Dieting vs. Dietary Lifestyle Change
Every New Year we make resolutions – this year, I’ll diet, this year I’ll lose the extra flab, this year…and yet, by experience, you know that this doesn’t work for more than three-four days, max. We are all aware of the hopelessness brought on by yet another failed resolution. The thing is, everyone wants to be as attractive as possible. Everyone wants to be as healthy as possible with the least investment towards our well being. We think simply dropping a few pounds would make us fit into our favorite outfit better. As a result, some time or another, all of us have resorted to dieting, or worse, crash diets. We follow trends. We expect that this juice cleanses, or that paleo diet will fulfill all our dreams of six pack abs and glowing skin. And yet we are always disappointed. We have to realize that the correct way to healthy living is eating the right food in the right amount, at the right time. It does not involve cutting out certain food items, or most food items. It doesn’t mean you give up all your guilty pleasures. A balanced diet will help you far more in the long run than a crash diet.
How to recognize a crash diet?
- The diet is for a limited time period only.
- The diet pushes the idea that it is possible to lose weight without exercising.
- The diet divides all food items into positive and negative.
- The diet assures an unrealistic health goal will be achieved.
What’s wrong with a crash diet?
- The weight you lose so quickly, in the beginning, is mostly water weight followed by muscle weight. Rarely does a crash diet result in fat loss. This is because a crash diet sends your body signals that food will become scarce in the future. The next meal is uncertain. In such cases, the body prioritizes saving the fat because fat can be converted into energy. The first thing you lose is hydration and Also, whatever you eat, the body will convert as much as possible to fat stores. So, crash diets rarely work as advertised, and may cause opposite effects instead.
- A crash diet will unbalance your metabolism. To survive, your body will start storing more and more fat the moment you stop dieting. This means that you can’t get off the diet without visibly seeing the side effects. It is much better to gradually convert to a different way of eating so that your body has time to adjust.
- All fats are not created equal. Some, like monounsaturated fats, are required because some nutrients are fat soluble. The body cannot absorb some types of protein if certain types of fat are not available. Also, others, like Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health. Cutting out all fats uniformly in the name of dieting will make you lose other valuable nutrients as well.
So what’s the solution? You should transition to healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes to see concrete and long-lasting health benefits. Here’s how:
- Eat quality food – Choose whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables from local markets and freshly prepared food. Cut out sugary snacks and white starch. Stay away from fried foods. Choose healthy snack options like crunchy salads. Eat more of lean protein.
- Regulate your mealtimes – Get your body used to getting regular nutrition. This will reduce the possibility of your body working against you by storing more fat than required.
- Experiment – Healthy food is not universally tasty. Some, like Brussels sprouts, are actively avoided by people even though their health benefits are well known. Use your creativity; browse the internet for ideas to turn something bland into a flavorful and attractive dish. Get those nutrients at all costs!
- Take your time – Concentrate on your food, and not on the TV or your phone. Be aware of what your stomach is telling you. Don’t mindlessly keep on eating.
- Reduce portion sizes – Instead of cutting out carbohydrates completely, you can reduce the amount you consume gradually. After all, the body requires all types of macronutrients to function at full strength. The key is to maintain a healthy balance.
- Plan your meals – It is more common to eat unhealthy in social situations, or on the night shift. If you know beforehand that you won’t have healthy food available, carry home cooked food. This will reduce the chances of you having junk or vending machine food.
- Follow the 80/20 rule – Don’t force yourself to do too much, too quickly. Building discipline in eating habits takes time. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself from time to time for a job well done. If you are strictly eating healthy 80% of the time, you can definitely treat yourself to that dessert the other 20% of the time. Everything in moderation.
So this concludes dieting vs. dietary lifestyle change. Hence a dietary lifestyle is a more stable option. I hope this motivates you whenever you decide to start.
Good luck and healthy, happy living to you!