Mea Culpa: Re-Evaluating The Diet Cycle

I owe Larkspur a kidney. Or maybe just a chocolate Easter bunny. Something, anyway. In her post yesterday, she discussed an article I linked to last week, an article I apparently read after a hit on the crack pipe.

The article in question is the one on Diet Cycling. When I read it, I thought the author’s focus was on eliminating severe restrictions in our diets, to instead move toward replacing unhealthy foods with healthy ones. Since that’s what I’ve been doing (and continue to do) and it worked so well for me, I agreed heartily. My yo-yo years of “dieting” were caused, in part, by eliminating everything I liked and trying to force myself to eat foods I didn’t like. Overwhelmed with the stress of denial, I’d eventually fall off the wagon. And that’s what I thought the article was saying.

After reading Larkspur’s post and re-visiting the article, I see that I missed a primary point with which I emphatically disagree:

“If you’ve ever been on a diet where you restrict your food intake and avoid specific foods, but allow “cheat days” to release the restrictions, that process can be very dangerous.”

Yeah, well, crossing the street can also be dangerous, but most of us manage to do it frequently and with great success. Or maybe we’re just lucky. Whatever. The point is that many people (specifically, Yours Truly) manage to have splurge meals and lose weight AND keep it off (though, not without the occasional Squish Belly.)

I apologize (profusely!) for not reading the article more closely and processing more completely the fact that it was, at least partially, in direct contradiction to the “tippy toe approach” I advocate so strongly. Those of you who’ve been hanging out here awhile know I love my splurges and have them regularly. Between my SMART splurging and my beloved Cake Day, I’m able to have fond favorites often enough to keep me happy, but not so much that I gain weight. It’s worked for me so far, and I’d hope it would work for you, if for no other reason than I hate to think of you living without {insert your pleasure here} forever!

And that brings me to the point of the lovely Larkspur’s post, which is that we’re all different people and what works for one will not necessarily be the best solution for someone else. When we find something that works for us individually, we should embrace it for all its worth, regardless of articles like this that would seem to imply we’re doing it wrong. (Don’t I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me I couldn’t lose weight eating carbs!)

One of the things I love most about participating in our awesome online fitness world is the giving and receiving of ideas and suggestions. I do both freely and gladly, but always from the perspective of what works for me now and what’s likely (or not) to work for me in the future. (Sorry, vegan pals!) Should I ever suggest something to you, please know that it is merely for your consideration and not meant to imply that you’re doing it wrong.

As for the advice you give me, I always take it in the same vein. If you do indeed think I’m doing it wrong, you’re going to need to say so outright. I don’t read between the lines so well. As is abundantly clear in the fact that I recommended a habit that I don’t follow myself. Again, my apologies for that little mishap!

I’m off to pay penance by forcing myself to lie upon my bed with my eyes closed for a half hour. It’s tough, but that’s life in my own personal Blue Zone.

10 thoughts on “Mea Culpa: Re-Evaluating The Diet Cycle

  1. Cammy I so agree with the concept that we are all different and we need to find what works for us and our lifestyles. I also love that the online community is so supportive of the journey, regardless of what road we each travel.


  2. I liked your post about how you are able to indulge ourself without gaining weight.. I too, often feel like being able to enjoy the small treats in life as well as either lose weight or keep from gaining it is all about aquiring balance…. It is balance that we are able to truly enjoy life's treats and live a long and healthy life..

    Happy Blogging,

  3. When I began this journey it was with an understanding that I refuse to list any food as something I can never have again. Nothing is off limits, its just about planning and portion control. When I start thinking I can't have something I'm more likely to start craving it, which is likely to lead to overindulging/binging. There are foods that I am realizing I can't have stocked in the pantry or freezer because I will eat them without thinking, but I can buy them on occasion if I am going to fix them that day (examples: boxed scalloped/au gratin potatoes, pints or larger of ice cream [I'm loving the variety of the 1/2 cup sized ice cream containers I'm finding from Skinny Cow, Edy's,Haagen Dazs, and others] I try not to plan "cheat days" because that makes me think that I'm doing something wrong by eating what I am. I think of it as a treat or measured indulgence.

  4. Several years ago when I was low carbing I used to frequent an online bulletin board/forum of like minded individuals. Well, there was this one member (we used to call her "Hitler") I know, so mean… But anyway, she was mean and her posts were hateful and all or nothing minded.

    One of the things she loved to smash on was how if you cheated or have a splurge meal, it was "the kiss of death" and she would go back to Dr. Atkins' book to back up her statement.

    I now know it's OKAY for me to have a few splurges. I CAN lose weight doing so as long as I stay in control. I'm doing pretty good so far and I've had my share of buffets (in control) and a beer or two here and there. So yes, it can happen and THANK YOU for pointing this out as you are a good example of this fact.

  5. Since I am the queen of doing what I want, and diet be damned, I must agree that our journeys might have similar estinations, but our routes need not be the same. We all need to find what works for us. Great post!

  6. You are so right. The whole idea is to find out what works for each of us. It's great to be able to learn about what others are doing, and to potentially incorporate their suggestions into our effort. Thanks for being so conscientious about the info you sharing.

  7. I TOTALLY agree with you. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another. Some people flourish on a raw diet. Other people are completely energized by eating vegan. Others need to eat meat daily in order to function at optimal level. We're all just DIFFERENT; nothings "better".

    But I wonder if in her article the author meant that having a "cheat day" could lead to total binging on tons of junk. And that ISN'T healthy. Perhaps they just did a poor job of wording it?

  8. Different strokes for different folks!

    I haven't read the article but I can certainly understand the idea that it could be dangerous. You have learned the trick for YOU and it works!

    I have never believed in denying myself something because let's face it, you'll want it even more.

    I still go for common sense and moderation in everything. Tough to learn but worth it when you get there :)

    Thanks again Cammy.

  9. Your approach is awesome and so inspiring. The article was actually great for me because it helped me understand what works for me and what doesn't. I am a big believer in eating enough, enjoying food and live and not weight-cycling, which is why I love your blog. Oddly enough there's another great study just out that addresses this very question– I linked it on my blog. Hugs and for your next penance, let's see… a new decorating magazine and a cup of tea, what do you think?

  10. I eat like you, and I mostly agree with that article. I'm glad Larkspur likes the cheat day, it wouldn't work for me. I indulge when I feel like it, and don't read into it anymore than that. I wouldn't want to restrict all week, it would likely make any allowed cheat day into an all out binge, which is exactly what I'm trying not to do.

    Allowing little indulgences here and there isn't the same as mostly being on a strict diet with an occasional cheat day, at least to my mind.

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