Discussion: Diet vs Lifestyle

NovusDies
NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
edited August 2019 in Social Groups
I saw a thread in the main forum that made me think about this again.

The word lifestyle gets thrown around a lot now. It has been co-opted even by people who jump from fad to fad as if saying the word lifestyle actually means it is one... it is not.

One of the things to remember is that you have a lifestyle now. You had a lifestyle while you were gaining weight. The plan has to be to change your lifestyle.

Does anyone actually start with losing weight as a lifestyle? I doubt it. I think every weight loss effort begins with a plan and a plan is a diet. That doesn't make it bad it is just that is where it starts. No matter what you do there is an abnormal aspect of beginning weight loss and in my opinion a lifestyle requires things to seem normal.


Transitioning:

So how you make your lifestyle about proper weight management? Here are my thoughts and keep in mind I am no expert so fight me on any point that you feel is wrong:

1) You can't be in a constant state of hunger, low energy, or misery. All of these things happen even when we gain weight but they can't be constant then or now. Experimentation with different ways of eating may be required to overcome some of it. You may also have to settle for losing weight a little slower if you are always tired. You can be uncomfortable at times, in fact you should be, but miserable is no good.

2) You don't quit. You can't change anything if you quit each time something goes wrong. How can that be a workable lifestyle?

3) Maintaining realistic expectations. You didn't find a magic genie lamp and you won't lose more than 75 pounds in a blink of an eye. It is going to take time and there will be challenging days. You can't be patient if you don't manage your expectations.

4) The weight loss is a chapter not your entire story. You have lives to lead. You can't be obsessed with weight loss and scale results. I know we all get sucked in at times but most of the time you need to be going about your lives and just dealing with weight management as a small piece of it.

5) It is about a better life not a number on the scale. I think the priority has always got to be non scale victories over numbers. I like a good milestone number but I would much rather sit in a booth with my wife, travel comfortably, and all the other things that weight has held me back from doing.

6) Adaptation. A lifestyle is not a static thing. There are things that change that are constantly having an impact. Things like location, jobs, friends, family dynamics, relationships, and of course health and weight. When things change we change. We adapt.

7) Weight management is the goal. We should not be happy with just losing weight. Anyone can lose weight. We have to keep our eye on the prize of managing our weight as it comes off and stays off.

8) The transition begins but when does it end? I don't know the answer to this. I assume for me it will be well after the weight is lost and I have been in maintenance for a couple of years. I have to keep learning and keep improving until I have this down. Maybe the answer is never. All I know is I intend to keep making small changes over time until weight management is so steady and routine I barely have to manage it at all.


That is all I have for now. I may edit this as I think of other things and as some of you post your thoughts.
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Replies

  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,057 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I saw a thread in the main forum that made me think about this again.

    The word lifestyle gets thrown around a lot now. It has been co-opted even by people who jump from fad to fad as if saying the word lifestyle actually means it is one... it is not.

    One of the things to remember is that you have a lifestyle now. You had a lifestyle while you were gaining weight. The plan has to be to change your lifestyle.

    Does anyone actually start with losing weight as a lifestyle? I doubt it. I think every weight loss effort begins with a plan and a plan is a diet. That doesn't make it bad it is just that is where it starts. No matter what you do there is an abnormal aspect of beginning weight loss and in my opinion a lifestyle requires things to seem normal.


    Transitioning:

    So how you make your lifestyle about proper weight management? Here are my thoughts and keep in mind I am no expert so fight me on any point that you feel is wrong:

    1) You can't be in a constant state of hunger, low energy, or misery. All of these things happen even when we gain weight but they can't be constant then or now. Experimentation with different ways of eating may be required to overcome some of it. You may also have to settle for losing weight a little slower if you are always tired. You can be uncomfortable at times, in fact you should be, but miserable is no good.

    2) You don't quit. You can't change anything if you quit each time something goes wrong. How can that be a workable lifestyle?

    3) Maintaining realistic expectations. You didn't find a magic genie lamp and you won't lose more than 75 pounds in a blink of an eye. It is going to take time and there will be challenging days. You can't be patient if you don't manage your expectations.

    4) The weight loss is a chapter not your entire story. You have lives to lead. You can't be obsessed with weight loss and scale results. I know we all get sucked in at times but most of the time you need to be going about your lives and just dealing with weight management as a small piece of it.

    5) It is about a better life not a number on the scale. I think the priority has always got to be non scale victories over numbers. I like a good milestone number but I would much rather sit in a booth with my wife, travel comfortably, and all the other things that weight has held me back from doing.

    6) Adaptation. A lifestyle is not a static thing. There are things that change that are constantly having an impact. Things like location, jobs, friends, family dynamics, relationships, and of course health and weight. When things change we change. We adapt.

    7) Weight management is the goal. We should not be happy with just losing weight. Anyone can lose weight. We have to keep our eye on the prize of managing our weight as it comes off and stays off.

    8) The transition begins but when does it end? I don't know the answer to this. I assume for me it will be well after the weight is lost and I have been in maintenance for a couple of years. I have to keep learning and keep improving until I have this down. Maybe the answer is never. All I know is I intend to keep making small changes over time until weight management is so steady and routine I barely have to manage it at all.


    That is all I have for now. I may edit this as I think of other things and as some of you post your thoughts.

    Great post!
  • Jackie9003
    Jackie9003 Posts: 1,078 Member
    I think you've pretty much nailed it there.
    I don't think it will ever end for me, I've lost weight and its come back on. If I lose the weight again and don't continue what I'm doing I'm certain it will come back on again.
    There are weeks when I either don't lose or go up a little if it's been particularly social, that's life and it will continue if I don't keep an eye on the scale and cico I think it will get out of hand.
    This is my routine now and I'm slowly embedding it into my way of life.
  • TwinThompson
    TwinThompson Posts: 80 Member
    Using the terms changing my lifestyle or eating healthier, have helped me thisctime round instead of saying I’m on a diet. A diet to me means depriving yourself and I don’t do well with that.
    But then sometimes I get flustered over saying changing my lifestyle, it makes me think the weight loss will never end, will I always have to say no to some foods, how will I maintain without gaining. I’ve got a way to go before I worry about any of these things, but I do still stop and think sometimes 🤔
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    Using the terms changing my lifestyle or eating healthier, have helped me thisctime round instead of saying I’m on a diet. A diet to me means depriving yourself and I don’t do well with that.
    But then sometimes I get flustered over saying changing my lifestyle, it makes me think the weight loss will never end, will I always have to say no to some foods, how will I maintain without gaining. I’ve got a way to go before I worry about any of these things, but I do still stop and think sometimes 🤔

    I went through a bit of a mourning period when I came to the realization that what I do now will be probably forever. I will always have to be mindful and I will always have to be careful how often I eat above maintenance. I can eat more and enjoy myself on vacations and holidays but I can't live like I am on vacation anymore. What I am giving up though is eating myself into jail of fat and what I am gaining is my freedom.

    I also worry about maintenance. They say it is harder than losing weight. I suspect that is true since most people fail to do it. I used to think it was so far away I didn't need to bother thinking about it too much but once you get some momentum it starts to sneak up on you at least that is the way it feels to me right now.
  • TwinThompson
    TwinThompson Posts: 80 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    Using the terms changing my lifestyle or eating healthier, have helped me thisctime round instead of saying I’m on a diet. A diet to me means depriving yourself and I don’t do well with that.
    But then sometimes I get flustered over saying changing my lifestyle, it makes me think the weight loss will never end, will I always have to say no to some foods, how will I maintain without gaining. I’ve got a way to go before I worry about any of these things, but I do still stop and think sometimes 🤔

    I went through a bit of a mourning period when I came to the realization that what I do now will be probably forever. I will always have to be mindful and I will always have to be careful how often I eat above maintenance. I can eat more and enjoy myself on vacations and holidays but I can't live like I am on vacation anymore. What I am giving up though is eating myself into jail of fat and what I am gaining is my freedom.

    I also worry about maintenance. They say it is harder than losing weight. I suspect that is true since most people fail to do it. I used to think it was so far away I didn't need to bother thinking about it too much but once you get some momentum it starts to sneak up on you at least that is the way it feels to me right now.

    I suppose you have to get used to being mindful, especially if you gain weight quickly which I do, I just have to look at a snack and I put on lol! And it will all be worth it when we get to our goals.

    I’m thinking when it comes to maintenance I might give myself a 3lb buffer, I can go over or under by that amount but no more! I was thinking 5lb but that nearly half a stone...
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    Using the terms changing my lifestyle or eating healthier, have helped me thisctime round instead of saying I’m on a diet. A diet to me means depriving yourself and I don’t do well with that.
    But then sometimes I get flustered over saying changing my lifestyle, it makes me think the weight loss will never end, will I always have to say no to some foods, how will I maintain without gaining. I’ve got a way to go before I worry about any of these things, but I do still stop and think sometimes 🤔

    I went through a bit of a mourning period when I came to the realization that what I do now will be probably forever. I will always have to be mindful and I will always have to be careful how often I eat above maintenance. I can eat more and enjoy myself on vacations and holidays but I can't live like I am on vacation anymore. What I am giving up though is eating myself into jail of fat and what I am gaining is my freedom.

    I also worry about maintenance. They say it is harder than losing weight. I suspect that is true since most people fail to do it. I used to think it was so far away I didn't need to bother thinking about it too much but once you get some momentum it starts to sneak up on you at least that is the way it feels to me right now.

    I suppose you have to get used to being mindful, especially if you gain weight quickly which I do, I just have to look at a snack and I put on lol! And it will all be worth it when we get to our goals.

    I’m thinking when it comes to maintenance I might give myself a 3lb buffer, I can go over or under by that amount but no more! I was thinking 5lb but that nearly half a stone...


    I have been wondering about the buffer myself and how long you would track an increase before you confirmed it was fat and not just water fluctuations. Lots of stuff to consider. The smart play would be to look at the successful maintainers and review their various methods and decide what might work for us as individuals.
  • TwinThompson
    TwinThompson Posts: 80 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    NovusDies wrote: »
    Using the terms changing my lifestyle or eating healthier, have helped me thisctime round instead of saying I’m on a diet. A diet to me means depriving yourself and I don’t do well with that.
    But then sometimes I get flustered over saying changing my lifestyle, it makes me think the weight loss will never end, will I always have to say no to some foods, how will I maintain without gaining. I’ve got a way to go before I worry about any of these things, but I do still stop and think sometimes 🤔

    I went through a bit of a mourning period when I came to the realization that what I do now will be probably forever. I will always have to be mindful and I will always have to be careful how often I eat above maintenance. I can eat more and enjoy myself on vacations and holidays but I can't live like I am on vacation anymore. What I am giving up though is eating myself into jail of fat and what I am gaining is my freedom.

    I also worry about maintenance. They say it is harder than losing weight. I suspect that is true since most people fail to do it. I used to think it was so far away I didn't need to bother thinking about it too much but once you get some momentum it starts to sneak up on you at least that is the way it feels to me right now.

    I suppose you have to get used to being mindful, especially if you gain weight quickly which I do, I just have to look at a snack and I put on lol! And it will all be worth it when we get to our goals.

    I’m thinking when it comes to maintenance I might give myself a 3lb buffer, I can go over or under by that amount but no more! I was thinking 5lb but that nearly half a stone...


    I have been wondering about the buffer myself and how long you would track an increase before you confirmed it was fat and not just water fluctuations. Lots of stuff to consider. The smart play would be to look at the successful maintainers and review their various methods and decide what might work for us as individuals.

    Ah yes, water weight.... erm, maybe I’ll just go by clothes sizes lol
  • dhiammarath
    dhiammarath Posts: 832 Member
    While I'm still losing, it's slower now since I'm on the last 20lbs. I can easily fluctuate up to 7lbs of water weight (if I have a week like last week: 20-30k steps, amusement parks in the heat, plus high-salt, high-carb food). So I go by measurements AND weight. So if my measurements aren't up (more than a few cm) but my weight is, I know it's water weight. So I use two data points to check the data the scale gives.
  • LilSkittles22
    LilSkittles22 Posts: 22 Member
    This is such a great topic. I know I find myself struggling with this debate. I am doing my best to change how I live my life and how I think about food. I will never be a purely "eat to live" kind of person. I love food and I want to enjoy all the amazing stuff out there. I'm trying to teach myself moderation, and always question if something is worth the calories. I feel like the only way to make this sustainable is to not deny myself things that I enjoy, because deprivation leads to bingeing.

    I agree about mourning the way I used to eat. There is part of my that wants to be able to just eat whatever I want all the time without thinking about it. But I'm tired of being fat. I want a baby. I want to fit more comfortably in an airplane seat for all the traveling my husband and I want to do. I want to be able to shop at regular stores instead of just plus size ones. I will never get the things I want if I continue to live my life the way I was. I think each person has to decide if the things they want that come with being thinner are worth giving up old eating habits. For me it is worth it, and I remind myself of those things when I miss eating until I'm ready to explode. Also, because I don't eat so much and I'm eating better, my stomach doesn't bother me as much and I don't deal with the aftermath of feeling miserable after a huge meal. All those things are what keep me moving forward and keep my mindset in "lifestyle change" vs "diet".
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    @LilSkittles22 many people think grief is only about someone dying but it really applies to any major change which forces you to leave an old normal behind and face a new one. Even when you grieve a death a lot of what you are mourning is how your life will have to be lived without that person in it anymore.

    I think what we all have to figure out as we go is how much more activity can we add and sustain to achieve more calories as we approach and enter maintenance. My BMR declines by about 4.5 calorie for every pound I lose. That really adds up! Or I should say that really subtracts fast! If I don't actively work to offset some of that with movement I may end up pretty miserable.
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,057 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    Using the terms changing my lifestyle or eating healthier, have helped me thisctime round instead of saying I’m on a diet. A diet to me means depriving yourself and I don’t do well with that.
    But then sometimes I get flustered over saying changing my lifestyle, it makes me think the weight loss will never end, will I always have to say no to some foods, how will I maintain without gaining. I’ve got a way to go before I worry about any of these things, but I do still stop and think sometimes 🤔

    I went through a bit of a mourning period when I came to the realization that what I do now will be probably forever. I will always have to be mindful and I will always have to be careful how often I eat above maintenance. I can eat more and enjoy myself on vacations and holidays but I can't live like I am on vacation anymore. What I am giving up though is eating myself into jail of fat and what I am gaining is my freedom.

    I also worry about maintenance. They say it is harder than losing weight. I suspect that is true since most people fail to do it. I used to think it was so far away I didn't need to bother thinking about it too much but once you get some momentum it starts to sneak up on you at least that is the way it feels to me right now.

    I suppose you have to get used to being mindful, especially if you gain weight quickly which I do, I just have to look at a snack and I put on lol! And it will all be worth it when we get to our goals.

    I’m thinking when it comes to maintenance I might give myself a 3lb buffer, I can go over or under by that amount but no more! I was thinking 5lb but that nearly half a stone...

    I think of maintenance as more a range than having a buffer, because like @NovusDies said there's always going to be water weight fluctuations and mine can be as much as 5-6lbs.

    So my goal weight is 190lbs but my maintenance range will likely be 185-195lbs, but focusing on keeping my trending weight around the 188-192 mark.
  • real_change
    real_change Posts: 53 Member
    My user name is real_change because I want to learn how to live at a healthy weight permanently. I think that means it has to be a lifestyle not a diet. I’ve learned a lot from you all that I’ve been incorporating into my day to day and it’s been really great. Like planning maintenance days and not denying myself things I enjoy. I’ve pretty much eaten all of my extra calories in secret because 1) I’m ashamed of eating junk food in front of others because I’m obese and 2) it’s how I’ve managed personal stress/trauma since childhood. But since starting this group and new lifestyle, I’ve been forcing myself to express desire for treats to my family and more openly talking to them about the shame I feel around my eating. It’s been so positive. I went to ice cream with my son two nights ago and it was so fun!

    Not to make you feel uncomfortable @NovusDies but so many of the things you’ve shared have helped me completely reshape my perspective (and I really thought I knew a lot about weight loss already!). One of your pearls of wisdom was this quote, “Having weight is hard, losing weight is hard, chose your hard.” It is hard to think of giving up my secret stress binges, but it was so hard to keep them up. I always felt so sick afterward, full of self-loathing, and it makes me gain weight so rapidly. I’m trying to figure out what I call “emergency foods” which calm me down enough from my stress if I’m actually hungry but don’t wreck the day. These foods (one McDonald’s hamburger, for example) seem to satisfy my genuine hunger (I personally think it’s the fat) which gives me time to calm down enough to implement healthier stress reduction techniques. Maybe I won’t even need emergency foods some day but a lifestyle vs a diet approach has been so good to help me more creatively problem solve.

    LOVE this group!
  • jim_pipkin
    jim_pipkin Posts: 82 Member
    Big changes for me started last November - and YES, I changed my lifestyle radically. Daily workouts where there had been none for thirty years, careful calorie tracking via MFP, balancing the best macronutrients for fat loss, all that stuff. I missed my old sedentary lifestyle desperately for about two months...but I will never go back to living that way now. My whole lifestyle, and that of my wife, now center around healthy food, calorie tracking, and reasonable activity. We are in our 60s, so the object is not to become "ripped" like the youngsters - we just want smaller, healthier versions of ourselves.
  • kosseychick
    kosseychick Posts: 244 Member
    @real_change ... omg it's like I was reading about my own life.. the sneaking around consuming ice cream, chocolate, candy.. whatever I could get my mitts on.. I didnt want my husband to see and him make comments about it.. Eating in privacy didnt diminish the shame i felt but at least i didnt have to get a lecture about it..lol...
    I too am going for real change: my mindset, my eating habits and lack of movement all need an over haul. I wish you well on your journey😊
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    @real_change

    I appreciate the kind words but like many of the things in the inspirational thread that did not come from me. It is something that I have applied to my way of thinking that I have re-shared. I heard it a long time ago before I was ready to hear it and then when I saw it on MFP the first time again sometime last year it resonated with me. Changing your life is something you have to be ready to do though so timing is everything.

    I had a perspective change on the fast food situation. A few years ago I would go through a McD drive-thru and order some food and because I was quite large I would sometimes wonder if someone was judging my selection. Probably less often than I imagined. After I started towards a healthier weight and making progress I would go through the McD drive-thru and wonder if people inside realized I was eating whatever I was ordering to lose weight.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    edited August 2019
    jim_pipkin wrote: »
    Big changes for me started last November - and YES, I changed my lifestyle radically. Daily workouts where there had been none for thirty years, careful calorie tracking via MFP, balancing the best macronutrients for fat loss, all that stuff. I missed my old sedentary lifestyle desperately for about two months...but I will never go back to living that way now. My whole lifestyle, and that of my wife, now center around healthy food, calorie tracking, and reasonable activity. We are in our 60s, so the object is not to become "ripped" like the youngsters - we just want smaller, healthier versions of ourselves.

    @jim_pipkin

    Some people really do well with overnight changes. I never did. I would always engage in a battle mode mentality. The problem with a battle is that it is not normal, it gets tiring after a time, and the outcome is victory or defeat - all or nothing. Learning to approach food as a mundane everyday activity with more some days and less others turned out to be a better approach for me. I am eating not trying to conquer my food. My food is not a battle of good vs evil (healthy vs unhealthy) either. It is just food.
  • dhiammarath
    dhiammarath Posts: 832 Member
    I lost the first 80lbs eating mostly Taco Bell, Wendy's, and other fast food options. XD I'd still be eating them if I could (food allergies / celiac). I also approach this as living. I eat, I enjoy, I live; I do the things I love to improve my health (I tried the gym stint and I don't like it. I like nature and the sun -- even tho it does try to fry me -- and the wind and hiking and trails and all that.

    When I "re-started" -- more like refocused, I'd only regained about 20lbs from having to relearn how to eat to avoid the foods I'm allergic too plus gluten, so I never lost sight of the progress I'd made... but I knew I wanted to get to my goal. So when I refocused on getting to where I wanted to be, I wanted to make sure my changes were sustainable. No obligatory gym unless I wanted to train on inclines for vacations (and it was cold outside, but I wanted to make sure I could walk up and down everywhere in Europe this summer). So now, I primarily just walk. I am in a swimming stint now because it's summer, but I don't do a whole lot of obligatory exercise. Yeah, it means my calorie allocation is lower, but I'm okay with that. I do get out and walk at lunch but that's more for mental health and enjoyment of some vitamin D than "I need to walk to lose weight."

    Is it a lifestyle? Sure. Is it a diet? Also, sure. I'm on the fence with both words -- I guess I would say that I've adjusted how I live. Instead of mindlessly eating because I like the taste, I'm mindfully eating with the understanding of what consuming energy truly is. Eventually, I hope to transition to a place where I can maintain without always counting calories (like I did in HS and college, before I gained weight), but that's far into the future. For now, I'm trying to get to maintenance, a place that terrifies me.

    I have changed my lifestyle, but I have really changed how I view living. I want to be -- more, active, alive, enjoy, happy, confident, excited. A diet will take me to where I want to be, mindful living will keep me there (through copious calorie counting, of course).

    My mantra is to try not to get bogged down in labels (diets, lifestyle changes, journeys, etc), but to focus on living my best life. (Attempting) to be adventurous! I am not always successful. Some days are easier than others because for however hard weight loss it, it is nothing compared to the mental construction I have to work on every day to see the me I am now versus the me I was 7 years ago.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    @dhiammarath I believe I see your point. Labels are for communicating not for internalizing.

    I think like a lot of people I had pretty negative feeling about the word diet because I failed at so many in the past. It was almost like a jinx word. Now that I am further along when someone asks me what diet I am on I don't care as much so I don't correct them anymore. Other people will still have pretty strong feelings about distancing themselves from it that may last for a short time or a long time.

    Reading your post really emphasizes something that I really had to learn. I have to find my own recipe. I can look at the habits of people who successfully maintain but if they don't fit me I can't force it. The breakfast debate rolls around MFP on occasion and the statistic that most successful maintainers eat breakfast is cited. Eating breakfast makes it harder on me so most is not me.
  • dhiammarath
    dhiammarath Posts: 832 Member
    @NovusDies Exactly. Only you can define what is good for you. I read, absorb, and learn. And then I deconstruct it and put it back together sobthat it fits me.

    Like food scales. Great tool, but I’m far too lazy for that so I do it once or twice to get a good idea and then I don’t really use it much. So far I’ve been successful largely without it.

    *fistbump*! I am also not a breakfast eater! Never have been my whole life and I didn’t gain weight until the end of college.

    I also maintained 60 of my 80 lbs lost for 6 never eating breakfast. 🤣
  • real_change
    real_change Posts: 53 Member
    @real_change ... omg it's like I was reading about my own life.. the sneaking around consuming ice cream, chocolate, candy.. whatever I could get my mitts on.. I didnt want my husband to see and him make comments about it.. Eating in privacy didnt diminish the shame i felt but at least i didnt have to get a lecture about it..lol...
    I too am going for real change: my mindset, my eating habits and lack of movement all need an over haul. I wish you well on your journey😊

    @kosseychick Thank you and I also wish you well! Family is tricky. My husband loves me very much but he’s never struggled with obesity and doesn’t get it. However, I’ve been talking more openly about my shame and sadness over my struggles and things he says that inadvertently hurt me. It’s actually been really good for both of us individually and as a couple. But it’s taken me soooo long to get to this place and having people like you in this support group has helped me open up to my family like I have never been able to do.