The one thing you need to know about diets

bowl of vegetable salad with walnuts

I wrote some time ago about the fact that I’d been on a diet. I lost a crazy (but not unhealthy) amount of weight and been steady around a specific weight now for over a year.

Whilst reading about a co-worker asking about diets, I stopped myself from replying to them – the thing is, one post aside, I haven’t spoken much about my weight loss, and this come back to why I didn’t reply to my co-worker. Simply put, diets are an incredibly personal choice.

I tweeted about this after the event and it was suggested to me that this is an important message in itself, so I should talk about this, if not the diet.

I think this reply from Edd summarises it pretty well..

So, here’s the deal. Listen to recommendations on diets but don’t follow them based on who has recommended it. Understand yourself and what motivates you and find one that fits your lifestyle and, particularly, your mindset.

Let me explain. In my case, I’m very competitive, so going to WW was ideal – I was weighed weekly, compared to others in my group and was given an app where I could not only track weight loss but my daily “points” (with different foods given point levels, and you had a maximum that you had to try to stick to each day). For me, that’s the kind of targeting and score-boarding that I need to kick start my competitiveness.

The other thing to consider, if you’ve tried loosing weight before, is why it failed. If you’ve not tried it before, what is likely to put you off? In my example, being hungry is what drove me when I tried to just cut out unhealthy foods previously. There was nothing worse than trying to go to bed, at the end of the day, and being savagely hungry.

And, so, the diet I picked allowed me a number of foods that I could feast on without remorse, ensuring I was never hungry.

However, whilst in my weekly WW meetings it became apparent, for a lot of the people there, this really wasn’t the right thing for them. Everything was a trigger for them to ignore the diet and eat badly – a bad day at work, the weather. This extended to the coach, who struggled to loose weight herself, couldn’t stop talking about the unhealthy food she was eating and even, one time, was selling cheesecakes from the back of their car.

As a “star pupil”, the coach would often use me as a positive example during the meetings, turning to me to answer those tricky questions. The problem was, I’d picked something that was so right and natural for me, that I didn’t have those issues.

“So, what do you do David, when you’ve had a bad day at work and just want to eat?”

“Well, I don’t. If anything it makes me want to turn the day around, if only partially”

This wasn’t the helpful answer she was looking for. And, yet, on paper I’m the perfect WW dieter – I was just expected to give helpful answers for those where it wasn’t. But if the diet isn’t right for you, what can I say? I suspect telling them to go elsewhere isn’t going to go down well… 😉

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