When it comes to “dieting” or eating healthier the choice is ultimately yours. You are the only one that knows your body and whether you have what it takes to see it through.
There are many things to consider when you decide to go on a “diet.” Most prefer to call it a lifestyle change. If you focus on “dieting” too much you may end up eating differently for a short amount of time but if you are like me, you get bored with what you are doing and quit. Soon you’ve stopped eating healthier, gained your weight back (and it usually comes with friends), and you are right back where you started. Trust me – been there, done that.
When you want to live a healthier lifestyle or lose weight there are a few things you should consider doing. First, you have to focus on it as being a lifestyle change and not just a temporary “diet.”
At the beginning of the year I decided that I had to make a lifestyle change instead of just trying to diet. It has been interesting and I have lost almost 40 lbs so far.
Lifestyle Change, Then Diet
Due to the enormous amount of information about diets on the internet, people who yearn to lead healthy lives end up being confused as to which diet will help them achieve their goals – mostly weight management. The pendulum of which “diet” works keeps swinging back and forth. People try adapting to different diets but only a few are lucky to find one that helps them to successfully manage their health.
The diet debate is almost extinct. Now and then, people who try to reduce weight through dieting confess “cheating on their diets.” The major reason behind failing to keep up with a diet plan is that the plan is not parallel to the person’s lifestyle. Often, lifestyle is the best ally when it comes to eating and living healthy. A diet that goes well with your lifestyle is easier to maintain.
The realization that lifestyle comes before diet is triggered by the knowledge that the body is not a machine that efficiently produces output according to the input. Body systems are integrated in such a way that improvement of the whole depends on how well all the systems are coordinated.
For example, a person desiring to reduce weight may always eat healthy food but fails to handle emotional distress. According to research, stress leads to weight gain in some people. Having a lifestyle that supports the well-being of the entire body is the only way to achieve healthy living.
In support of the case of lifestyle over diet, many nutritionists have indicated instances when some of their clients have tried different diets but fallen off the wagon. The result of such failure is discouragement and frustration. Pro-lifestyle nutritionists are more concerned with helping a client develop a plan that they can follow while they make new lifestyles changes. They note that the greatest problem associated with weight and health management is adherence.
So the first thing you have to do is focus and commit to a lifestyle change.
Steps to Implementing a Lifestyle Change
When beginning a lifestyle change you should start by doing a few things to aid in your success. A few things to consider implementing to help you obtain a lifestyle change and ultimately a healthier life you should consider 1) starting an exercise regime if you are not already exercising; 2) start a food journal; 3) think positive; 4) start a motivation board; and 5) focus on progress.
- 1) Exercise – This is a hard thing for some people. I know this is one thing I struggle with just because I have problems with my feet, and I have arthritis in my knees. Being more active than you are currently is the goal. Exercise is important to your health. If you can ride a bike, walk around the block, run a mile, go swimming, go hiking or workout at the gym, then do so. Make it a habit. If you need to start out slow and work up to a longer time each day, that is a good thing.
- 2) Food Journal – Most people eat what they want, when they want. They rarely think about how food affects them or why they are putting on the pounds. I know I have broken several habits in the last few months that I’m pretty proud of just by being more mindful or what I was eating. Keeping a food journal helps you to identify the foods you are eating, how they make you feel, and why you may be adding a few inches around the waist. Be mindful of what you are putting in your body.
For example, I personally know that I need to eat more protein and less carbs. When I began to write down what I was eating each day it helped me recognize how much I was eating and pinpoint those things I needed to leave out of my diet.
There a lot of people who can eat more fruits and vegetables and less protein and they lose weight and feel better. Journal what you are eating to determine what type of plan you need. A really good book to read is “Eating Right for Your Blood Type.”
- 3) Think positive – You know you need to get healthier or lose weight. You know you need to accomplish what you set out to do. The only way to achieve that is to think positive and stay positive. Each day, tell yourself that you can do this and that you are worth it. Also, you should find a buddy or a family member who will help to encourage you when you need it. Whatever you choose to do to make your life better, stay positive.
- 4) Get motivated – What is your why? Why do you want to have a healthier lifestyle? Like me, you know you need changes in your life, so you need to get motivated. One way to do this is to make a motivation board. Make a list of the reasons you want to make a lifestyle change and get healthier. Make yourself a promise that you are going to stick to your program no matter what. Don’t fall to pieces if you “fall off the horse” one meal or one day. Just get back on the horse right away and don’t wallow in the muck.
There may be many reasons you feel you need a healthy lifestyle change – it could be to lose weight, or you may need to bring your cholesterol down or your sugar or your blood pressure. Whatever the reason, get yourself motivated and get going.
Clean out your pantry and your refrigerator. Develop a menu and shopping list and get excited about your new healthy life. Decide what program or plan you’d like to try. There are many out there that are good healthy programs, or you may want to do your own thing by eating healthier. Whatever it is just get motivated and keep it up. Read more about the program I am on.
- 5) Focus on progress – As you get started, weigh yourself and take pictures. Add these to your motivation board. Focus on your progress as you start losing weight or start to feel better by eating healthier and exercising. As you start to see changes or movement on the scale, you’ll get more excited and more motivated to keep going. Stay focused on you and what you are trying to accomplish.
Implementing these few things in your new lifestyle will help you meet your objective of a healthier lifestyle.
Lifestyle changes such as exercise, positive thinking, keeping food records and focusing on progress rather than perfection are the ultimate solution to health management. If you are able to make and enhance these lifestyle changes, it becomes very easy to follow diet plans that help you to achieve the overall objective of healthier living. But remember – the choice is ultimately yours!
To your health,