Diet Strategies: The All or Nothing

Carolyn Classick-Kohn,MS,RD

Need convenient diet support - online?How many of you have approached dieting as an ďall or nothingĒ proposition? You are either ďonĒ or ďoffĒ your plan.  When people reach the point of being unable to stand the way the things are with their weight, their looks, or the way they feel, it's time for a change, and the more drastic, the better, right?

This is the appeal of diets that have a lot of rules or structure to follow such as: eating only at certain times of the day, eating certain combinations of foods or supplements, avoiding entire food groups, eating out of a box, eating certain foods because of your body type, blood type or origin. All of these approaches work in the short run because they severely limit your eating opportunities and your food choices. Weight loss occurs, not because the diet is a real breakthrough in science and the answer to obesity, but because the restrictive rules simply limit food intake and calories to the point where anyone would lose weight. You could make up such a diet yourself, and have as much success in the short term. Such diets are ďall or nothingĒ propositions, and any deviation into the real world of eating can cause the weight lost to be re-gained.

So Whatís Wrong With That?
Many of these weight loss diets sound so great to begin with - you donít have to think, itís easy to do, and theyíve worked for so many others. But have they really worked?

As a nutrition professional, one of the biggest problems I have using these diet besides the short term weight loss is that I have found that many people feel worse about themselves after following such diets. When the weight returns (which happens because the diet never addressed how to keep off their lost weight), they blame themselves for that failure. Itís like making a promise and breaking it - and then feeling guilty because the diet didnít work. After all, it was so easy, how could anyone fail? It must be the dieterís fault, not the diet! 

A Diet You Can Live With
When you choose to start a new weight loss plan, youíre making a commitment to yourself, and a promise to follow it through. This is why I encourage people to ask themselves a very important question about the diet's strategies - Is it a diet you can live with after the weight loss occurs? If you canít see yourself eating the diet youíve chosen to lose weight on indefinitely, then it is not a good plan for real weight control and long term success. Look at some popular themes, and see if you can fit these into your life, long-term.

Packaged Foods - Many popular diets sell their own brand of frozen dinners, packaged foods, formula drinks, or supplements for weight loss. In fact, their business depends upon people buying these foods rather than learning how to choose the right foods in real world situations. I have dealt with many people who had their garage areas stocked with leftover packaged meals they had to buy every week (whether they ate them or not), because of their agreement with the diet company. Great for the company, a lousy deal for you. Packaged foods work because they control the amount of food you eat at a meal. You can do the same by buying frozen dinners at the grocery store, at a lower cost, and with the same nutritional quality. After all, most of us have days when we donít have the time or energy to make a meal, thatís part of life, you just need to know how to select the right ones and make them even healthier and better tasting.

Diets That Eliminate Food Groups
This is the other major category of popular weight loss diets. Blaming obesity on a certain food type - most recently, carbohydrates, is an age-old approach. If it didnít work to cure obesity in the 1960ís, why would it work now? Once again, is this kind of approach a way of eating that you can live with once you lose weight? For health reasons, eliminating entire categories of food can be harmful. Very low fat diets, extremely high fat or high protein diets, or diet plans that require that you eat certain foods together at certain times of the day are very restrictive - eventually a person dines out, eats at someone elseís house, or gets tired of having the diet rule their life choices.

If youíre making the effort to lose weight, the more reasons you have to follow through and the more meaningful those reasons are to you, the more likely it is that youíll be successful. Remind yourself of what those reasons are and follow a plan that doesnít just take you to your goal, but keeps you there.

My PersonalDiets are designed to suit your personal needs.  They are flexible, convenient AND easy to use and stick to.  I provide each Diet-with-the-Dietitian client, interactive online support.  My Personal Dietitian program is over 10 years old and has demonstrated an exceptional record of success (over 85% of those who track have lost weight).  Each client's begins with a personal, professional assessment of her/her current diet habits and this then results in a set of 39 key personal recommendations.  Along with their custom diet each member also get access to Plan-A-Meal (my  proprietary meal planner) along with a set of personal eating guidelines. 
Simplify your diet decisions, try PersonalDiets & get the confidential expert support you need now!