What if I told you I know a pill that could not only help you maintain your weight but also help you with managing stress, improving your health, building relationships? This pill is hard to swallow though. It is called “Changing your lifestyle.”
I have been around many people who tried losing weight using the crash diets, but they ended up gaining most of it back. When you try to change your lifestyle, the results are slower but permanent. I myself have struggled with food habits after I moved to Toronto. It was difficult but it was worth it, I now do not have sugar cravings, no binging habits, exercising regularly, understanding and respecting my body.
When I was a kid, my parents always tried to practice “Balanced Diet”. They taught me the importance of nutrition in the food rather than the food itself, so it became easier for me to moderate my cravings later in my independent life. I used to hate eating particular vegetables, let’s be honest but I now know how important it was to make it a habit, so it helps me continue the healthy lifestyle.
Let’s talk about how dieting differs from lifestyle change. I know “lose 20lbs in 1 week” sounds tempting but how good is it for your body? When you start such crash diet courses, you’re depriving your body of the fuel it runs on. By the end of the day you will feel tired, frustrated, angry or even discouraged. Diets or short-term diets might give you results, but dieters are proven to regain most of the lost weight as soon as they stop dieting. Lifestyle change on the other hand is mindful eating. You listen to your body in a way that respect flows both ways. It focuses on nourishing your body with healthy and whole foods.
Dieting usually categories food into good or bad. For eg: Broccoli is good, chocolate cake is bad. When you see your favourite food listed as a bad food, it gives you a negative feeling about dieting, feels like FOMO (Fear of missing out) Many people do not consider dieting because they are scared they’ll have to give up on their favourite foods. Whereas, lifestyle change is more about practicing moderation rather than restriction.
For eg: I had a habit of binging on chocolate cake/ ice cream after ever meal. I tried to completely stop which resulted in me getting annoyed and not feeling “satisfied” rather I started moderating. I started eating two bites after every meal and then reduced to eating it after one meal only, now I do not need chocolate to feel satisfied after meals. It requires a lot of practice and understanding what your body calls for.
I can now indulge in such desserts once a while because I know what disadvantages it has on my body and I understand it.
Once you start moderation, you are most likely to go on guilt trips if you overindulge but the idea is to get over it to compensate for the overindulgence.
The best reason lifestyle change works better than dieting is you not only focus on your food but also a healthy amount of exercise. You lose weight at a healthier pace and for a long term rather than short term success.
Diet is also based on measuring progress as a number on the weighing scale. This mostly discourages people and urges them to quit. Lifestyle change on the other hand is not just a number on the scale but also your mental health and understanding your body better.
The major reason lifestyle change is a hard pill to swallow is because it requires a lot of patience and it has more to do with yourself. The doctor can only prescribe, suggest, and advice. It is you who must work towards it.
Lifestyle change is difficult but worth giving a shot. Let us know your stories behind diets or changes and let’s move together towards wellness.