Author: Bisleen Attli
Dieting has ruled the roost for decades among people desperately seeking to lose weight. There are a thousand (at least!) diet programs available today to anyone who will pay. Millions choose diets they are convinced would help them shed the pounds. Unfortunately, in most cases, the end result is a little disappointing. In the initial excitement, they lose the extra weight, get noticed, get compliments, and feel good. And then slowly, they slack away from the regular regimen, start to cheat, and before you even know it, they are back to where they started. Most estimates say that only 5% of dieters are able to keep their ideal weight in the long term. A majority of dieters regain a third of their weight within a year, and almost all of it after 3-5 years. This is an alarming fact that emphasizes the need for another approach to the problem - lifestyle changes, not diets.
Lifestyle Changes, Not Dieting, Key to Weight Control
Creating a lifestyle change means to adopt healthy habits that promote long-term weight control and health. A lifestyle change forces you to focus on more than just the food you consume. You also need to consider the amount of exercise you get, your stress levels, and how/what you are eating. To effectively adopt a lifestyle change you must focus on moderation, not restriction. You need to make changes that you can be consistent with for the rest of your life. When you successfully create a lifestyle change, you see progress beyond the scale. Your relationship with food will completely change, for the better.
On the other hand, dieting essentially means restriction in some form or another. You are temporarily changing your eating habits to promote a certain outcome. Committing to a low- calorie intake diet can disrupt your metabolism and hormones. Characteristics of someone who is dieting includes labeling foods as good or bad, and monitoring their progress solely through the number on their scale. Worst of all, most people on diets are unhappy because they miss positive mental-emotional relationship we have with food.
Knock Off One Bad Habit at a Time
The best way to incorporate a lifestyle change is to focus on changing one small habit at a time. For example, if you are someone who drinks pop, try to just focus on replacing your pop with water. It takes about two months to fully form a new habit. Once this change becomes easier for you, then you can add another habit you want to form. By making slow, small changes you will be much more likely to be successful in reaching your goals.
The biggest advantage of creating a new lifestyle is that it will force you to be in tune with your body. Your body is really good at telling you when you are full or when a food doesn’t feel good. Unfortunately, most of us are too busy or we choose to ignore these important signals. When you become good at listening to your body, you will not need to restrict yourself. Instead you will be able to decipher what foods your body needs and when it needs them.
It’s time you start looking at food from a point of self-care, not from a point of self-control. Treat your body with respect and kindness by feeding it foods that will nourish it. You only have one body, so why not make it your best?
About the author
Bisleen Attli is a second-year medical student at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine who is passionate about inspiring others to achieve their best mental and physical health. You can reach Bisleen on her Instagram @bisleenattli or her website http://www.bempoweredbyb.com.