Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes

45 million Americans go on a diet every year. 38.2% of the adult population of the United States is obese. How much faith does this give you in diets alone? I mean, they’re tempting as heck – with empty promises you’ll have that same airbrushed bikini body in all the ads, or you’ll feel absolutely amazing only eating celery for 2 weeks. There are some absolutely crazy diets as well, such as juice cleanses, 5-bite diets, hot-dog diets, baby food diets (yea, you read that right), and the classic “sleep-diet.”

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But how many real success stories have we actually heard from these? 95% of diets fail and most will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years. With only a 5% success rate, diets are actually causing more harm than good. With worrisome stats, such as 35% of “occasional dieters” progress into pathological dieting, (disordered eating) and as many as 25%, advance to full-blown eating disorders, it seems diets are a form of self-harm, rather than weight-loss. So, how do you beat the temptation for wanting to go for the newest fad and dieting and actually attaining a fully healthy lifestyle?

Understanding the differences is the first step, so keep reading to see why a healthy lifestyle will always trump diet phases and crazes.

Long Term vs Short Term

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A lifestyle is, well, for life. So already this beats any fad diet that will only last for a couple of weeks and then leave you re-gaining all the weight you just lost.

Generally speaking, diets don’t do your body any good.  This is because there is a deprivation of restrictive diets and these may lead to binging sooner. Plus, some diets will leave you lacking nutrients and therefore having less energy. Not only will your body be getting the nutrients it needs to function properly, but you’ll also end up with less energy, which means less exercise.

Even if you get past the crashes that lack of nutrients gives you, hitting the gym without the right fuel makes your workout substantially less efficient. It’s possible a diet may work for one or two weeks for you, and afterward, are able to see results. It could be a great feeling fitting into that dress or seeing those few extra inches disappear. But, that feeling means absolutely nothing when then the following week, you rapidly gain all your weight back.

It’s actually more detrimental for your body and mind going through these ups and downs. It’s a big reason why diets always seem to fail. Research shows that consistency is a core aspect into attaining a healthy lifestyle. Your brain actually craves consistency. So, choosing a 2-week diet, and then bouncing back to a different diet afterward is only going to physically and psychologically strain you. Incorporating a healthy lifestyle is about consistency.

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If you go to your friends birthday party and eat a piece of pizza – you automatically screw up your diet and may find your mind consistently thinking about that, rather than enjoying the party. If you eat that piece of pizza, but then eat clean the rest of the day, your consistency for a healthy lifestyle is still there. This is a much more sustainable goal, rather than restricting your diet completely, setting yourself up for failure sooner or later.

Room for Screw-Ups

Some will say that the piece of pizza is a screw-up.

Some will say it’s balanced.

No diet will say that it’s allowed…. Except for the 5 bite diet, but it’s likely you won’t finish a piece of pizza in 5 bites ;).

An important difference between diets and a lifestyle is that a lifestyle allows for screw ups and improvements.

Diets don’t.

Considering most diets are framed for a time period of 1 to 4 weeks, one screw up really sticks out in terms of the whole diet. When you think about one screw up in terms of your whole lifetime, it really is minuscule – which is how it should always be thought of.

Adapting a healthy lifestyle allows you to you know, have a lifestyle. This includes going to social events (where there is alcohol and carbs) and eating birthday cake or wedding cake. It allows you to satisfy your cravings in a sensible way, and treat yo self occasionally. Diets allow none of this – which at the beginning might seem like a benefit, but really it boils down to downright restriction, which isn’t sustainable.

Since our bodies crave consistency, you cannot consistently deprive our bodies. Screw ups are necessary for our bodies to be less likely to go into starvation mode and actually provide us with benefits, such as a faster metabolism or easier digestibility of food. There are many foods (such as proteins) and spices (like chilly and turmeric) that boost your metabolism.

Most diets don’t include all of them, proving flexibility and range of foods you can eat overpowers sticking to one strict diet.

Love For Your Body

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Here’s a hash truth – your body will never be beautiful until you love it. The whole act of dieting is solely for the purpose to lose weight. This implies that you are not happy with your body and want to change it.

Sure, we all can have more toned thighs and tighter abs – but that shouldn’t even be a measurement when it comes to deciding what to put into your body. The emphasis on diets is based out of body shaming.

The emphasis on a healthy lifestyle is based on loving your body.

Fueling your body.

Recharging your body.

There are many crucial things in maintaining a healthy weight that diets will never touch on, such as exercise and sleep. Diets are like the quick-fix way into getting a nicer body and typically end with a relapse. A healthy lifestyle will allow you love the process.

The key to starting is accepting that it’s a process. Juicing for a week will surely shed off more pounds than eating right and exercising for one week, but at what price?

What happens when you 1 week of calories in one weekend once your diet is finished? You end up actually disliking your body even more. The reverse happens when you stick to a healthy lifestyle. Measuring your waist at the beginning of a month-long period and realizing that you only lost half an inch could seem discouraging in comparison to losing pounds from a diet.

Although, you’re fully allowed to love your body at half an inch less. Then the next few weeks, inch by inch, you start falling more and more in love with your body.

Why? Because our results are consistent, and our mind like that, remember?