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3 Steps to a Healthier YOU! - Step 3 Move More

I HATE the word diet.

Hate it.

That four letter word means a lot of things to a lot of people, but most often we associate it with restricting our food intake. We have the mindset of being "on a diet." We say things all the time like "I went off my diet" or I "broke" it. I am still guilty of this.

In essence a "diet" is just what we eat. We need to stop this concept of on/off dieting and we need to start taking the approach that everything we put in our mouths IS part of our diet. This change in mentality is this second step on my journey and just like the first, I’m still working on it.

How may times have you started over? How may times have you said the words "I’ll start my diet Monday morning?" If you are anything like me this could be a weekly statement. Every Monday was a start over day.

Or maybe it was a Sunday?

The first of the Month?

The beginning of a new year?

Whatever day you chose, how long did you last on your new plan?

Did you make it to lunch?

Dinner?

Maybe 3 days, tops?

Then one meal or even a snack, sometimes something as small as one M&M took you "off plan." It "broke" your diet. That was it? That’s all it took, one piece of food and I’d be in an eating frenzy. All bets were off, my diet was broken. There’s no saving it now, I might as well eat that 5th piece of pizza and try that new Ben & Jerry’s flavor by downing the whole pint in one sitting.

This mentality is what caused me to gain more weight in my yo-yo era. I really would have been better off not dieting at all. In essence I was giving myself permission to binge on food because I already "ruined my diet." I was stuck in the on plan/off plan mentality. If I was on plan only "diet approved" food was being consumed. The "diet approved" items could be anything from only vegetables, no carbs, even nothing at all.

Yes sometimes I had a diet plan of eating nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So if I ate anything the plan was broken and all bets were off. Time to call Dominos!

If I was off plan then anything was fair game, but mostly all the things I thought I couldn’t eat if I was on plan: pizza, subs, burgers, fries, stromboli, lasagna, *insert any high fat/high carb meal here*.

This is all so ridiculous! There is no such thing as being on plan or off plan. We are just making it up in our own minds.

Think about it: your diet consist of everything you eat. EVERYTHING. Just because you ate something that may be considered "bad" doesn’t mean you broke your diet, it just means you ate something "bad." How does that choice affect your next meal? Own “the bad” just like you own “the good.”

But boy, did I make it affect mine. Looking back, this mentality was my way of justifying a binge. There had to be a reason to eat everything in sight. I had to give myself an excuse, and that excuse was because I already "ruined my diet."

Step 2 is all about throwing this mentality out the window. Accept the fact that EVERYTHING you eat "counts." There is no "off plan" there are only choices. Stop letting one choice define the next. Own it. No one is perfect. NO ONE. And a diet isn’t either. Accept what you eat at every meal. Be conscious of it and make the best choices for you ALL THE TIME. Don’t base it on the state of your diet.

Your diet is stateless.

<<Read Step 1. Self-Acceptance | Read Step 3 Move More>>


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  • Tricia

    What a great post, Roni! I have been maintaining a year now, and I still deal with this off plan/on plan idea. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Michelle

    I wish all people believed that. I’m trying hard to believe that. The mentality that some food is “bad” is horrible. Moderation and choices ar ekey. I’m trying to instill that into my 4 year old and will work on it with my 6 month old. I was at a friend’s house and she was talking about her high cholesterol and said they were controlling it with diet. Her pre-teenage son was all upset because he thinks she doesn’t need to lose weight. I explained that diet is what you eat all the time, not what you eat to lose. This is definitely a subject that was worth posting about. Thanks Roni!!

  • http://oranges2oranges.net Shannan

    When I heard you say a while back that one meal doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your day or week, and to just move on and make better choices the next meal, it has stuck with me since. Also, when you said that being hungry isn’t an emergency. I have to tell myself that – out loud – when I feel that I have an excuse to eat more because I’m famished. I’ve linked back to your site on my blog. I hope it’s okay. I really want people to hear this.

    Check out Shannans last blog post..Week 6, Day 1 report posted…

  • http://www.backtothefridge.com Charlie Hills

    I like this post because it makes sense, but if I’m allowed to play devil’s advocate for a moment, I’m forced to trot out the phrase, “Easier said than done.” This just gets back to my awful observation/belief that we’re just not as in control of things as we think we are. We really like to think we’re in control because if we didn’t, we’d implode. But a lot of that control is just an illusion.

    If I’m allowed to quote myself: When you’re standing in the kitchen and you’re tempted to take in a few extra calories, what’s really at work? You might believe you’re standing there with a choice. “Should I be good or should I eat this box of cookies?” All you have to do is make the right choice and you win. How simple! You know you shouldn’t eat the box of cookies. You know you’ll feel terrible if you do. You know that it will make you gain weight. You know you will hate, hate, hate yourself tomorrow for it. The right choice is obvious. Yet nine falls out of ten, you eat the damn box of cookies. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like free will to me.

    I bring this up not to discourage people, but to help people become aware of it — to factor it into their decision process. Every decision you make at every moment of every day is the net result of a thousand different desires pulling you in a thousand different directions. In the end, only one can win. For some of us, the nebulous long-term desire to lose weight and/or be healthier wins and we don’t eat the cookies. For most of us, the instinctive desire to stay alive is stronger. And while our higher order brain functions understand that this box of cookies is not what we need to stay alive, the rest of our body doesn’t know that. It’s been programmed with, “Eat and live. Period.”

    So the next time you’re looking at some “bad” food and you’re thinking “moderation is the key” but all the while fighting your inner animal’s instinctive desire to eat plenty and eat often, add one more thought to the thousand desires: “I don’t need this right now.” There’s no guarantee it will work, because I don’t know what the other thousand things are. But if truly understanding the “free will is an illusion” thing is enough to tip the balance out of the animal’s favor, then you win.

    Whew. Didn’t plan on rambling like that…!

    Check out Charlie Hillss last blog post..Book Review

  • Yvonne

    I believe that this mentality plays a huge part in emotional eating and it was nice to know that others struggle with the same thoughts as me.

  • http://www.backtothefridge.com Charlie Hills

    Shannan, I didn’t see your post while I was babbling away on mine, but I’m so glad you wrote what you did. You did a perfect job of giving a concrete, real life example of what my last paragraph tried to say. You took in a concept generated by someone else, factored it into your own myriad of momentary decisions, and used it to tip the balance in your favor. It didn’t make the desire go away. But it gave you what you needed to tip the balance.

  • Maggie

    Regarding Charlie’s post, yes there are stronger forces at work. One of them is the fact that refined sugar is ADDICTIVE. The more you eat it the more you want to eat it. It is not just a matter of thought. Your body is working against you. The best way is to avoid refined sugar, then you won’t crave it.

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Charlie, Thanks for playing devils advocate! I love it!

    I hear what you’re saying, and I agree the desire doesn’t go away, but too many of us are on autopilot. The thought never occurred to me in my 15 years of yo yo dieting that there shouldn’t be a dieting on/off switch. And even though I STILL have those thousands of other desires pulling me by telling my “higher order brain” this idea, over and over again, helps. Will we cave YES, but if we cave less and less, approach it consciously we can change our overall habits.

    My goal with these posts is to get people just to think about, to second guess those desires and to approach their diet from a different direction. Because I know what I was doing was making it worse not better.

  • http://www.backtothefridge.com Charlie Hills

    Maggie: you’re right about the addictiveness, and that also underscores my point about ‘free will’ not playing as big a role as we like. One of the things I’ve found so fascinating about eating right is that the less I eat the less hungry I am. Too much false hunger at work when you’re poisoning yourself!

    Roni: yep!

    Check out Charlie Hillss last blog post..Book Review

  • http://tntbean.blogspot.com Xenia

    Great post. You and Cranky Fitness are on the same wavelength today. I like it. ;)

    Check out Xenias last blog post..Divine intervention

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Oh and Shannon – Of course you can link! Thanks! Glad you liked the post. :~)

  • http://oranges2oranges.net Shannan

    Charlie, you’re right. I use Roni’s statement of “hunger is not an emergency” all the time when I’m about to give myself that excuse. It really works for me, and it proves to be right time and again. I believe that since we are human, we will have those desires to choose things that aren’t good for us. At the same time, we have the ability to make the right choice, but just have to find the way that works. I don’t have to be like my dog, who will eat herself to death if I let her. :-\

    Check out Shannans last blog post..Week 6, Day 1 Report Posted & Links…

  • Nicole

    You are my new OPRAH!

  • http://www.baconismyenemy.com Giyen

    It’s sad, but true. There is no such thing a diet. You either choose to eat healthy or don’t. Each one has a different effect.

    It’s time to get back on track!

  • Bethany Ann

    Could someone like to this “hunger is not an emergency” thing? I am SO interested!

  • Bethany Ann

    Sorry, I meant LINK to the “hunger is not an emergency” thing…

  • http://debbyweighsin.wordpress.com debby

    This is such a good post. I kinda agree with Charlie that there are other factors at work, but I no longer believe (as I did for so long) that those other ‘mysterious’ factors are IN CONTROL of my destiny. And that is the mindset you are talking about Roni. My friend Jill (thesassypear.wordpress.com) wrote a really great post about one of those factors, habit. After all, we are trying to break a habit of usually many years (most of our life) when we try to change the way we eat.

    Also, as I read your post, Roni, I kept thinking, and that is the beauty of the Flex system at W.W. It teaches you this. Even when I ‘blew’ it, I would add up my points to the best of my ability, and it was always an eye opener that I could finish out the week and still have the possibility of losing weight. Of course, you already know this about w.w.

    Check out debbys last blog post..What an Adventure!

  • http://oranges2oranges.net Shannan

    Bethany Ann –

    Search Roni’s site for the word “hunger” and it’s the Aug. 30th post, Note to Self (should be the first result). I’m not sure if I can link to it here, but that’s how I found it again.

    Check out Shannans last blog post..Week 6, Day 1 Report Posted & Links…

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Bethany Ann – Here’s the link…. http://ronisweigh.com/2008/08/note-to-self-24.html

    Everyone else – :~) I’m so glad you liked the post! Sometime I wonder if anyone will understand the thoughts in my head! LOL

  • Donna

    WOW, that was well said! I’m a binger with the exact same mentality you described. ONE bad choice usually throws off the whole day and turns into a major uncontrollable binge fest! Thanks for your insight. Each day I start anew. :) With hopes of “letting go” of this HOLD food has on me!

  • Emily

    I am certainly guilty of the “all or nothing” mentality! If it’s a Thursday or Friday where I “mess up”, I find myself saying “Okay, it doesn’t matter now, the new week is coming, Sunday you’ll start being good!” Of course for the next couple days I try to eat better, but if I don’t know my calorie count for the week anymore because of one day, I’ll just not count the next two days. I have been doing better with this though!

  • Carina

    Roni,
    wow…I have been on WW maintnenence for 2 weeks after reaching my goal…it is nice to know some of us share the same battles. I can’t wait to be a lifetimer! I do believe it is harder keeping it off though…it’s like the old demons come to call and I do have to remember that this is my new life and my new way of eating. It’s as though there are two people who want to co-habitate in one space. I’m letting the skinny girl win!
    Carina

  • Renee

    Hi Roni, I found your blog through a Weight Watchers message board and have been following you for a few months now. I really like your point of view about diet and body image. I have struggled with my weight since I was 12, when my mother pointed out to me that I was overweight. Looking back I was average. But, after that comment I began the dieting roller coaster, always struggling. I am now 41, have a 4 year old son and like you, want to be a positive role model for him. I feel like my attitude is changing. I am eating a healthful diet to nourish my body and not to feed my emotions. I have also started walking 4 to 5 times a week. I don’t feel like it’s a constant struggle. So, what I really wanted to say is thank you and keep up the good work.

  • maria

    Oh my goodness, I wish I could make a poster of that last paragragh, Step 2. It really resonated with me. I have been a yo-yo dieter for years and now after having two babies have finally come to some sort of “calm” with my emotional eating. I’m 8 lbs from my goal weight and really know that this is a lifestyle finally and not something I’m going to “blow.”
    Thanks Roni.

  • http://theonelastthing.com Alexia

    It has made ALL the difference. The stress is gone — I don’t have to worry about being on or off or starting fresh on Monday. Ahhhh.

    Check out Alexias last blog post..Foodio54 and the five worst drinks in America plus a little rambling

  • Michele

    Another great, insightful post Roni! Very well said!

  • http://mylifemyjourney.net Christy

    Roin – More good information! I cannot wait to link you again on my site. Wow…so many comments on this.

    Charlie – your points are so true. I try to keep the situation in my favor by passing up the cookies at the source. They don’t make it into the shopping cart. I am SO lucky that my husband is finally agreeing to eat a little bit healthier. He is not following any diet plan but he is trading in his morning poptarts for eggs…eating lunch at home instead of burger king almost every day….and then I cook dinners for us that are WW’s friendly so they are not too unhealthy for him. I have also gotten him to give up his Oreo’s by suggesting that the WW’s snack cakes were better for him…even if he has 2 cakes he is still not eating as many calories or fat as he would have if he had had 4-6 oreos and a glass of whole milk. When I did WW’s before I always knew where ‘his’ snacks were kept. It was a cabinet that I avoided…until I ‘went off plan’…These days I am doing better and succeeding because there is nothing in ‘his’ cabinet that I can sneak in when no one is looking.

  • http://mylifemyjourney.net Christy

    Okie dokie…you are linked on my site :-)

    Check out Christys last blog post..Don’t Forget Your Plan

  • Holly

    Thank you Roni. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your wisdom…….I feel like I wrote this myself….although you are a much better writer! LOL. I am on week one of ww (not my first rodeo) and I went out for dinner and did what i would have considered “broke it” and ordered chicken tenders and FF. I tracked my points and moved on for like the first time ever without doing exactly what you said in the above article and throwing it all away, and I lost 5.6 pounds this week. Im saving the link to this article so I can reference it at times I need to. Thank you!

  • http://www.blogtolose.com/profile/Arlene Arlene

    After my not-so-great birthday choices, I needed to hear this. Today is a new day, and I CAN start over again! I don’t have to let the whole week go out out the window!

    Check out Arlenes last blog post..Caitlin

  • http://binalicious.blogspot.com/ Sabrina

    Roni I think that you are so right about this, this is what I struggle with the most I was wondering how your broke out of that mentality, and started to think like a person who has a normal relationship with food.

    Check out Sabrinas last blog post..This week has been…..

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Sabrina – I’m not sure what you mean by “how”. Realizing it, working on it daily and having good talks with myself. I still battle with it, it will never completely go away. This site is a representation of “HOW” everything I do/did I write about. It’s progression, a daily journey there’s no easy answer.

  • Nina

    Hi Roni!

    I love this post and it reminded me of a quote by Julia Havey in which she states that the first three letters of the word “diet” are “die”, so what good could come from it? I love that thought in respect to diet related to weight-loss, not nutrition. She is right about it, and I think our souls really die with every failing diet attempt. So I think it is just better to accept that even in a world of abundance we have to learn to select and choose what is best for ourselves, and what is not.

    Another thought I had was how lonely and isolated every yo-yo dieter feels, and how much are actually out there. I thought you had written about me concerning yo-yo dieting. What a waste of valuable energy! I think there should be more websites like yours to teach people how to do it right, so the energy we spend on dieting can be used for more valuable things.

    Love,
    Nina

  • http://justjuliebean.wordpress.com julie

    I know I’m late to comment, but I think this is so important. I used to have the all or nothing mentality, and I’m quite sure it contributed to most of my excess weight. The thinking along leads me to binge. At this point, I’m losing a pound or so a week, and I do still eat chocolate, pizza, french fries-just not very often. Actually, I eat some kind of chocolate almost every day-though not ice cream or cake, usually just a dark chocolate covered almond or some chocolate soy milk.

    The one thing I don’t agree on is that the previous meal doesn’t affect the next meal. If I eat way too much, I’m stuffed, and there may not be a next meal for a good 10 hours. Or maybe a salad. Intuitive eating is teaching me that I don’t have to eat if I don’t feel like it, another new one for me. Even if it’s breakfast time, if I don’t want to eat, I don’t-the exception being a day like today, when I won’t get to eat for another 6 hours, so I’ll eat breakfast anyway.

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Hi Julie!

    There is no “late” when it comes to comments! :)

    I hear you on the waiting to eat and listening to your body. What I meant by…

    “the previous meal doesn’t affect the next meal.”

    Was in a negative way. SOME of us have the “oh screw it attitude”. I ate bad in the last meal so I might as well eat bad again. That’s why I said the next choice is a new choice. You choose to pick a salad or not eat at all at the next meal and that’s great! That is exactly what I was trying to describe!

    What you don’t do (and what I was trying to get people to realize) is to let that one bad choice affect your next choice negatively.

    Thanks again for the comment!

    -Roni

  • http://www.myspace.com/officialmattison Mattison

    Hi Roni! I’ve had your site bookmarked on my computer for a long time- I used to read it a while ago, and I just had a gut feeling that I should visit again right now. I’m a 16 year old female and I’m a perfectionist. I’ve never been overweight, but I’ve always felt like I should be skinnier, and then I will be “perfect.” Even as I say that, I know how absurd it sounds. My main problem stems from fear of fattening food. I get scared to eat, scared that I’ll get fat, so it’s a cycle of deprivation and then overindulgence. For a few months now, I had been fine. I tried to simply eat intuitively, and it worked really well. However, old habits recently emerged, and I felt like I should diet, just to be in control and to “speed up” the process of me being skinnier and eating healthfully “all the time” (yeah, it does sound unrealistic, but I don’t know). I am wishing I could just be a “normal” eater! I think your 3 Steps are things that I should take seriously. I know they will help me. But I don’t know how to do the self-acceptance thing without feeling like I still need to “correct” things about myself before I can be happy. Can you please give me more ideas on how to journey toward self-acceptance? Also, I want to do Weight Watchers, but I don’t want to have the diet mentality while “doing” it. I want it to become my lifestyle. Do you have any tips about this also? I would appreciate it so much if you could help me!!! I love your site Roni, and I am going to keep coming back, because you are extremely inspiring. Thank you.

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Mattison – I JUST got emotional about this topic again…

    http://ronisweigh.com/2009/03/ask-roni-_v21s3-a-vegetable-hater-loving-yourself-what-i-find-hard.html

    My advice… If you can… go and talk to someone. I know you don’t want to hear this but you are so young and I have no doubt that when you get to be my age you will look back at this time and wonder what in the world you were thinking. Don’t start the cycle I did that made me gain and gain more weight just because I thought I needed to be perfect. The funny thing is you ARE perfect. Life is about living not looking a certain way. It took me 15 years and having a child to figure that out.

    Watch my latest video and shoot me an email if you need to chat.

  • Jenna

    what a powerful post! I am forwarding this on! I think every woman can relate to this! I am losing weight with this mentality and I really feel confident it is gone forever this time cause its not a diet its a way of life!

  • Nina

    Love the post! I read a book by Julia Griggs Havey, a great motivation, too, and she exactly agrees with you. She once wrote something like this:

    “Don’t diet. The first three letters should show you that it’s no good.”

    This may not be exactly the quote, but the essence of her quote still sticks with me.

  • http://janeisweighingin.blogspot.com/ Jane

    Thanks for this post. It reminded me that my goal is to lose weight and keep it off, not DIET it off only to regain it because THE DIET is over, and I can eat whatever I couldn’t have during the DIET. As complicated as that sentence sounded, it’s really quite simple for me: The success of my plan is dependant on whether or not I can manage it without being uncomfortably hungry, deprived of all foods that would be considered “treats,” and whether or not appropriate meals can be consumed when traveling and dining out occasionally with friends. If the answer is “no” to any of those situations, I know (from experience) that I am setting myself up to fail. This time (Yes, there have been too many other times.) My DIET is what I eat now, and likely what I will eat after I lose 70 pounds.

    I appreciate the reminder, Roni, of what my goal needs to be–it’s not just about how many pounds I will lose–it’s also about how I will maintain. The yo-yo cycle is deadly, and I don’t think I have another weight loss in me, so this one needs to be done right–or I should say–right for me.

  • hhewitt84

    Roni, I just came accross your blog and honestly your very truthful! I loved it when you said “So if I ate anything the plan was broken and all bets were off. Time to call Domino,” I can honestly say I’ve been there!

  • Laura

    “Your diet needs to be stateless” – perfectly said.

  • Shannon Lavery

    This is so true! Maybe its getting older for me but I can finally see the horrible mental state of the diet. Somewhere along the way hopefully once it will click and we know it’s life, food is life, health is life. Everything seems so much easier.

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