The Past is the Past

Why I Started This is Not a Diet

Two years ago, I was half way through my weight loss journey.  I had lost 60 lb.  The way I did that was to count calories and exercise.  It worked slowly, but steadily.  I felt pleased with my success.

A big part of that success was a website called Fatsecret.  Not only did I find the tools I needed to track my food intake, I also found a community of wonderful people on similar journeys who could relate to everything I was going through.  I am still online friends with many of the people I “met” there.  (Thanks buddies!)

But I also became painfully aware that for many people, this path was very different.  Diet sites are full of supportive people and people trying very hard.  But they’re also full of obnoxious misguided people who believe in whatever diet they are following at the moment with religious fervor and like to tell you why Their Way is the Only Way.  And this becomes a Diet War, with each dieter trying to prove his/her way is the best.  Low carb, low fat, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Medifast, SlimFast, Paleo, etc, etc, etc.

I can’t say I’m particularly proud of the amount of “debating” I did on that site at one time, but it was really just me working through my own thoughts.  What I came to realize is just how awful the Diet Industry is and I came to believe that the major problem with people and why there’s so little success in permanent weight loss is the Diet Mentality.  I’d never really thought about it much, but there it was in black and white all over those forums: people berating themselves, going on and off different diets, gaining and losing the same weight over and over again, yet never quite understanding that the only path to permanent weight loss is permanent change.

I saw people doing the most horrid things to themselves in the name of weight loss.   Starvation diets.  Cleanses.  Fasting.  Consuming nothing but shakes.  I came to see how extremely low calorie some of the most popular diet plans turned out to be when entered into the Fatsecret food diary.  Diets I had seen commercials for many times, adding up to less than 1000 calories a day.  How can this be legal? I wondered.

I got really angry.

I even left the site multiple times because I couldn’t take the insanity of it all.  On one of those occasions, I decided to start my own blog and it would be about Not Dieting.  In a world where everyone is trying to sell a weight loss miracle pill/plan/book… I would be something different.  I would tell people they don’t need no stinkin’ diet.  And I would let my own success and experience speak for itself.

By the time I finished losing weight, I realized that I had to disengage from diet forums.  I tried to find one focused on weight maintenance and though I did find a few, none seemed to be what I was looking for.

You see, there was a moment in the process for me when it all clicked into place.  The struggle ended.  My life was different.  My habits were different.  I was disentangled.  My weight didn’t define me and I knew what it took to be fit and healthy.  I found out that there were more benefits than I ever dreamed to eating well and exercising, like sleeping better, less mood swings, just being generally in better health and happiness all the time.  With a strong base, I felt that life had gotten easier in many aspects.

But among other weight maintainers, I rarely found this.  It seemed like nobody was happy or satisfied.  They were either still really struggling with food or just miserable about not having perfect bodies.  This really bothered me.  Here we were- people who had accomplished what so many dream of- the loss of 100s of pounds- and everyone was miserable!  When would enough be enough!?

It was then that I found out you could create a Facebook page for a blog.  So I did that, and I made my own weight maintenance and healthy living community.  I’m so happy about how that has turned out.  It’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people who are really interested in changing their lives.  I couldn’t take all the negativity I found in some of those other places.  It was just too heartbreaking.

I still visit Fatsecret once a month to weigh in and let everyone know I’m still maintaining, I’m still happy, I’m still me.  I practice what I preach.  And it IS possible.  It doesn’t have to be torture.  It can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life if you are open to change and learning.

When I stop by there, I browse the forums but quickly leave.  This isn’t where I belong- where people are discussing whether sugar alcohols in gum are allowed on Atkins and if 800 calories a day is too little on Weight Watchers.  It just gets me angry.  So I leave and I create my own positive spaces.  And I feel like I’m helping others, which is the most rewarding part of all.

That’s why I’m here.  Nice of you to join me!

17 thoughts on “Why I Started This is Not a Diet

  1. There was one sentence here that explained why you don’t belong there, why you’re different from a vast majority of the population in general, and why you succeeded.

    “I practice what I preach.”

    That’s something my dad taught me since day one. Invaluable lesson. Keep it up! You’re amazing.

  2. Thank you! I love your blog (and your Facebook page!). I don’t want to count sugar alcohols our debate how much popcorn you can eat without counting points. I want to find people who want healthly habits to be the norm and who try crazy fruits and veggies then share ways to eat them! I love reading your blog so much I won’t even hold it against you that you hate my hometown (Boston). 😉

  3. It’s refreshing to hear someone speak from the heart of passion regarding getting an “ah ha” about a struggle in their life. Kudos to you for finding your own path and much continued success to you!
    I look forward to keeping up with your blog in the future! 🙂

    BodyFuelIWG on Facebook.

  4. I love your mindset and the way you get touched by what people are doing to themselves in the name of slimming. It ca go crazy pretty quickly…
    Thanks for your sharing and your support !

  5. Your characterization of that website is dead on! And the number of people who will comment that “You must try ____ diet because it works for me every time!” just kills me – people honestly don’t get that the right “diet” is something that you only do once- and permanently! Mostly, I find the value is with my like-minded buddies who can offer insights that I don’t see myself, provide encouragement when I’m struggling and share tips that aren’t based on cutting carbs or trying to live on shakes!

    The way you talk about having everything “click” is where I’m hoping to get but not there yet. That’s definitely where I want to be the rest of my life and I love how your facebook feed continually affirms the the healthy lifestyle approach. Thank you for sharing your inspiring self with the rest of us!

  6. I really love this post. I hope to get to this point. I am stuck in an all or nothing mentality but am trying to break free!

  7. I love your blog and your FB page, and I was around Fatsecret in your debating days! I always sides with you. 🙂 Even though I was NOT practicing the healthy eating that i agreed with. I’m working hard to get there now. You are a big inspiration for me!

    thanks for letting me know that it’s possible to break the obsession.

  8. Wow… I just found your site through Samantha and I’m amazed right away. I really feel as though you read my mind, like you were there when I started my journey. I’d tell you how I feel but I think you already know. I too get tired of hearing people say why my way won’t work or how it won’t last or that it worked for me but wouldn’t work for others. I am about health, not just weight, not just the scale but eating better and exercising. No way you can tell me that won’t work for people, with the word working meaning to make people healthier (not necessarily skinny). I’m intrigued to continue reading and thank you for being a stop on my journey!

  9. I LOVE your story! The way that you are paying it forward is exactly why people are drawn to your blog, and FB page. And it is precisely the freedom that we all need to feel in our lives (NOT a perpetual diet!) 🙂

  10. Amen sister! I found your blog thru GoKaleo… feel the same way. I am very frustrated and sad that SO MANY women hate their bodies. I am loving that I found a way to health and yes, we all find it our own way and we all do what we need to do to maintain – even tho’ it’s also very suprising to me how many will tell you that you are doing it “wrong”… whatever. How does what I put in my mouth affect your life in any way, shape or form?? Anyway, I’m just glad I found a way that clicked with me and that I finally feel healthy and alive and my body responded happily and now does all these things that it never used to do and I am delighted with my body. Delighted! I love my body and what it does for me even tho’ I’m sure I’m far from an idea media image. grin.

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