereating can be almost as bad as overeating.
    9. Enjoy eating. Food should taste good and be satisfying.
    10. Food is not the enemy.
    11. Develop an honest relationship with food. All relationships need periodic evaluation.
    12. If you struggle with food choices, plan ahead. Going into battle with a campaign strategy helps to ensure success.
  •  Move.
    1. Exercise regularly, at least six times a week.
    2. Gradually add back all of the activities you previously enjoyed.
    3. Learn new sports and skills.
    4. Lift weights and gain strength.
    5. Become increasingly more active on a daily basis.
    6. Remember that physically active people average more than 10,000 steps per day. Look for excuses to add movement into your day.
  • Be sensible. 
    1. You didn't gain ten pounds a week, you are not going to lose ten pounds a week.
    2. Good health is measured in many ways, not just in numbers on a scale.
    3. Be vigilant. Old habits are very easy to re-establish.
    4. Share the journey. The more, the merrier.
    5. Strive for health and wellness, and allow appearance to be a secondary goal.
    6. Success is a highly personal matter. My success is mine to define. 
    7. Be optimistic, but be realistic. A size 4 with 14% body fat is NOT a realistic goal for most people.
    8. A healthy lifestyle is the best preventative medicine there is.
  • Look Forward.
    1. Forget all of the previous failed attempts.
    2. Live in the present, and plan for tomorrow.
    3. Remain aware of daily changes, but remember that this is a long term plan.
    4. Time will pass no matter what you do. You can chose to maintain, gain, or lose. 
    5. Enjoy life. You only get this one.


  1. Well said and an excellent reminder to everyone!

  2. This is such a clear and effective post. Thank you!

  3. This is a fabulous collection of all your strategies in one place! Is it possible to put a link to it in your sidebar, "My Plan", or something like that? It is really great, and I think others would benefit from it, too.

    Well said!

  4. I completely agree!!! I just posted something similar yesterday and when I finally started thinking about my relationship with food I was able to make an effective lifestyle change!

    <3 Katie

  5. just wanted to say thanks for inspiring me to try blogging as a way to deal with my journey. Thanks!

  6. I love watching your ticker! Slowly and steadily it is moving down. I am in Idaho, applauding. I'm also thanking you from afar for inspiring me each morning.