I’ve been enamored with a lot of hobbies throughout the years. First it was tennis, then knitting, scrapbooking, and furniture refinishing. Like many hobbies, some I stuck with and some I didn’t. If you always seem to be starting your diet, stopping your diet, and then restarting it once again, you may be treating your diet like a hobby. If you are tired of this pattern, here’s how to quit hobby dieting and diet like you really mean it.
Hobby dieting isn’t an official dieting term but rather one I use sometimes when talking to people about weight loss.
I define it as dieting without committing–kinda like casual dating without any intention of getting serious. There’s nothing wrong with either hobby dieting or casual dating, but if you really want to lose weight, you’ve got to get serious about what you are doing and why.
Hobby dieting is easier than committed dieting. Because you aren’t truly invested in a successful outcome, you tend to approach your diet with enthusiasm at first. After you’ve been at it for a while the excitement diminishes and then fades completely. Before you know it, you are done with that particular dieting experience.
Committed dieting requires you to look at your weight loss effort differently and has these characteristics:
Shows a Long-Term Commitment
A hobby diet is often a short-term diet. A committed diet shows a commitment to making lifestyle changes that will be permanent. For example, when I was in hobby diet mode, I’d swear off chocolate forever, but that didn’t last for long. During my final diet, I learned to manage my cravings and have the occasional treat without blowing my diet.
Is Action Driven
Hobby dieting is sometimes lazy dieting. You might not exercise much and only measure your food every so often or when you feel like it. A committed diet is based on actions that will get you to your goal, such as regular exercise, learning to deal with emotions, and careful food choices.
Hobby dieting is usually a set diet that is short-term. A committed diet typically evolves over time. After dieting for some time, you may decide that you want to tweak your balance of nutrients, change up your exercise routine, or explore new ways of staying accountable. The benefit to allowing your diet to evolve as you achieve success is that you are preparing for eventual weight maintenance.
Committed dieting avoids making excuses for failures. Instead, when you are truly committed to your diet, you put excuses aside and take responsibility for what went wrong. For example, a hobby dieter might excuse a week or two of poor eating because of work stress, but a committed dieter owns up to overeating and figures out how to not let it happen again.
Hobby dieting isn’t all bad because it can give you practice for a truly committed diet when you are ready. But I encourage you to give up on hobby dieting right now and move toward committing to a diet that will finally get you to your goal weight.