Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes
Ah, the age-old topic! Nearly everyone I know has tried one diet or another on their endless journey to permanent weight loss. Stop any stranger on the street and I’d wager they’ve heard of at least a few of the trendy diets that have become such a prevalent part of the health industry: Atkins, South Beach, Keto, Paleo, Zone- to name a few. But I only know a handful that have successfully lost the weight and have kept it off- for good! What’s their secret? Nothing new there either! It’s all about your lifestyle and making those healthy changes to it that will keep the weight off for good and giving you the opportunity to be a healthier and happier you.
Dieting, by definition, is the practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised fashion to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight, or to prevent and treat disease. Many of us that have been on a diet know that it can be an uphill battle. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But what is alarming is that diets don’t work and can even be harmful in long-term weight loss maintenance. Research has shown that approximately 95% of dieters regained lost weight within 1-5 years with up to two-thirds of dieters gaining back more than they had lost when dieting. Yikes!
Yes, diets do sometimes help you drop the pounds quickly. But the keys to keeping your body healthy and happy in the long term focus on smaller changes that you can successfully adopt into your lifestyle. These smaller changes are all about learning moderation, not deprivation. It’s much easier to make progress towards a big goal than it is to, say, simply cut out sugar and soda for the rest of your life “starting tomorrow!” It’s about adding healthier choices into your nutrition and crowding out the less-healthy choices. Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first, but it won’t be miserable. Progress may be slower but it’ll be permanent!
With a lifestyle change, there isn’t a belief of overnight perfection. There’s no magic pill or magic formula that will transform you in 4 weeks flat. It’s about small changes. Small steps forward toward your goal. Little things that you negotiate with yourself that you can do for the rest of your life and find joy in it. Will it be easy? No, maybe not at first. Lifestyle changes can be hard. But it will be oh-so worth it! Start with just one thing. One tiny progressive step forward. You’ve got this!
Jennifer & Erin
Kaia FIT Eldorado Hills
Mann, T. et al. (2007). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. The American Psychologist, 62, 3, 220–233.