No Throwing Stones: There Isn’t One Way to Lose Weight

If you are someone who believes there is one perfect way to lose weight then you might better not read this post. If you want to figuratively cast stones at other people because you don’t like the way they are losing weight, I hope this post will give you something new to consider.

I see a lot of discussions on websites where people get into heated discussions about the right and wrong way to lose weight. Personally, I get a lot of emails from people who disagree with how I lost weight or what I recommend.

I got an email yesterday from someone who was annoyed that I said that you could use processed food to help you lose weight. This person said that she would no longer read my blog because some food I talked about in an old post had too much sugar and not enough protein.

The truth of the matter is that study after study shows that in the long run, it is the calories that matter when you lose weight. I’ve had with many working moms as clients who used a lot of processed foods to lose weight. They bought Lean Cuisines for lunch, used diet bread for toast, snacked on fruit, vegetables and 100-calorie packs, and fixed dinner using processed foods. They lost weight and in some cases, have kept it off.

I’ve also worked with people who avoided processed foods and ate mainly whole, unprocessed foods. They also lost weight and in some cases, have kept it off.

The process does not have to look the same for all people.

Of course, it is healthier to eat a clean diet, but for some people, they either don’t want to or choose not to.

That’s their choice.

For any of us to say there is just one perfect way to lose weight is just plain wrong. (Now I’m not saying that we should all follow the Twinkie Diet or just eat 1,200 calories worth of Cheetos – that would be just ridiculous and obviously unhealthy.)

Would you tell me it was wrong that I drank a lot of diet soda when I lost weight? Would you tell me that drinking diet soda made my weight loss wrong? You might – but you would be mistaken because I still managed to lose 158 pounds even drinking diet soda. I also ate Snackwell cookies on occasion, bought fat-free ice cream, ate baked processed chips, and a lot of other foods that some people might say have no place in our diet.

Was it perfect? No.

Did it work? Yes.

Was it harmful to me in the long run? Probably not.

The truth is that this journey into healthier living is just that. It’s a journey and my journey and your journey and Sally’s journey and Joe’s journey are all different. One mom I helped lose weight hated to cook, had three kids between the ages of 6 and 10, and lost weight working two jobs. She didn’t have the time or money to buy all organic food, prepare all her lunches ahead of time, or spend the money on expensive organic grains. She made the best choices she could and kept her calorie level appropriate for her weight loss goals and lost weight.

During my weight loss journey I focused on portions, exercise, and fat. That worked for me. Over time, as I have learned more about nutrition, my eating has become more unprocessed. That’s been my journey and I’m proud to say that I learn something new about cooking and food almost every week. I may still not like brussel sprouts, but at least I’ve tried them and now appreciate them. Steel cut oats may not be my favorite, but I have them more often than I do flaked oats.

To judge someone because they are not eating as “perfectly” as you think they should makes me sad.

This weight loss journey is complicated and a learning process. I’d rather see someone making use of lower calorie products and losing weight than someone who sits around and just “talks” about their journey without taking any action and complaining that they just can’t lose weight.

In my opinion, the perfect weight loss plan is one that gives you the right amount of calories and nutrients and helps you get to a healthy weight. If someone had watched me lose weight they might have criticized me for eating some processed foods, but the truth is that I ate a well-balanced diet that included a variety of foods.

What’s your thought on the matter? Is there anything to be gained by criticizing each others diets?  Diane

8 thoughts on “No Throwing Stones: There Isn’t One Way to Lose Weight

  1. mandy cat says:

    This is one I struggle with. I discovered that living low carb, high protein not only makes weight control easier for me but has alleviated some long standing health issues. So, naturally I want everybody in the industrialized West to follow my example. Guess I have to keep repeating that important phrase “For me.”

  2. Stacey says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I think that it is spot on. One of the things that I am trying to do in my weight loss is to eat the best, healthiest food for me with the lowest calories that I can eat and still enjoy my life. I sometimes think that what works for me will work for everybody. But we’re all different, and there is no “one true path.” I’m a long way from having things figured out for me, much less everyone else.

  3. Judy says:

    Hi Diane,

    What another great blog that needed to be read.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have had others drive into me how much harder I should be working out or how little effect the exercise I do will have. There is a bullying that can go on in regards to getting healthy by how you do it whether it is food or exercise or some other aspect. I feel sure about myself so I can shrug it off but I believe it can be enough to push someone away and off their good path if they are not so sure or strong within.

    Thanks for saying these things and getting the word out. There are many very good paths to health. Another thing I get weary of is when I hear people tear apart what fruits and vegetables are okay to eat. I honestly believe if someone is enjoying fruit and vegetables leave them be. So what if a pineapple has more sugar. It isn’t like someone is going to eat a pineapple a day.

  4. Martha G says:

    I agree! We are all different and likely our journey is different. When I started one of my first steps was to bring my lunch; a sandwich and bought reduced fat chips. After several months I started bringing the sandwich and small salad or homemade soup. Eventually I brought I BIG salad full of veggies. Over time my diet (not on a diet) is mainly real food and lots of plants.

    What works IMO is finding a way to live, eat, and move that is sustainable over the long run. I pretty much lost weight by watching calories and paying attention to eating healthy foods most of the time. Exercise is now an integral non negotiable part of my life.

  5. Sharon says:

    I so agree. Our feathered birds don’t all eat the same diet – some eat fruit, some eat insects etc, so why should we think there is only one way to eat and one way to lose weight. I recently went back to Weight Watchers and have lost 8 pounds in 4 weeks and I like my eating “style”. I’m not a big meat eater in a world where Paleo is “the” only right way to eat according to some. I like my potatoes and my peas and corn. It’s working for me. Hooray for everyone who knows that it’s an individual thing as to what feels right for their body as far as not only how to lose weight but by doing whatever, whether it’s low carb, or starchy etc. I do get angry when I read people who are so right that they’re right about what is the right way to eat and kind of squash people who don’t agree. If it works for you then do it so long as it’s not some fad thing that might endanger your health.

  6. Kathy says:

    I think that people forget the journey. Most people ate processed foods and stuff like that at some point in their lives, even if they are super-clean-eaters today. I roll my eyes at some things I used to eat when I was focused solely on calories, but like you, I lost weight. As the weight came off, I became more and more interested in understanding what foods are better for me and I discovered that the better choices made me feel better and actually stay satisfied longer. But, that is something that, while others could suggest it, I had to discover on my own. I think it is much like losing weight in the first place – you have to actually WANT it and be willing to commit to it. I still don’t eat perfectly by ANY means, but I look at items and try to make a better choice. A recent change was from light strawberry yogurt (100 calories, sweetened with Splenda) to nonfat blueberry Greek yogurt (120 calories, has some sugar, but MUCH more protein). The 20 extra calories pale in comparison to avoiding the sugar-substitute AND getting more protein.

  7. Judie says:

    Diane I think your response to the best weight to lose weight was spot on. You took a common sense approach to weight loss knowing that losing weight is not easy and it is okay to grab a quick frozen entree if time and resources are short. You can still make it work. A lot of people give up a few weeks after the new year on their resolution to lose weight. You gave them the okay to try different plans that ultimately lead to weight loss.

  8. Jill S. says:

    I agree with you 100% Diane. I choose to eat clean as much as possible but that does not mean I am perfect every day. I try to make the best choices I can on my weight loss journey. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are so rigid in their weight loss beliefs that they criticize others. We should be supporting each other. It is hard enough to lose and maintain weight loss without criticism and demeaning remarks. I always think ” whatever works ” is the right way.

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