It's approaching that time of year where millions of people start a 'diet', their success depends primarily on whether they can keep it up. Usually the diet starts in January is over by February and starts again a month before their summer holiday. If however, it's viewed by them a lifestyle change right from the beginning, rather than a diet, then the chances of success and maintenance are very high! So how can you tell the difference? You know it's a lifestyle change and not just a diet when...
People ask how you've lost weight and your reply bores them as it makes no reference to a pill, an unusual diet plan or a celebrity program.
You no longer think of exercise as self punishment, but instead its your 'me-time', your chance to get away from your inbox/desk/phone and do something for you.
You miss exercise when you don't get the time for it for one reason or another, but because you know you'll workout when you do get the chance, you don't beat yourself up over it.
It's a friend or family member's birthday, you allow yourself a slice of birthday cake, because its not everyday and so it won't undo all of your good work.
Your friends/co-workers/ family want to go out for a meal, you accept and once again, won't beat yourself up over it. Why should you? Socialising over meals is a part of life. If however, you decide to skip the starter, side dish or hold off on the wine, no one will say a word as they're used to it.
Over the holidays you enjoy yourself and eat a lot of festive food, but afterwards, you return to your regular meals feeling satisfied rather than guilty, and are most likely glad to return to your normal meals!
Your healthy meals, are just that.. 'normal'. They may even be traditional family favourites, cooked in a slightly different way or with slightly different ingredients to make them more healthful.
You might cringe whenever someone declares they're 'going on a diet'.
You might shudder whenever someone asks if you're 'on a diet'.
Your meals and your workouts blend into your daily routine seamlessly. You may even find yourself planning your To-Do list around your gym classes ("I'll pick it up from the shops on my way back from the gym") or perhaps your morning routine centres around your workout. If you're a mum, you may have even devised a clever way to involve your children in your workout, like playing games in the park or playing Wii Sports.
Above all, your lifestyle change has made you happier, more productive and certainly healthier. You don't feel punished, restrained, or deprived. You can't even imagine returning to your old lifestyle.