I Don’t “Diet”

(See comments for why I put “diet” in quotes. I’m referring to modern society’s use of the word, which has morphed into an accepted use of the term as a verb. “Diet” originally meant how you fuel your body and did not mean a temporary change in eating habits, the way people use the term today. The popular use of “diet” as a verb gained it general acceptance and is now defined in the dictionary… Much like the evolution of “ain’t.”. You’ll likely never hear me say, “I’m on a diet,” or, “I’m dieting right now.”. We are all on a diet all of the time, but people generally think of a “diet” as a temporary change in eating habits to lose our gain weight. I am referring to the general use of “diet” here.)

I don’t “diet.”

I eat wisely and healthily, but I don’t “diet.”

I just ate one of my homemade ice cream bars (but with mint chip ice cream this time) and it was worth every.single.calorie.  I refuse to deny myself some of my favorite things in life just because they’re bad for me, and ice cream is one of them.  🙂  Hell, while I’m being honest, I’ll also admit that Diet Pepsi (which I’ve reduced greatly in the last week because it was seriously out of control) and McDonald’s Egg White Delight sandwich (without “meat”) are my other two vices.  Those are the three things I can’t live without – or rather – I won’t choose to live without.

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I eat in moderation.  I schedule my daily exercise based on my eating plan for the day, or I modify my eating plan based on my exercise commitments for the day.  It’s all very fluid.  Right now, as I’m committed to The Master’s Hammer and Chisel program for the next 7 weeks, I just can’t get behind the food container system because my allowances change based on the exercise I do each day, and that’s just too hard.  If I’m using the containers, I want to know that every single day, no matter what I do in regards to exercise, I get 3 containers of this, 2 containers of that, etc.  When I tried that, I was starving and there was no way the bracket I was assigned could provide the calories I needed each day to not go into “starvation mode.”  I think the container system is great for people who are new to nutrition and aren’t sure what a real serving of each thing looks like, but I’ve got it pretty figured out.

I count calories and I plan to net (total calories minus exercise calories burned) 1350 calories a day.  Most days I hit that, some days I don’t.  I come in 100 calories under my target quite a bit, and I go a few hundred calories over once a week because I believe in having a “free day” when it comes to nutrition.

Today was my free day.  🙂

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I’ve been at this nutrition thing long enough to know what counts as a serving of veggies or fruit (1 cup), a serving of dressing (2 tablespoons), etc.  With that said, when I make mason jar salads, I totally get out the measuring containers because it is really easy to go overboard on salads!  I also know that a serving of carbs is 1/2 a cup of physical food and because that can be hard to eyeball, I usually measure those with measuring cups.  Measuring cups are much easier to use than the square containers, at least they are for me!

  • Fruits and vegetables – 1 cup
  • Proteins – 3/4 cup
  • Carbs – 1/2 cup
  • Healthy Fats – 1/3 cup
  • Seeds/dressing – 2 TBSP

Yesterday was NOT my free day, but we decided to have fajitas for dinner.  I measured out my allotment of sour cream (2 TBS), cheese (1 ounce), chicken (6 ounces), and soft corn tortillas (4) and stuck to it.  Yep – I weighed and measured because I can’t be trusted on “taco night” and I didn’t want to blow it.  I dropped 0.4 pounds between yesterday and today because I stuck to my daily 1350 calorie limit.  My system works for me.

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I put a lot of work into figuring out the daily net calorie goal that works for me.  When I was netting 1200 calories a day, my results were hit and miss after my initial big weight loss last year.  When I upped it to 1350 a day, I started dropping weight slowly and consistently again.  My body obviously wants more nutrition than less on the workout schedule I follow (it is very rigorous and more intense than it’s ever been) and I’m committed to giving it what it needs.  It’s no fun being hungry 50% of the day, believe me.

I don’t make special dietary changes based on new years resolutions or choosing a new fitness program – I just want to net 1350 calories each day with healthy calories and calories balanced across fruits, veggies, carbs, fats, and proteins (and some goodies like ice cream!).  Every calorie counts.  Every decision counts.  I have no shame in making an unhealthy decision because I really want something tasty – I just don’t do it every night and I usually save it for that weekly free day.

But I DO.NOT.DIET.  Uh uh  No way!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “I Don’t “Diet”

  1. I’m curious what you consider to be “a diet,” because back when I used that word, it meant sticking to a certain amount of calories a day, which seems to be what you do. So if tracking calories and making sure you stay under a certain amount over a certain amount of time is not a diet, then what is?

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    1. And I will totally concede that I was using the word wrong back when I considered tracking–and limiting–calories to be “a diet”,” in the way I believe you’re using the term here.

      I will also say that in recent years I’ve used the word “diet” more to refer to dietary guidelines (like to help describe what kinds of food I am eating, not that I am limiting what I eat with the specific purpose of losing weight). It’s hard because the word is used in both ways, and sometimes the intended meaning can be obscured. This is actually a really interesting topic. I’d love to study the entomology of the word.

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    2. You are correct, but most people don’t look at it that way when they say, “I’m on a diet.” When you say, “my diet is no grains, natural meat, etc.” then yes, I diet – because we all do 😉 But the way people use the word today – no – I don’t diet!

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  2. I like the convo above in the comments. 🙂
    I don’t use the containers all the time by any means, but they do help me get back on track with what I’m eating from time to time (and they definitely helped me get my macros back on track).
    I so love MFP, so the mix of the two has been great for me!

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