Diet Vs. Lifestyle Change

Diet Vs. Lifestyle Change

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Make long-term lifestyle changes for sustainable weight loss.

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So many different supposedly healthy diets exist, it's hard to know where to begin. Between vegan diets, calorie counting, the Paleo diet, low-carb diets and many others, dieting can be extremely confusing. If you're a serial dieter, switching from one meal plan to the next almost as often as you change your shoes, it might be time to start making lifestyle changes, rather than just hopping on the latest dieting bandwagon.

Health Concerns

Weight loss diets can revolve around eliminating certain food groups -- most noticeably carbohydrates or fats. Restricting food groups like this can lead to nutrient deficiencies, according to the American Heart Association. A study published in a 2010 edition of "Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition" took four popular weight loss diets and found that individuals following these diets had a high likelihood of becoming deficient in key micronutrients.

Rapid Weight Loss

It is possible to drop pounds very quickly on any extreme diet. A 6- to 10-pound loss in the first couple of weeks of a strict diet isn't unheard of, notes Dr. Donald Hensrud on He adds, however, that losing weight this quickly over a long period may be detrimental. It probably isn't all fat that you're losing, and a high proportion could be just water weight or loss of muscle tissue. A healthy, sustainable rate of weight loss is around 1 to 2 pounds per week, and you can achieve this by making small lifestyle changes.

Social Issues

Eating out or dining with friends when you're dieting can be tough, if not impossible. If your diet plan restricts certain foods or only allows you to eat at particular times of day, you may have to turn down invites to parties and other functions. By changing your lifestyle and forming good eating habits, however, you needn't ever turn down an invitation out. At restaurants you can just make healthier choices and choose smaller portions without worrying it will ruin your progress.

Mental Approach

Saying you're on a diet gives the impression that you're looking for short-term results. A lifestyle change, on the other hand, means you're planning on making this permanent, according to Dr. Richard Snellgrove of the Eastern Shore Weight Loss Clinic. You're committed to making a change, and while the results may not be rapid, it's a far healthier, more balanced and enjoyable approach. Make small changes to your lifestyle such as reducing your consumption of processed foods, switching from refined carbs to whole grain ones, eating more vegetables and lean proteins and engaging in regular exercise to enjoy lifelong health and weight loss benefits.


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