I feel the need to establish that at the very beginning before I go further with this blog. I know it is way easier to tell people that I was on a diet than tell them that I was trying to eat more healthily. I feel a little bit guilty about it but imagine that you are having a lunch with your friends/coworkers, and they’re piling food on their plates, and you are eating something you prepped from home.
They asked you: “Are you on diet?”
now you can answer:
or B: No actually. I am just trying to make a healthier choice for my body.
Personally for me, this gives the ‘holier than thou’ implication. Maybe I was thinking too much, maybe not. Doesn’t matter now.
But diets failed me.
Being a woman from Asia, we’ve been introduced to various way of keeping ourselves to the lower side of the BMI chart. Being underweight is not only acceptable but also being encouraged. Looking petite and frail are the traits associated with femininity. So once puberty hit, you started to see everything that is wrong with my body — that short legs, the chubby thighs, the little bulge in the stomach, and that unwanted fold where my bra straps were.
And then the usual story you heard too many times, I lost weight and then all those number bounced back when you stop the diet. I can’t believe it took me almost 20 years to realise that I had done everything the wrong way around. I’ve been dieting without knowing why I did what I did, and the science behind it. All I did was reducing the amount of food intake and did not know why and how it affected my body.
So, in 2015 I changed my strategy. Instead of starting another diet, I researched about how weight loss program works, and pick the popular weight loss programs in the country are designed and drew a parallel. The main similarity is that you will lose weight if you consume less calories than the amount of calories you spend. If you are active, technically means you can eat more. The trick is to know how to count the amount of calories on your food.
There are a lot of websites and apps which can help you calculate and approximate the closest number, and my favourite was MyFitnessPal. Also there are many ways to approximate your daily calorie budget. Combine both information… boom! Guaranteed weight loss.
People who went to crash diet took advantage from calorie deficit by consuming so little to achieve their weight goal in a short period of time. Raw food diet exploit the fact that food that are edible raw are usually low calories (fruit and vegetables), and at the same time avoiding everything deep fried. Keto and Paleo which mainly relies on meat and protein avoid the calorific carbs in their intake. Gluten free diet (ones who do this by choice, and not because they’re coeliac) removes the high calorie wheat products including cakes, pastries, noodles, and pasta. All of them work.
But to me, none of them are sustainable. Some of them because they just sucks, and the other would feel too punishing to be done for a long time.
I want to be able to eat Pringles every now and then. Go to KFC and enjoy guilt-free chicken wings. I want to be able to share doughnuts and ice cream with my husband when we go to the beach. And I want to be able to do that without having to exploit ‘cheat days’. I mean… what a concept. I need to cheat to enjoy life? In the end of the day who am I actually cheating in this ‘cheating day‘ session? Myself!
That’s why I don’t like the term dieting. What I want is losing weight without diet.
The concept is that if you put an accurate entry of your food journal, and make sure that in the end of the day/week/month you are consuming less calories than your max calorie budget. You don’t have a deadline. You don’t need to always on deficit every day. And, technically no food is off limit.
However the more I learned about it, the more conscious I was about what I did. Two months down the line, I started a different habit. Instead of dieting, I was building a better lifestyle.
That’s why I am reluctant to call this as a diet journal. Weight loss journal maybe. But the word diet reminds me of the rise and fall of the number on the scale, and wasn’t particularly pleasant experience. Even one recurring joke among my female friends is: ‘how can diet be fun if the first three words reads DIE?’. And also… the word diet implies a temporary commitment. Something that will end when the result has been achieved. Something like, ‘Oh I need to get in to that dress, I better go on a diet’. Short term solution for a short term goal.
I don’t want that.
This is not a diet.