Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Why I don't believe in diets

This week I don't have a recipe for you because I had to think of a new Weekend Cooking post fairly quick. But this seems like the perfect opportunity to share some of my beliefs on diets. The reason why I want to share this is because there are so many people who struggle with their weight (even if they are not really overweight) or are insecure about it. I hear people talking about their diets a lot of times but I never really dare to discuss my views because they are not really commonly accepted still. But for one time I want to make an exception because I really want to share my views and experience. This post is not meant to offend anyone who is on a diet or wants to diet, this is just how I see it and what I do.

First a bit of background. I am not really overweight anymore but yes, I wear a size 42 now in European sizes. The biggest I ever was was a size 44-46. I too tried diets in the past, and yes I did lose weight when I was on a diet. But after I start eating normal again (and no not junk etc, but just normal) I always gained it back. There are a lot of people who say that diets don't work because after you quit you will gain it back. So after about 3 times I stopped and I just gradually started to adapt my eating habits to more healthier ones and I left the diets alone. Every year there is a new diet-guru who says this method works but in my point of view if your changes are temporary, it won't work in the long run.I also feel that if you just follow the menus that other people make for you, you will never learn to make healthy choices yourself. To me it is important that I can keep the change for basically the rest of my life and my goal is to eat more healthy, not to lose weight.

So here are some changes that I made permanently to give you an idea of my eating habits.
- I don't eat meat. I am a pescetarian. Yes, I still eat fish on occasion, this is mainly for health reasons. I don't say that it is unhealthy to eat meat, I did this mostly out of empathy with the animals. But I do believe that people in general over-consume meat. Most people eat a bigger portion than is good for them.
- This is also the most important change I made: Eat smaller portions. I believe that I can eat anything I want as long as I adjust my intake. I fool my brain by taking a smaller plate and fill that so my brain thinks I ate a full plate and this makes me feel satisfied earlier.
- Full is full. Even if there are only a few bites left, if my body tells me I am full, I will stop eating.
- I use fresh veggies in almost every meal. I love my organic vegetable bag and I plan my menu accordingly what veggies I have in the bag.
- Menu planning also helps. Because I plan easy meals for busy days, we don't eat a lot of junk food.  I also take my own food with me when I go out, so I don't have to resort to junk, if I don't want to. (and because I have a sensitive digestion and I don't eat meat, this is much easier for me)
- Home cooking! I rarely cook out of a box anymore. No overdose on salt and other junk that they put in pre boxed meals. I noticed that this made a huge difference and maybe even the most difference of all the changes I made. This doesn't mean that I never cook out of a box. There are still things that I don't know how to make myself or that take too much time, but also in moderation.
- I got informed. I think for myself if something is healthy or not, and decide then if I want to eat it or if there is a more healthy alternative. Because I am informed I can make my own choices. And I don't know everything, but I keep reading and learning about food. Next that it make me more independent, I also think it is fun. It is much easier to make healthy food choices now know why I make them.
- I eat whatever I feel like eating! Yes, if I crave chocolate, I will eat it. Hell, I eat a snack every day. But portion control is key here. I don't eat whole packages of cookies in one night. A pack of cookies can last me about 4 days to a week. But the key is to not deny my body what it is asking for.

To sum it all up: No I don't eat perfectly healthy, but I listen to my body and this works for me. Second of all, I don't need to be a size 34-36, it wouldn't fit me. I have accepted my body the way it is and yes, I have lost weight but it goes gradually and it is not my main goal. I love cooking, baking and eating and I won't deny myself good stuff because it is bad for me.I will just eat less of it.

Again, I don't mean to offend anyone with this post, I just wanted to tell my view on food and I hope that people will learn something useful to them. And if not, that is fine too. I believe that if you find a method to deal with food that suits you, you can stick to a more healthy life style. And please don't let others bring you down, no matter what size or shape you are :)

This post is part of Weekend Cooking, please take a look to see what the other participants have been up to :)


  1. I couldn't agree with you more! I, however, do eat meat (not every day, not every meal) and I don't deny myself the foods I love. I'm lucky because I don't crave sweets very often and I'm almost always happy with just a piece of fruit as a snack.

    I've also been lucky to have never really struggled with weight gain, although the older I get the more I have to pay attention. I totally agree with you that, at least from my own personal experience, it's mostly about portion control and eating fresh, real food.

    I too don't mean to be disrespectful. I've been blessed with good genes, I've always been small and on the thin side, but I know that others have different physical makeups, and it's much, much harder for them.

  2. ok..I am not giving up meat, but yes, I think we eat way too much of it. Too much processed food, too much salt, too many preservatives, too few veggies.

  3. This is so sensible. My husband and I decided to give up processed food for a while, but then it turned out to be SO hard, and we don't even rely on them heavily. I wish we ate less meat, but this is cattle country and that's how he was raised, so it's HARD.

  4. We are not dieters either but by using some of these ideas that you posted about we're able to stay lean (now if I could just get to the gym to get rid of the extra baby weight!). Stopping when full is the most difficult for me, especially when eating out. But I've found that eating slower helps with that.

    Great post Cynni.

  5. Your views are very similar to mine. When I was reading this I kept mentally putting a check mark next to everything I do. Almost all of it was exactly the same as what I do. :)

  6. I completely agree with you, primarily because what you are saying makes sense. My heart aches for these women who only pick at food and miss out on one of life's pleasures. I agree that over-eating is a problem, but the women I'm thinking of are paper thin. They look malnourished but are constantly dieting. Life is not about the size o your clothes. Stick to you principles.

  7. I'm with you 100% - OK, maybe like 95% since I'm still a meat-eater, but as I mentioned in my post today, I really am trying to eat less of it - whether it's taking it out of meals, or reducing the amount I use and replacing it with more veggies.

    But yes, I think diets are completely pointless. It's all about lifestyle and choosing to keep those processed meals out of your kitchen.

  8. I like your rules! Very smart lady you are!

  9. A very sensible approach - I totally agree! Love your photos, too.

  10. Great post on a sensitive subject. I agree with you in most of the points. We eat meat and we will do - but we have reduced meat portion sizes back to normal and it's also normal to have a meal w/o meat. We completely consume 'eco' products - I don't want to get feeded with hidden antibiotica in my meals. When I am seriously ill then I go to see the doctor not the butcher. And portion control is way better than all that diet madness.

  11. This is a great post. I lost 30+ pounds [14+kg] two years ago when I went on a calorie counting plan and have kept it off, but it was really based on the same principles that you list above. In fact, I rarely use the word diet to describe what I did.. I prefer to call it an eating plan! I still ate the foods I loved.. just in smaller portions. I also learned how hard you have to exercise just to burn 100 calories, so that helped put indulging in sweets and snacks into perspective.

    We are careful meat and fish eaters, but aside from that you and I have very similar food philosophies. I've always been good about eating a wide variety and generous servings of fruits and vegetables, but I've recently kicked that up even more. I'm now trying to have vegetables with breakfast, too, whether it be in an omelette or in smoothies. I try to grab snacks that are also fruit, vegetable and nut based as much as possible, although I don't deny myself a cookie or cracker now and then.

    Great post, Cynni. :)

  12. This makes a lot of sense and I think you articulated it really well. I love your pics!!! My kids would go WILD for the little picks with the pandas on them. I'm gonna google them! Thanks!!

  13. Sounds like you've got a good handle things!

  14. What a wonderful, sensible approach to eating. You gave us all some great ideas and things to think about.

  15. A very good post! I agree with you on diets. Even though I did lose a lot of weight with the help from weightwatchers. After I had two kids I was a size 46, too, went down to 38 and am now a 40. Somehow I think everybody has a certain weight that is theirs and - unless you are anorexic or something - you will stick with it sooner or later.
    Your approach to eating is healthy and sensible.