Diet vs. Lifestyle Change...Which is Better?
How often do you find yourself saying, “no…I can’t have that, I’m on a diet” or “I’ll have some when my diet is over”? Some people even comment that they are always on a diet of one kind or another. Although these quotes are common, I would like to encourage you to get away from the idea of going on a ‘diet’ and instead focus on making your eating habits a lifestyle change.
Why can the word ‘diet’ be negative?
When asked why the word ‘diet’ can be negative, most people recognize that we view diets as a temporary solution to reaching a goal body weight or size. Also, many people comment that diets often fail, and some even expect their diets to fail before they even start! Eating should not be torture, but an enjoyable way to nourish you body by choosing healthier foods more often and unhealthy foods less often.
Why is it more positive to make a lifestyle change?
Making a lifestyle change to the foods you eat is a much better approach to long-term healthy eating than going on a 'diet'. As the word ‘lifestyle’ implies, this is a change to your style or habits of living. Many of us have both good and bad lifestyle habits. For example, I may drink 8 cups of water a day, but only eat fried vegetables. The goal is to maintain your healthy habits and limit your unhealthy habits.
How do I make a lifestyle change?
The key to making a lifestyle change is to set realistic goals. You might decide to limit your soda intake to only one 12 ounce can a day instead of two 20 ounce bottles. You may decide you will only eat deep fried meats once a week and instead choose to bake, broil, or grill a majority of the time. Or, you may decide to eat a salad with light dressing with your dinner each night.
You don’t have to become a healthy eater overnight! Set up to three goals at a time which you truly believe you can achieve. Choose a non-food reward you would like to have once you have reached and maintained your goals. After those goals have been reached, set new goals and continue the health-enhancing process!
Remember, you are making lifestyle changes, not going on a ‘diet’! While you may sometimes make better choices than you do at other times, you are working toward a lifestyle you can maintain and enjoy. Don’t beat yourself up over your poor choices and recognize that slip-ups happen, but you are strong enough to continue on your path to healthier eating!