What’s the No Diet Diet?

Ever since I have been old enough to be aware that I would like to weigh less, I’ve been interested in finding a no diet diet.

I wanted to be like my lucky friends who simply ate and never gained excess weight.

After years of dieting and losing weight and not dieting and gaining weight I finally joined Weight Watchers. I lost weight and after 24 years, the weight loss is still maintained. Did I keep off my weight by not dieting?

That depends on your definition of diet. Have I been monitoring my food all this time, then, “no, maintaining my weight loss required me to diet.”

If I have avoided breaded and fried foods, then, “no maintaining my weight has not required me to diet.”

If I have eaten as much as I want at every meal, then, “yes, maintaining my weight has required me to diet.”

If I have eaten less than it takes to feel full and satisfied, then, “no, maintaining my weight has not required me to diet.”

If I have been cautious about how much I eat over the course of the day, then, “yes, maintaining my weight has required me to diet.”

If I have enjoyed all my favorite sweets such as cake, candy, cookies, ice cream, doughnuts, pastries, then, no, maintaining my weight has not required me to diet.”

My experience with weight maintenance has been interesting to say the least. I learned that rigid dieting doesn’t work for me. Counting calories, avoiding certain foods and/or food groups altogether wasn’t worth the effort. By not worth the effort, I mean that I want to eat some of the forbidden food more than I wanted to maintain my weight. I also noticed a shift in how and what I ate.

I started to reduce my consumption of starchy foods (bread, potatoes, pasta) and increase the amounts of vegetables I ate. I started to eat more fruit for snacks and rarely dipped into a bag of chips as a snack. I became more likely to ask for a side salad with my restaurant meal, when the menu said my choice was served with chips or fries.

Pie chart showing typical dietary distribution of food groups.

Pie chart showing typical dietary distribution of food groups.

Although I didn’t eliminate starchy foods, I definitely reduced them happily by replacing them with more fruit and vegetables. That, plus making a conscious effort to be more active, has allowed me to maintain my weight loss without feeling burdened or deprived.

Enlarge fruit and vegetable consumption by taking off a slice from the sweets and starchy foods for a easy-to-stick-to NO DIET DIET.

Enlarge fruit and vegetable consumption by taking off a slice from the sweets and starchy foods for a easy-to-stick-to NO DIET DIET.

I guess I’d call that, a No Diet Diet.

The other day I received an interesting email from Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition. It was offering an answer to Why Some of Us Are Fat, and Others Aren’t. 

I often asked myself that question. I think the answer is somewhat simplified because the article only focuses on food choices. I don’t think food choices is the only reason why some are fat and others aren’t. I believe it’s more complex than that, but I do think that many of us who are fat, can lose weight and keep it off with adjustments to what we eat without tedious counting and tracking calories.

If you ask me if it’s possible to lose weight and keep it off with a No Diet Diet, I’m going to tell you….mmmmm…..well…..maybe!

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.