Dieting vs Lifestyle Change
Let’s pretend your name is Helen and you have a goal weight. You’re running out of time since you have a party coming up that you want to look great for. This leads you to research a diet that will help.
Diets that promise quick weight loss are often what we know as fad diets. Nothing about the word “fad” is long term. Those relying on fad diets often aren’t thinking long term. What happens when you, Helen, reach that goal weight? You’ll cross that bridge when you get there. In the meantime, you’re looking for a quick fix.
Everything about your lifestyle affects your body. If you want to change your body, you need to evaluate your lifestyle. This requires a serious commitment. It’s not going to be achieved in a day, week, or even a month. Although a quick-fix sounds much easier, a lifestyle change will be something you stick with!
Let’s say your friend recommends the low carb/high fat ketogenic diet. You do your research, buy some groceries, and lose a few pounds within the first few days. You’re excited to be speeding towards your goal… until a few days later. The problem with fad diets are the extremes. They encourage you to dramatically increase or decrease something, which shocks your system. For example, constipation is common among keto dieters, due to a lack of fiber. It also encourages artificial sweeteners over actual sugar (do yourself a favor and look up how diet sodas affect the body!). Constipation is not a sign of a healthy diet. The discomfort will discourage you, and bring back familiar habits that made you feel "good."
Please, please, please. Think long and hard before you fall for the marketing schemes of fad diets. Instead, focus on a permanent lifestyle change! The journey will not be fast, but you also won’t risk your health. The changes you will do more than just weight loss. Get ready for your new lifestyle change to affect your life in a dramatic way.
5 Steps to Make A Lifestyle Change
1. Take small steps. Focus on your well-being rather than numbers on the scale. Focus on what foods to add to your diet, such as more fruits and vegetables. The more colors you include, the more nutrients you receive.
2. Exercise regularly. If you laugh when imagining yourself running and really don't like exercising, figure out what you don't like about it and find a type of exercise you do enjoy! Regular physical activity is important no matter how well you eat. Stroller fitness workouts are great because a group of moms are there cheering you on, and your kids see you working hard!
3. Read labels. Pay attention to the ingredients of what you’re eating. You’ll be less susceptible to misleading information.
4. Make an effort to sleep well. Finding a good balance in life is important, including enough sleep.
5. Lastly, DON’T punish yourself when struggling with your new lifestyle. Don’t expect it to come easy. When you fall off the horse, just get right back on!
With these tips, you’re not only going to reach your goal weight, but your hard work will become a reflection of your healthy lifestyle!
For more healthy tips from the USDA, click here.
By Heather Osoy, Owner of Baby Boot Camp Sacramento (Oak Park), CA