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Dieting vs Lifestyle Change

People often wonder what the best way to manage their weight is. Should they go on a diet?  Will it work?  How can they keep the weight off in the long run?  Read below to see the common components of dieting vs lifestyle change and reach out to a dietitian for support to help you make positive changes in your life.


Dieting:  All or nothing thinking vs Lifestyle: Changing how you think and act to create more sustainable habits

  • Changes should be gradual.  Make changes that you feel you can sustain for the long run versus a change just for the sake of seeing the scale move.  Remember it takes at least 21 days to form a habit and habits tend to be harder to break.

Dieting: Short term results vs Lifestyle: Long term Health and wellness are the main goals

  • Part of working on your lifestyle should include maintaining or improving your overall health.  When weight loss is your only focus, you can miss out on the other positive changes to your health such as improved blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.  Being able to move around easier, being more active, sleeping better, and just plain being happier.

Dieting: Restrictive and/or rigid vs Lifestyle: Changes are made in a manageable realistic manner

  • You are not expected to eat perfect and you should not hold yourself to that standard.  Life happens!  It’s important to find a good balance that will work for you.  If you make a decision that you are not as pleased with, sit back and realistically think of ways to make small changes to support your choices the next time a similar situation arises. It’s ok to take things 1 meal or snack at a time.

Dieting: Perfection or Failure vs Lifestyle: Mindfulness

  • Become more mindful about your choices in what you eat and tune in to your feelings of hunger/fullness.  Do you remember how your last meal tasted?  Slow down and enjoy each and every bite of food.  This also slows you down, allowing you to improve your awareness of fullness. Stop focusing on what you’ve done wrong, and instead focus on the areas of success you’ve achieved.  Celebrate victories both large and small.

Dieting: Immediate Weight Loss is the Only Goal vs Lifestyle: Takes time to adopt

  • Lifestyle changes do not occur overnight.  They take time to adopt, in the same manner that it took time to learn read, write, walk, and talk. Be patient with yourself during your journey, regardless of how long you think it should take or how long it took for someone else.

Dieting: Focus on good and bad foods vs Lifestyle: Focus to Holistic Wellbeing

  • Increase your understanding of what you are putting into your body. Work to create a balance between foods that will nourish your body and those that may not, inappropriate portions and frequency. Identify how these changes will impact your sleep, emotional well-being, and physical health while improving your relationship with food.

Dieting: Quick Fix vs Lifestyle:  Takes time

  • Did we mention that it takes time!  It’s called a “lifestyle” change for a reason because you have your life to work on it!

Dieting: False Promises vs Lifestyle: There is no, “One size fits all” approach

  • Health, nutrition, and weight management information is ever-changing as new information is learned because no two people are alike.  Take time to determine what will work for you with the support and education of your medical team.

Lifestyle changes take time, change your mindset and focus, improves many aspects of your life, and involves a village.

  • Enlist support from friends, family, and your medical team.  Having people in your corner to share in your joys and successes while also encouraging and supporting you when you are struggling is key.  


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