Can we just call it a diet?

if you follow on Facebook (if you don’t HURRY over!), I was talking about how I am coming to really dislike when experts (or other advice-givers) say “it’s not a diet, you don’t need a diet, you just need to make small lifestyle changes”.

I don’t hate it because it’s not true but because it discounts how HARD of a process it is.  When you are personally struggling to make those changes, you start to feel ashamed and worthless, “it’s supposed to be so easy and I can’t even do it”.  And in the beginning, I won’t be surprised if you, like me, even say “man if this is a LIFESTYLE … it SUCKS!”  (don’t worry, I love it now ;)   )

It’s hard - YOU CAN do it, but it is hard.  There is no “just” about it, and likely there’s not much “small” about it either.  I eat roughly 42 meals in a week and not ONE of them is what I ate in my previous “lifestyle” – that doesn’t sound like a small change to me.

When your eating, cooking, shopping, tried and true restaurant, and social circle foods include brisket and ribs and sausage and nachos and enchiladas and pizza and loaded baked potatoes and mayonnaise sandwiches and dessert before bedtime… weight loss (fat loss for the nit-pickers) requires a pretty big overhaul (because *likely* if you are looking to lose weight you don’t already have fatloss friendly eating habits ;)   ).

In truth, it is certainly a “lifestyle change” …it becomes a new way of life if you hope to maintain what you achieve.  But you don’t just buy some chicken and some broccoli and start to lose weight – you have to re-learn how to shop/cook/eat.  Now I make myself sound like I had awful food choices, and really they weren’t always so bad – I ate chicken and broccoli and made an effort to include vegetables in my meals…. but even those healthy meals often had “just a little” alfredo or cheese sauce.

Who ever heard of eating broccoli without the cheese sauce?  I finally learned how to make awesome cheese sauce too!  If you shouldn’t eat cereal for breakfast, what DO you eat?  What is there to eat at a mexican restaurant that isn’t covered in cheese?  and will it even taste good?  In 37 years I’d never even purchased cottage cheese or egg whites or frozen squash or almond milk or almond flour or turkey/sweet potatoes outside of Tgiving or oatbran and especially not protein powder!  Much less did I have a clue of how to turn them into a meal or a dessert or a power breakfast…

It is a major overhaul, some of it done instantly (cold turkey just works best for some changes), some of it more gradual.  (don’t get scared, you don’t have to do it all at once but rest assured that at some point Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday and Ice Cream Saturday as a regular ritual are gonna need to go bye bye if you hope to lose fat)

We even eat out in different places (our fav family owned pizza owner commented “where on earth have you guys been??? and I felt bad that we don’t support his biz as much as we used to but a gal’s gotta do what she gotta do…).  When we go to the mall we normally stop and have a burger or some chinese food – I didn’t even know WHAT fatloss friendly foods I would be able to find there.  The first time our family ventured into the mall after I decided it was time to lose weight, I wandered thru the food court, lost for what I might order… I finally ended up going to the ladies room for a good cry, grabbing the protein bar from my purse, and making the best of what I knew at the time…  I did finally learn what I could order if we happen to venture into the mall again and I no longer have to excuse myself for a good cry :)

You don’t have to call it a DIET if you don’t want to – I personally don’t see anything wrong with the word … especially because when I am in lose-some-fat mode I do NOT eat like I do in maintain-it mode.  The “lifestyle change” still has to occur, you simply cannot expect to maintain a smaller weight eating the way you did in obesity (sorry pizza guy).  But in lose-some-fat mode I don’t touch cookies or nachos or _________ …  but I will have these in smaller doses in maintain-it mode.  The word diet helps me to distinguish the slightly different patterns of eating.  It’s also helpful for those around me to recognize the difference between not eating cookies for now and never having another cookie as long as I live.  You could also call it stricter and less strict… but the word diet just doesn’t bother me :)

I do get that advice-givers are trying to make it seem accessible to people who think it’s an impossible task but I think it’s misleading – there are lots of tears to be shed, lots of work to be done to make fat loss happen.
BUT what’s so wrong with it being hard?  “HARD” + “I did it” = “hot damn, I’m awesome!”
“HARD” means you earned it, “HARD” means you have something in you that you thought you didn’t, “HARD” means you can be proud of it too!

Weight loss is hard; getting fit is hard.  But don’t misunderstand me – it’s one of the most WORTH IT things I’ve ever done!

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