Diets typically focus on short-term, restrictive eating plans, while lifestyle change involves sustainable, long-term modifications to overall habits, encompassing nutrition, exercise, and mental well-being. Unlike diets, lifestyle changes emphasize holistic health, promoting habits that can be maintained for a lifetime rather than pursuing temporary weight loss or specific goals.
When talking about losing weight, many turn to a diet, which often involves restrictive eating and very low calories. Diets can be very hard to maintain for this reason, we suggest making healthy lifestyle changes for the long term. Here are 4 reasons to avoid dieting, and 5 positive ways to start making sustainable changes.
4 REASONS TO AVOID DIETING
1.The yo-yo effect – A diet is often used for a short period of time, involving large calorie deficits and the restriction of certain foods. While you can lose weight this way, it is often hard to maintain your new weight. This is referred to as yo-yo dieting, slashing calories, and restricting food to shed pounds, realizing this isn’t enjoyable, adding calories and food back in all at once leading to weight gain, and repeating the cycle. Many people have experienced this, whether it’s from a new fad diet seen online, or simply wanting fast results, and many know how frustrating it is.
2. Disordered eating – Diets are designed to be short term and restrictive, so when we constantly go in and out of a restrictive diet it can be very confusing. Dieting can affect our mentality towards food, usually for the worse, and cause disordered eating. This can include restrictive eating, compulsive or binge eating, or inflexible eating patterns, these patterns can often cause health issues and may require professional help to reverse them. Not everyone who diets will experience long term disordered eating, but it is something to be aware of and monitor if you still choose to diet.
3. Decreased mental health – As we have touched on, diets can lead to a yo-yo effect of losing weight just to gain it back if not more. This cycle can cause stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
4. Nutrient deficiencies – As the nature of a diet is often restrictive, this can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies can happen when we are not getting a balanced diet, limiting the body’s ability to get the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients it needs to function optimally.
5 WAYS TO MAKE NUTRITIONAL LIFESTYLE CHANGES
1.Moderation is key – When making changes to your nutrition habits, moderation is a key component. Foods are not good or bad, they are simply more or less nutritious, you can still have those treats that are less nutritious in moderation. Try to have 80% of your food come from whole, fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, proteins, and grains, while 20% comes from those less nutritious treats such as cookies or take-out meals.
2. Stop the all or nothing mentality – Healthy lifestyle changes should not be an all or nothing situation. Some days may be better than others when making healthy choices, and that’s okay! Sustainable choices come from being flexible, and not feeling guilty; that last minute lunch meeting will not ruin your progress, so go enjoy your meal!
3. Prioritize meal planning – Making healthy food choices takes planning to be continuously successful for most people. Planning out your food for a few days up to a week at a time can be extremely beneficial to keep you on track! If you are someone who needs a quick option when you are hungry, prep your meals ahead of time to help you make healthy choices.
4. Stay hydrated – Drinking a minimum of 2L of water daily can help to keep you satiated between meals and avoid overeating, increase energy levels, improve digestion, and improve the overall internal function of your body!
5. Calculate your calorie deficit – It is no secret that the only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit, which is to use or burn more calories than you consume. Talk with a health professional such as a nutritionist to figure out your calorie deficit. Ideally, you want to start with your calories as high as possible in your deficit, and slowly come back to your maintenance calories in 16 weeks. The reason for this is your body is great at adapting, after about 16 weeks in a deficit your metabolism will start to recognize your caloric consumption as your maintenance calories and slow down to match your intake. Consulting with a professional can help you to avoid this and be as efficient and healthy as possible while being in a deficit.
If you have more questions or want tips on making nutritional changes for a healthy lifestyle, contact one of our Health & Fitness professionals today at firstname.lastname@example.org