Is it a Diet or a Lifestyle Change?

Diet vs lifestyle change

It can be all too easy to get sucked into the latest and greatest fad diet or nutrition plan. These plans are everywhere. You see them on television, in magazines and on social media. Is now the time to start a new “diet?”

What is a Diet?

The definition of a diet is “the food you eat every day.” It is the combination of the foods you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and everything in between.

However, many people believe the word “diet” to mean something different. They think of the new plans constantly being advertised that ask you to restrict foods, eliminate food groups or obsessively count calories. Many also have started and stopped hundreds of diets over the years. For most, they work for a while, but then they get off track and revert back to their old habits. Later, the latest and greatest diet plan comes out once more and the cycle continues.

How Do You Change Your Lifestyle?

Instead of getting hung up on the latest diet plan that everyone is raving about, try to focus on long-term, sustainable habits that can help you live a healthier life.

  • Set Goals – Take a minute to think of the reasons you want to make changes. It is important to have “big” reasons that warrant the work put in. If there aren’t reasons and goals, it’s easier to set changes aside. Maybe you want to eat healthier to reduce your blood sugar, have energy to play with your kids, or maintain your weight.
  • Start Small – A complete 180-degree change is not required. Choose one or two things to work on at a time to make change more manageable. Having a list of 100 things to change all at once can lead to frustration and, most often, quitting. After you master one or two changes, move to another.
  • Add, Don’t Always Eliminate – A long list of things to take away from your food plan can be difficult. Instead, focus on adding foods in. For example, add protein and fruit to your breakfast or 32 ounces of water to your fluid intake.
  • Realize You Won’t Be Perfect – No one is. It’s important to remember when changing your lifestyle that you will always have days when you don’t meet your goal. That’s okay! When you fall off the wagon, get back on realizing no one is perfect. This can be the major difference between a diet and a lifestyle change.
  • Celebrate and Move on – Once you master your changes, celebrate big! Treat yourself to something special and then move on to the next step. For example, after you meet the goal of adding 32 ounces of water to your fluid intake, increase that to 48 ounces. You can do it!

Just Keep Going

Most of all, just keep going. The most important part of a lifestyle change is continuing with your plan. When you follow a “diet,” there is usually a stopping point. A lifestyle change continues on and on with long-term, sustainable habits.

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