I’ve been in this weight loss world for a long time. First, I dieted constantly for 10 years and had lots of exposure to different diet programs.
Richard Simmons? Yep, tried it.
Super Low-Fat? Yes, tried it.
Weight Watchers? Yep, tried it multiple times.
Magazine Diets? Yes, did that too.
Cottage Cheese Diet? Yep, did that as well.
Grapefruit Diet? Check.
Then, I lost weight using healthy eating and reasonable exercise (and wrote a book about that). After I lost the weight, I did what a majority of weight loss success stories do not.
I kept it off.
I kept it off through pregnancies, through tragedy, through life upheavals, and good times. I’ve kept off 150 pounds for over 17 years. I’m not bragging, but trying to show that I have a lot of experience and hopefully some credibility when it comes to dieting and weight management.
I’ve seen a lot of diets come and go throughout those years of dieting and weight maintenance. Right after I lost the weight, the super low carb craze took hold and people everywhere were buying no-carb bread, crackers, and cereal. Since then there have been various other diets that have come and gone. Some were great, some were not.
I get concerned when I see people on television, in books, on blogs, and in videos become so fervent about their particular diet plan that they discount any other plan other than the one that is currently working for them. And make other people feel bad for trying something they disagree with.
I found this quote from John Berardi, founder of Precision Nutrition talking about weight loss coaches: (And I think this quote applies to anyone who influences others in healthy living.) And, no, I have no affiliation with them. I just appreciated his take on diets. He said:
Sure, if a particular nutrition idea — like Paleo or vegetarianism — worked for you personally, that’s awesome. You should be happy you found something that helped you reach your goals.
But to suggest that because it worked for you, at one point in your life, under a particular set of circumstances, now everyone else should follow the same program isn’t just narcissistic. It’s the antithesis of good coaching.
He brings up such a great point. Just because it worked for you does not make it the only way to lose weight. I lost weight using a combination of portion control, exercise, and keeping my fat intake at about 30 percent. That worked for me and probably could work for you as well, if that fits in with your lifestyle and personality.
I hate it when I see people trashing other people’s healthy diet approaches just because they feel as though their way is the only way. I have had people tell me that not eating a vegan diet, or following South Beach, or using the Paleo approach, or being a follower of Dr. Joel Fuhrman is detrimental to me “morally” because any other way of eating is harmful.
I’ve seen people criticize people who lost weight counting calories to the point where those folks now doubt what they are doing. I had a lady talk to me about Weight Watchers one time because her friend who was now a Paleo follower made her doubt whether WW was an okay program. Mind you, this lady had already lost 45 pounds on Weight Watchers and was making great strides in changing her life.
I believe that there are a lot of healthy approaches to weight loss. If counting calories works for you, great. If watching fat percentage like I did works for you, awesome. If Paleo works, terrific. If you are a Weight Watchers fan, fabulous.
Let’s encourage those people who are losing weight in a healthy way no matter what approach they take instead of making them doubt whether or not they can do it. The militant approach to “my way or the highway” does nothing to encourage other people whether you see that approach on the Internet or in a book.
Believe me when I say that the diets of today will likely shift into something different three or four years from now. I’ve been around the diet world for 25 years and it seems that “what’s hot” now becomes a distant memory years later. What always works is some form of healthy eating that is sustainable for the long term, and that may look different from person to person.
How do you feel when you see someone saying their diet plan is the absolute only way to lose weight? Have you noticed how popular diets come and go? Diane