Why I Accept Other People’s Diet Choices

My Diet is the Best

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

7 thoughts on “Why I Accept Other People’s Diet Choices

  1. Nancy B. Kennedy says:

    Plenty of diets work. The key is to stick with it over time. If it’s a healthy diet and one that you can adopt over the long term, it’s a diet that will work for you. I hear people say that such-and-such diet didn’t work, but what they really mean is that they couldn’t stick with it over time. It didn’t suit their schedule, or their cooking skills, or their tastes, or their budget. That doesn’t mean the diet doesn’t work. It can take some trial and error, but something will work for you. Find that something!

  2. L says:

    I think anyone who is a new convert to a life-changing discipline or belief system (diets, included), has perhaps a lil more vim and vigor than is necessary in their approach to others. I know that has been true of me in the past. As you say, though, popular diets come and go, and for me, the proof is in the long-term ability to stay the course and keep the weight off. Whatever you do that produces that kind of result is the right thing. You can’t argue with success!

  3. Kitty says:

    Wow! I so agree with this. I believe that what works will vary from person to person and even what works for me at one point may not be what works for me later. I personally have lost over 62 pounds to get to my WW goal using the WW plan with a tilt to lower carb. Some of the popular plans are ones that that would make me miserable and if I am miserable I won’t stick with the plan. And some people would be misterable on the plans that work for me. That is why it is good there are a variety of approaches.

  4. Maria says:

    This is such a timely post because just today, when I was heating up my lunch, two of my co-workers were heating up their Jenny Craig lunches and I started talking to them about it. Instead of questioning the program, I asked questions on how they liked it, did they think it was helping etc. and it was great conversation, I learned a lot. Given all the diets I’ve been on, I can honestly say it’s a process to learn about our bodies. We eventually discover what works and what doesn’t. In the meantime why not encourage and support each other no matter what program we are using…thanks for the post Diane!

  5. Toni says:

    Excellent write-up ?
    Many small permanent changes i have made over the last couple of years have contributed to small amounts of weight loss that have been maintained. More recently i have started calorie counting and it’s been so effective for me in spite of the fact that many people i know frown upon it (interestingly these people also have never been overweight! ). I will stick with what’s working for me thanks ? as a plus it’s also really helped me to understand what a portion size is of many different foods. Some foods have surprisingly small recommended serving sizes which i would never have realised before. As a result i am appreciating my vegetables more than ever!

  6. Kerstin says:

    I so agree with this. We have different body types with different needs and we live individual lives with different lifestyles. I think the hard part, when it comes to dieting, is finding what works best for you and until you know what that is you are more susceptible to the miracle cries of many of these programs. Your post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “It is one thing to think that you are on the right path, it is another to think that yours is the only path.” — Paul Coelho

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