by Caitlin H,
Nov 28, 2022
Anyone who’s ever struggled with weight knows how challenging it can be to find a diet that works, especially with so many options. Should you try calorie restriction or low-carb? Mediterranean or time-restricted eating? Low-fat or detox? It’s nearly impossible to know what to do!
Well, here’s the thing. While selecting a healthy, well-rounded diet that works for you is essential, changing your mindset is even more critical to focus on changing your overall lifestyle. By approaching your weight loss plan to improve your health and overall wellness, you’re much more likely to find success.
With that in mind, we compared several key points related to diet culture versus lifestyle changes. Below, we look at how positively framing your mind to focus on your daily habits—rather than your diet alone—can affect the change you’re looking for.
1) Restriction vs. Inclusion
Dieting is often about restriction, with many diets focusing on what you can’t have. While that is important when it comes to following something like, say, the keto diet, correctly, how you look at it is also vital. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can.
For example, suppose you’re following a keto diet. In that case, while you can’t have cereals with refined sugars or high-carb items like white bread or bagels for breakfast, you can have a poached egg with some avocado on the side. And suppose you’re trying a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. In that case, you may not be able to have a giant piece of chocolate cake every night. Still, you can have a brownie once or twice a week, as long as you have enough calories in your calorie bank.
See what we did there? Changing your mindset towards one of inclusion and positivity will make it easier and more enjoyable to stick with your new eating habits.
2) Heavy Sweat Sessions vs. Fitness You Love
Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle can seem scary. After all, you’ve likely seen commercials showing chiseled men and women pouring sweat at the gym or while using at-home equipment. Or perhaps you’ve dared to walk into a local gym or rec center, only to witness what looked like utterly miserable people gasping it out on various pieces of equipment. Seeing these scenarios firsthand can quickly have you asking yourself if it’s really worth all that misery.
Thankfully, that’s not the only way to approach fitness. Fitness doesn’t have to be about being miserable for an hour a day, a few days a week. The key is finding something you love, whether light walks through a park or a group class at a local fitness center. Making it a part of your lifestyle comes down to commitment. And you’re much more likely to commit to fitness if you’re doing something you enjoy.
3) What You’re Eating vs. Your Overall Daily Habits
Dieting culture often zeroes in on the food you eat at each meal. That hyperfocus on what you can and can’t eat can make meals feel like a chore. In addition, it also deviates from what really matters to achieve a lifestyle change: the daily habits you’re repeating.
Yes, you should be aware and focused on what you’re eating, but you should also approach it as just one piece of the puzzle you need to put together each day to create an overall healthy lifestyle. That means you should also be doing what you can to get enough sleep each night, trying to get in moderate to light exercise 3-5 days a week, managing stress from the start and incorporating relaxation into your evening routine. Focusing on all the elements necessary for a healthy lifestyle makes you more likely to enjoy it and succeed.
4) Pounds Lost vs. Body’s Performance
It can be fun and definitely prideful to weigh yourself and see the pounds decrease week after week. And while there’s absolutely no shame in enjoying that, you should also focus on what your body can do that it couldn’t do prior to changing your eating habits and lifestyle.
For example, can you sit down comfortably in a chair you barely fit into before? Can you walk for longer or put on smaller-sized pants? Did you go on a hike without feeling winded and miserable the whole time? Celebrate each and every new thing you do instead of only focusing on the number on the scale.
5) A Sprint vs. a Marathon
Many diets promise record results in minimal time. And while it’s true that eating nothing but cabbage soup for a week may generate a significant reduction in the number on the scale for that week, it’s also impossible to sustain. More than likely, you would find yourself losing a massive amount of weight at the beginning, then seeing things level out, and then getting frustrated and giving up altogether, only to see the number on the scale climb back up to a higher level than it was before.
In contrast, a lifestyle approach involves eating a wholesome, nutritious diet accompanied by fitness you enjoy, getting decent sleep and prioritizing de-stressing. In fact, following a quality, healthy diet will generally result in a 1- to 2-pound loss each week. But it is also more likely to create longtime, sustainable results that will last a lifetime.
Ultimately, success is about creating something that will last. And that means creating a new life for yourself that involves consistent, healthy habits you build on over time.
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.