June 08, 2010

Making the Diet into a Lifestyle Change

So one of the traps we tend to fall into as we are attempting to lose weight is saying to ourselves we are on a diet and limiting our choices in food. Instead we need to begin to change our mindset into telling ourselves we are making a new lifestyle for ourselves.

Here are some of the basic differences between a diet and a lifestyle change.

1. When we are on a diet we have a goal that is self-limiting. When you get to your goal weight, you stop the diet. And when we make a lifestyle change the goal is open-ended, and weight management becomes part of your daily life, with strategies that vary as circumstances, priorities, and needs change.

2. A diet is a surface level change. It involves simple changes in behaviors you are already doing (or not doing). You take in fewer calories from food and (maybe) expend more calories on activity. Foods are "good" or "bad" based on calorie content. When we make a lifestyle changes are made on many levels. In addition to healthy changes in your relationship with food and exercise, you will challenge the basic attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and feelings that made you overweight (and unhappy) to begin with.

3. During a Diet progress and success are measured by the scale. Anything that results in weight loss is considered acceptable, even if it poses potential problems or risks. Failure to lose weight as fast as desired is very upsetting, and the process feels like a constant battle. High stress is constant. When we make a lifestyle change our progress and success are measured in terms of satisfaction & quality of life. Weight loss and maintenance continue to be important, but are put in perspective as one way you can move towards larger, more rewarding goals. Daily ups and downs become much less stressful.

4. Sometimes when we are going through out diets, we tend to have the thoughts that the results don't last. We yo-yo diet a lot and never manage to keep the results we get. Even if you manage to stick with all the unpleasantness of a diet long enough to reach your weight goal, your odds of keeping it off permanently are less than one in twenty. Making a lifestyle change gives you lasting results. Your lifestyle change is an open-ended, ongoing process with goals that continue to expand and grow. There is no reason to go back to the habits that got you overweight in the first place.

Topic and information courtesy of Sparkpeople.com

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