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A No-Nonsense Approach to Dieting for Weight Loss

Updated on July 13, 2012

Eat to Live Rather Than Live to Eat

This is the hardest part of dieting for me. If I had a dollar for every time I've said that "I live to eat, not eat to live", I'd probably be retired. I do love to eat, I love cooking, I love tantalizing my family's taste buds. This is where then, the first behavioral shift needs to occur. Food is nourishment for our bodies first and foremost. Yes, culturally, food and meals have become so much more, a time to gather, socialize, catch up even compete, ergo "Top Chef", nonetheless, food is nourishment.

Dependent on body type, activity level, age and genetics, we all need a certain amount of caloric intake to sustain our life.  This required caloric intake is called our Basal Metobolic Rate or BMR.  If you click the link you'll find a BMR Calculator to determine yours.

Our BMR can go up or down dependent on our level of activity.  So to diet effectively, we need to eat less calories than we burn (BMR + activity i.e. exercise).  What is the simplest way to do that you ask?  Eat lots of protein (4 calories per gram), limit fat (9 calories per gram), limit alcohol (7 calories per gram) and limit carbohydrates (4 calories per gram) is the direct answer.  Or is it? Yes protein has less calories per gram, and is the building block of lean muscle but if the aforementioned diet sounds like hell to you and there is no earthly way you can stick with it, then effective, it is not!

Sustainable diet choices is of paramount importance. Creating sensible, sustainable diet choices, is truly the key to successful dieting. 

Which Diet to Choose?

There are many diet types, Nearly no-carb diets like Atkins, lo-carb diets, slow-carb diets, high protein, Mediterranean, you name it. All of which have validity and could theoretically work... provided you stay on them. What's most important is that you plan meals that you can look forward to and stick with. Losing 20 lbs on Atkins only to gain back 30 after three weeks because you can't stick with the diet for long is more detrimental than you can know.

So how then do you choose your diet? The first step is to start with the right mindset. Instead of thinking "Okay, what can I cut back on? " or "What will I be cutting out?" or "Which of these diets is the lesser of all evils?", get excited and ask questions like: "How many different delicious meals can I make this week that meet my nutrition goals?" If your caloric intake goal is 1400 calories for arguments sake, ask "How many creative, delicious ways can I spend my allotted calories?" This mindset is sure to help you not only find a suitable menu, but to look forward to the meals that you prepare.

Once you find some recipes and diet plans that appeal to you, use a free program like to input your meals for the day.  Stick with what you input into the program and don't deviate.  You'll be sure to eat less than you burn this way.


Finally, make sure you set one day aside to cheat a little. Not just so you don't feel deprived... Saying "Chocolate is out forever" is way harsher than "I can have Chocolate one day a week"; but also because you don't want your body's automatic pilot to reset to a lower BMR. Just make sure that you cheat within reason on your cheat day. An example might be: have a toasted english muffin with your breakfast, perhaps a slice of pizza or desert that day, not have brunch at the all-you-can-eat-buffet, making three trips through the line, followed up with a dinner of nacho appetizers, steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli smothered in cheese with chocolate lava cake for desert (yes, I've done that). The long and short of it is we can continue our love affair with food, we just have to make sure it is a healthier relationship.

Day 1 A No Nonsense Approach to Weight Loss Day 3 Soon to Come!

What's Your Favorite Diet?

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    • susiebrown48 profile image

      susiebrown48 5 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Thank you for the comments, I had fallen off hub pages and finally am back.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Great hub, and some good tips here to. I laughed at the survey saying 25% wanted the South Beach. LOL!

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      More great tips, Susie - thank you :-) Dieting is so hard for me because there are just so many yummy foods out there, so I do have to watch my weight. I usually try to go for a walk or jog so burn off those extra calories and that keeps me in check.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Very good hub w/ excellent tips. For me, making wise and healthy choices works best - plus moving my body around each day. :) Rated up!