By Theresa Harding
When I decided that I wanted to lose weight, I started off thinking that I needed to find weight loss solutions. After experiencing the yo-yo effect of losing weight and gaining it all back again, I learned that for me, I wanted the long-term plan and not just the rapid weight loss. I decided on the lifestyle change. In my personal experience, I studied how food affects the body and what I needed to eliminate from my diet, and that’s when I saw the progress with weight loss-long term. I also incorporated a meal planner to help me stick to my diet goals.
A diet plan consists of temporarily changing your eating habits to promote a certain outcome — commonly weight loss — before returning to your previous eating habits.
For example, if you have heart disease or diabetes, your doctor may instruct you to go on a special diet, with the help of a meal planner to help prevent a medical emergency. You might otherwise choose to whip it up with bacon and cheese omelettes or doughnuts and hot cocoa, but your special diet may prohibit these foods. You might cheat sometimes, but most of the time, you stick to your diet…even forever, if it staves off disease.
The same goes for weight-loss diets. If you eat more than your body burns (and let’s face it, that’s easy to do when you’ve got tasty food always available, just waiting for you to have another helping), and you could stand to lose a few pounds, you may decide to go on a weight-loss diet as your weight loss solution while you try to achieve a rapid weight loss.
People like to say diets don’t work, but they do work in some. Thousands of studies show they help people lose weight and regain health, and several studies have demonstrated that it doesn’t matter which weight loss diet you choose. Low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat, they all work for many people much of the time.
On the other hand, a lifestyle change consists of adopting healthy overall habits that promote long-term weight loss solutions.
For many people who want to lose weight or get healthier, but don’t like the restrictions of a diet, lifestyle changes make a lot more sense. They are also good for people who can’t bear to go on another diet to achieve rapid weight weight loss, or who have bad associations with dieting, or who just can’t stick to a diet. If it’s just a lifestyle change, it may seem less threatening or restrictive.
In addition, diets focus on food intake, while lifestyle changes incorporate what you eat along with other factors that affect weight and health, such as physical activity.
So you see, the differences aren’t so obvious, but there is a difference, and here’s what it is: One or the other is likely to work better for you.
It is up to you to choose a diet plan, as long as it’s a healthy one, or make lifestyle changes that you know are good for you. Do what works with your personality, your work life, and your personal life, and you’ll have the best chance of sticking with it. There is no one size fits all diet plan.
Most nutritionists suggest changing your lifestyle is more efficient and healthy rather than just dieting for a certain amount of time. A diet is a systematized, temporary lifestyle change whereas changing one’s lifestyle is an attempt to keep up similar habits for a prolonged period of time. When trying to choose between a diet or a full lifestyle change, do what works best for your personality, personal life, work life and/or anything that will give you the best chance of sticking to it. Even adding a meal planner may help you be more organized with your food intake. Both give you an opportunity to be healthier, feel better and help you move towards your weight loss goals.
What do you prefer for better results? Diet? Lifestyle Change?
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Healthy Living isn't difficult. It requires an ongoing lifestyle change with patience and an open mind. I teach this mindset all the time. After 14 years of transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a pain-free one, I think it's important to share my knowledge and research with those who are ready to make that shift in their health and wellness.