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Diet vs. Lifestyle Change

Posted Aug 27 2009 11:38pm
I am lucky enough to say that I have never been on a "diet". When I started a Weight Watchers program, it sure felt like one for the first two weeks, but that was because I was trying to fit healthy habits into an unhealthy pattern I wasn't ready to give up! For instance, I was starting my day, as I always had, with an 8 point blueberry muffin and Lord-knows-how-many-point fancy-schmancy coffee. Then I realized that If I wanted to eat throughout the WHOLE day, I would need to eat foods with lower calories and fat, foods that were better for me. I had to change my lifestyle.

Wegohealth.com outlined the definitions ofdiet vs. lifestyle change, I thought they were very informative and accurate:

Diet= A regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight; to eat and drink according to a regulated system, especially so as to lose weight or control a medical condition.

Lifestyle Change= Modifying or eliminating long-held habits of eating or physical activity and maintaining the new habits over months and years.



Diets feel constricting, with a lot of rules and limitations on what you can eat! Even just saying the word diet sounds ominous! What comes into your mind when you hear it? A scale? A number? Echoing sounds of a rumbling tummy? The word has negative connotations attached to it and that is why I avoid using it. I don't want to feel anxiety about embarking on a journey with lingo that already feels like like failure.

Instead, a lifestyle change is about balancing our choices. You CAN eat the same things you always have, but you will probably not have as much success. When you start to change your choices and find the balance that suits your life, you will see and FEEL success and that will motivate you. Diets are hard to stick with--making a change in the way you chose and the way you live your everyday will have lasting results, a week, month or three years out.

You can have ice cream, just watch the serving size and stick to that--but you can have it! You can have a big filling breakfast--please DO in fact! Just have berries, grains and healthy yogurt instead of the heart-attack potatoes and bacon. Once you do some modifying to your food and lifestyle choices, you will find that they are superior to your old habits! Do things with balance and moderation, but don't deny yourself normalcy.

Adding activity in to your daily routine is a vital part of a lifestyle change. That is what allows us to have the treats we don't want to deny ourselves. Take little steps to reach your destination! Start by walking or finding a friend to workout with. Just take action and do it daily!

Create some small goals for yourself and work hard at them, while at the same time allowing yourself some wiggle room. No one makes perfect choices everyday-- just balance them out! If you fall, get back up and dust yourself off and just start over. Every moment is a chance to make a new choice!

Honor where you have been and where you are going. Honor where you are right now and how GOOD it feels to take charge of your choices! Release any bonds or limitations your mind may have about the journey you are on! Toss the Diets in the dumpster and make a change for good in your lifestyle...!



Here are a few stats on health I find interesting and that will help you stick with changes for the long haul:
  • Obesity costs the U.S. economy more than tobacco or alcohol, about $117 billion per year.
  • People weighing 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight could shorten their lifespan by up to seven years. Carrying an extra 10 to 30 extra pounds could shorten it by three years.
  • Losing weight at a rate greater than an average of two pounds per week (after the first few weeks) increases your risk of developing health problems like heart beat irregularities, anemia, excessive loss of lean body mass (muscle), bowel irregularities and gallstone formation.
  • Restricting calories during weight loss lowers metabolism because the body becomes more efficient, requiring fewer calories to perform the necessary daily functions for survival. Consequently, this can slow (but not stop) the anticipated rate of weight loss.
  • Successful weight-loss maintainers are less likely to be emotional eaters (using food to regulate their mood). They have developed coping skills to deal with stress as well as the skill of flexible restraint, which refers to a moderate level of control on eating. *courtesy weightwatchers.com

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