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The word "diet" and calorie counting

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Old 03-13-2014, 03:05 PM  
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Originally Posted by carter View Post
I do not like thinking in terms of "lifestyle change." I find it both hokey (almost as bad as the cloying "weight-loss journey") and daunting. I don't think in terms of the rest of my life. That's just too darn long. I think in terms of the next food choice I have to make.

I do have a plan for active weight loss when I am pursuing active weight loss, and a plan for maintenance when I am maintaining, and I think in terms of "on-plan choices" and "off-plan choices". Part of my plan includes counting calories.

So, that's the terminology I've developed myself over the years I've been working on this.

It's so refreshing to read your post (and kaplods). I'm not sure why, but I often think that "it's just me" when I just don't connect with the majority on something that is so accepted, like the words and phrases used in lieu of dieting. The funny thing is that "diet" actual just means what you eat, but it's taken on a connotation of eating for weight loss. I would argue, though, that phrases like "weight loss journey" or "lifestyle change" now just have the connotation of being code for weight-loss dieting. I would say that most people who hear those phrases realize that the person using them is on some sort of plan in which eating is restricted in some way to lose weight.

Of course, as I mentioned before, if it helps someone to use a phrase rather than "dieting," that's great. Whatever works.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:07 PM  
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The only difference between someone calling something a lifestyle and someone calling it a diet is that "diet" tends to be thought of colloquially as temporary. I agree with others that whether or not you consider your change in habits to be temporary or permanent doesn't make you any more or less likely to succeed. I've seen people on other forums argue about this same subject: "Ketogenic eating is a LIFESTYLE, not a DIET!!!".

Whether or not you consider your habit changes permanent can effect your actions. I don't think it should be a point of focus. My best success in dieting and any endeavor comes from taking things a day at a time. It's best not to worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Just make the best choices you can right now.

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Old 03-13-2014, 03:23 PM  
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I never knew what "lifestyle change" meant until I passed the stage of true maintenance where a lot of my eating habits have literally become habits i.e. actions without much conscious thought.

For example, one habit I have is to not eat when I'm focused on something else - work or a unique event etc (so my original thought about me not being an emotional eater may not be entirely correct, hmmm). Looking back, I think in this last 6 days since the Malaysian Airlines flight went missing I only ate like 1000 cals a day as I have been really focused on the new developments of the story. Hunger was the only thing that drove me to the kitchen and if nothing nice is there, I leave empty handed.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:43 PM  
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I use the word diet to mean "eating at a caloric deficit". I don't know how else to say it. Weight loss journey sounds silly and lifestyle change means a lot more than losing weight to me so it doesn't seem quite right.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:10 PM  
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For me saying I'm on a diet (to myself) makes me more accountable about what I eat and how I eat, like actively counting calories, making sure to work out. I'm trying to slowly get used to it and incorporate into my daily lifestyle so my portions are in the same sizes that I would measure out.

Before I would eye-ball things and didn't lose an ounce because I was eating at maintenance. For me, I have to use all these silly terms, but I agree there are days where all these weight loss things feel like a complete drag! (my no-loss weeks lol!)

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Old 03-13-2014, 04:41 PM  
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I find "Weight loss journey" to be a most ridiculously saccharine term. But that's just me.

I still use the word diet, because at this point I am still "restricting" but I know that I will be eating this way (with a few more calories) for ever. But outside of here, I don't talk about it period. I don't want to be defined by the fact that I'm losing weight.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:49 PM  
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I don't use the term "dieting" when talking to others about my lifestyle because of what THEY might interpret it as.... a specific way of eating (usually calorie and food restriction) for a LIMITED portion of time to achieve a goal and then you fall off the wagon, LOL

I just say my way of eating, or more to the point: portion control which most (esp) Americans have no concept of.

I understand the definition of "diet" is more correctly to describe one's food intake but i don't think the average person thinks of it in those terms which is why i don't use it w/others.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:03 PM  
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Originally Posted by ReillyJ View Post
I understand the definition of "diet" is more correctly to describe one's food intake but i don't think the average person thinks of it in those terms which is why i don't use it w/others.
Maybe this varies regionally, but this isn't my experience. I find that most people do use and understand diet as a generic term. I hear people (thin people too, not just overweight people) all the time talking about diet in the generic sense:

"I'm concerned about my five year old's diet, I can't get her to eat any vegetables."

"I need to reduce the amount of fat in my diet, my doctor is concerned about my cholesterol."

"My diet would be a lot healthier if I didn't like fried foods so much.

"Now that I'm diabetic, I have to watch my diet more carefully."

"If you want to bulk up, you need to weightlift and add extra protein to your diet."

Context tells you how the person means it.

"On a diet," or "dieting" is generally weight loss. "On a special diet," or "my diet" could mean anything, but usually you can tell what the person means by how they use the term. Within a sentence or two you get what they mean.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:14 AM  
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Just like how the word "diet" might make people feel a certain ways, the words "lifestyle change" (when used while actively in the weight-loss stage and not in reference to the maintenance stage) and "weight loss journey" makes it feel like I live in a tiny box with 5 ft tall ceilings lol. So different strokes I guess. Nice to know that we aren't alone though in that words evoke different feelings amongst everyone.

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Old 03-14-2014, 09:42 AM  
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Originally Posted by magical View Post
I never knew what "lifestyle change" meant until I passed the stage of true maintenance where a lot of my eating habits have literally become habits i.e. actions without much conscious thought.

... Hunger was the only thing that drove me to the kitchen and if nothing nice is there, I leave empty handed.
I want to be like this!

"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:07 AM  
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For me, the best that I have tried is Paleo. And I DID NOT worry about 'counting calories.' Been with it for the last several years now. Not only did it help me lose weight, but actually feel great! My love for it inspired me to write a book because it inspired me to share the greatness I have found in Paleo. Perhaps you can too. Just remember to eat the foods appropriate in Paleo! There are a lot of recipes available and you can eat deliciously without feeling the guilt!
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:16 AM  
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I try not to get bogged down in semantics or in judging other people's choice of words to express whatever it is they are doing.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:48 AM  
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Words take different meaning according to the context they are used, just generic words until you stick them in a sentence.

My favorite answer in regard to what I eat is : No thank you. I do not have to justify what I choose to eat to no one but myself.

Last edited by Michou : 06-03-2014 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:03 AM  
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So, i see myself as "being on a diet" right now. Its a weightloss journey. lol. Yes my diet is about losing weight. And it is a journey though i don't cover too many kilometres since i'm not really doing much exercise.

I find the word journey useful. As i've done a lot of travelling in my time its a meaningful term. I've been on other sorts of journeys too. Of course it might not be so meaningful to others. They may even find it pretentious or pointless but that's how i feel terms other people use.

WOE most of the time i can't even remember what it means so that frustrates me a little.

Back to my diet. while technically incorrect, as kaplods has shown us, i'm only on this diet until i reach my goal weight. Then i am no longer on a diet. But what i eat will not change. The way i am eating now is for life and i like to think of it like that because it helps me feel more committed.

Other people may not find that a useful way of thinking about their food choices, but it is very significant to me since every time i have reverted to eating sweets in the past, i've regained the weight i lost, so this change adopted involves quitting sweets but its only a diet so long as i'm losing weight, at least in terms of the terminology i use.

I think this thread shows that we are much more particular and diverse in the ways we think about and conceptualise the way we talk about our weightloss efforts than the way we actually go about losing weight. Which is a good thing.

Some people are totally comfortable with old terms and don't much care for the new. Some prefer the new over the old. Some find the new pretentious. Some find the old constricting and negative. etc etc. With the diversity of our backgrounds, is it any wonder?

Last edited by Pattience : 06-03-2014 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:38 AM  
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Originally Posted by Marniadec View Post
I use the word diet to mean "eating at a caloric deficit". I don't know how else to say it. Weight loss journey sounds silly and lifestyle change means a lot more than losing weight to me so it doesn't seem quite right.
I've never thought of it that way, but now that you describe it, that's how I use the term "diet", too. No matter what the plan is, the overall plan usually includes a calorie deficit. Even plans that don't emphasize calorie counting, like low-carb, often have a group that follows it and still needs to count calories in order to lose weight. *raises hand*

The other way I might use "diet" is "food choices for losing weight".
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