Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes – What Does It Entail?

Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes - What Does It Entail

The main difference between dieting and lifestyle changes is goal setting.

Both incorporate goals to achieve their expectations, but the methods are completely different.  When you decide to diet you are looking at a short term fix.  Dieting usually lasts between one to three months and the main form of dieting is restricting your calorie intake, which many move towards starving themselves. 

A lifestyle change takes a different approach by operating under the assumption that your entire lifestyle, not just calorie intake needs to be updated.  This includes your mental, emotional, physical well being to improve your health.  A lifestyle change is slower to adopt because of the need to take time to cultivate daily habits. 

The overall mindset of a diet versus a lifestyle change is short term and long term success.  A diet encompasses a short term change that lasts a couple of months, while a lifestyle change is ideally a permanent change. 

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Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes - What Does It Entail, healthy dinner

Dieting Facts:

The dieting industry in the U.S. makes over 70 billion dollars yearly.  This statistic indicates many adults struggle with their image, self-confidence, and wish to change their health quickly.  The main selling point for a diet is letting you believe that you can lose five pounds a week, which is impossible to sustain long term. 

Some Popular Diets include:

  • Low-Calorie Diets
    • Based on your calorie intake on your age and exercise levels. 
    • Hormones and metabolism can be negatively affected. 
      • Make sure you have enough fuel for your body to function. 
  • Low Carb Diets
    • You decrease your carb intake but increase your protein and fat
    • Helpful when you are overweight or obese
      • Reduces belly fat
      • Promotes a ketosis state
        • You burn fat instead of sugar
  • Low-Fat Diets
    • You eat 10% or fewer calories from fat that is mostly plant-based. 
      • Usually high in carbs and low in protein
    • Decreases risk of heart disease

Diets lead to temporary weight loss, but you are often left malnourished because you have deprived your body of essential nutrients for months. Disordered eating patterns are dangerous to your overall health and wellbeing and should be closely monitored. 

According to statistics you regain one-third of the weight you lost within one year of going off the diet and regain all of the weight lost within 3 to 5 years.  This is an alarming statistic that should shock you into rethinking your approach to weight loss.  A quick fix is not the solution to a long term problem. 

You did not put on the weight in one night and taking it off is no different. 

Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes - What Does It Entail, taking the stairs for exercise

Lifestyle Facts

A lifestyle change is more than what you eat; it is how you manage your stress, how much you exercise while considering your mental health.  You incorporate goals, habits, and boundaries to improve your well being that promotes a healthy lifestyle.  Your weight naturally decreases as your health improves. Your weight decreases because you are aware of how much food you eat and of what type.  You notice how you physically respond to certain foods while ingesting the proper amount of essential nutrients.   

A lifestyle change is more effective and safer for your health in the long term than participating in a short term diet.  A lifestyle change is highly effective with positive results because you are cultivating the necessary habits you need for long term success. 

Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes - What Does It Entail, eating a healthy salad with vegetables

Some healthy lifestyle habits include:

  • Eliminating smoking, alcohol and processed sugars
  • Regular exercise routine
    • Aerobic or strength training
  • Assessment of your stress and emotions
    • Self Care
      • Attending consistent counseling sessions
      • Creating a positive attitude that promotes courage and strength
    • Building a support network of healthy adults
  • Healthy Meal Planning
    • Protein, vegetable, and fruit-focused meals
    • Consistent eating schedule

Lifestyle changes are recommended over dieting because changing your behavior creates more positive results.  You are changing your mindset, which is more powerful when you encounter struggles at maintaining your goals.  By having your habits ingrained in your behavior you can maintain your habits without slipping off track. 

Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes - What Does It Entail? 1

How to Achieve a Lifestyle Change?

The best way to begin your journey of improving your life is by starting small.  The task may appear daunting, but your lifestyle change does not happen instantaneously, but gradually.  By incorporating one small change at a time you can increase weekly.  A small change is going to bed a half-hour earlier and waking up a half-hour earlier. 

You may find you are more refreshed and less stressed when you have more time in the morning because you were prepared and organized the night before.  You can build your changes from there depending on your goal.  Another suggestion is incorporating time daily to exercise.  You can start with 20 minutes of walking then increase by a couple of minutes as you become more active and comfortable. 

Lastly when you are starting a lifestyle change is you need to build your support network.  This includes finding others that value a healthy lifestyle and you can learn from their experiences and share your struggles and disappointments with each other.  Having friends who can empathize with your journey will help increase your odds of success. 

When you feel overwhelmed by all of the changes you should always share your feelings with a trusted confidante.  Do not expect to change everything in your life overnight.  Remember to be patient as you learn what routine best works with you. 

Visit Trusted Nutrition for an informative article that discusses more useful mindfulness techniques that improves your wellbeing by incorporating positive lifestyle habits.   

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