Are you sick and tired of losing weight temporarily, only to regain it all and more? If so, you’ve probably found success in a temporary diet that is too restrictive to be sustainable long-term. There’s no shortage of diets, quick fixes, and tools that claim to aid in easy weight loss. Unfortunately, most of the weight lost on short-term diets is temporary and results in weight regain and potentially other health consequences. Additionally, studies have shown that yo-yo dieting can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.
In other words, short-term diets are neither sustainable nor healthy. If you want to burn fat, be healthier, and remain trimmer, you need to make lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes promote healthy weight loss and weight maintenance. Today, we’re discussing the differences between diets and lifestyle changes and how you can improve your aesthetic and health for good.
A Diet vs. Lifestyle Change Explained
What Is a Diet?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a diet may refer to the foods and beverages you consume regularly or a regimen of restricting food and beverage consumption to facilitate weight loss. In short, a diet for weight loss is temporary. Most diets have short-term goals, are very restrictive, and almost always result in weight regain.
As noted above, diets result in a significant amount of rapid weight loss. However, this isn’t healthy, and most of the weight loss isn’t fat. The majority of those who are on a diet gain their weight back within 1 to 5 years. This often results in yo-yo dieting, an endless cycle of weight loss and weight gain, potentially causing further health problems and metabolic damage.
What Is a Lifestyle Change?
A lifestyle change is a sustainable change you make to your diet or exercise routine that you can stick to for the rest of your life. Implementing lifestyle changes is a process that takes time, planning, commitment, and support. It’s always wise to start small, and don’t be afraid to seek additional support if needed. Here are some actionable steps you can take to lose weight, keep it off for good, and improve your health.
Discover a Physical Activity You Enjoy
You don’t have to run on the treadmill every day to lose weight, keep excess weight off, and be healthy. In fact, you don’t have to go to the gym at all. Remember, lifestyle changes are sustainable changes you make to your lifestyle. If you dread going to the gym, you probably won’t stick with it long enough to lose excess weight, let alone keep it off for life.
Some people enjoy making friends by joining an outdoor running club. Other people love the camaraderie of triathlon club membership. Others love traveling the country, cycling, hiking, or rowing. Some people enjoy being a referee for the local high school football teams. If you don’t already have a sport or other physical activity you love, try physical activities out until you find one you enjoy. Even parking further away or taking the stairs can make a big difference. It’s important to just move more and make conscious choices to be more active.
Although keto is a diet (way of eating), and you can go on a keto diet by consuming fewer calories than you burn, it can also easily be a lifestyle. The ketogenic diet is great for people looking to lose weight for a number of reasons, including:
- Appetite reduction (ketogenic diets help you feel full)
- Safe rapid initial weight loss
- Fat loss (especially unhealthy abdominal fat)
- Increased HDL levels (good) cholesterol
- Reduced LDL levels (bad) cholesterol
- Decreased insulin resistance
- Reduction in inflammation
If the keto diet isn’t for you, that’s okay too. Remember, we’re talking about eating in a way that you will enjoy and can stick with for life. We want you to lose weight and eat in a manner that will set you up for long-term success. So, while we’re proponents of the keto diet and its many benefits, we will help support you no matter the diet you choose.
Our busy lives can leave us wondering what to eat for our next meal and we often gravitate towards what’s convenient and oftentimes, we make unhealthy choices. We’ve all been there, right? As simple as this sounds, preparing and planning your meals ahead of time is a game-changer. Meal prepping has so many benefits and is key to a successful weight management lifestyle. Not only will you always have healthy food choices readily available, but it can also be very budget-friendly. Having a plan and food on hand will prevent you from making poor, hunger-based decisions when they pop up. Check out our guide to meal-prepping here.
Minimize Alcohol Consumption
You don’t have to cut out alcohol completely to lose weight and keep it off. That said, too much alcohol consumption isn’t good for your waistline or health. Follow the AHA and CDC guidelines of no more than one unit of alcohol daily for women and no more than two units of alcohol daily for men. This will minimize the effects alcohol has on your health.
When choosing which alcoholic beverage to indulge in, remember that the type of alcoholic beverage you choose will affect your weight loss. Liquor is an ideal choice because a serving of liquor is generally low in calories and contains zero sugar or carbohydrates. However, if you opt for a cocktail, you could be drinking over 250 calories due to sugary mixers and additional ingredients. To avoid this, choose sugar-free mixers like club soda, diet tonic, or seltzer water.
You should make sure you drink plenty of water before and after drinking alcohol and choose lower calorie/carbohydrate options. Light beer and dry wines are acceptable options and can be enjoyed without raising insulin levels. Make sure to avoid sweet wines, dessert wines, and sugary mixers. Read more tips about alcohol consumption and the keto diet here.
Get More Sleep
Getting more sleep is a great, sustainable way to put you on the right path for weight loss and weight maintenance. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to choose foods and beverages that are high in sugar to give them an immediate energy boost. Unfortunately, this results in a significant blood sugar crash later in the day and can perpetuate a cycle of sugar-laden foods and beverages that are bad for health, weight, and mental wellbeing. You’re simply not in the right mindset to make good food choices when you’re short on sleep.
When you’re sleep-deprived, your workouts may also be less efficient, or you may not have the energy to work out at all. Adequate sleep and overall good health go hand in hand.
Drink More Water
Simply put, when you are dehydrated, your body cannot function efficiently. Further, there are several reasons why drinking water helps to facilitate weight loss. The results of extensive research have shown that drinking more water increases your metabolism. This means you may lose weight faster. Once you achieve your goal weight, you can maintain it while consuming more calories than you would need to consume to maintain your weight if you were dehydrated.
Additionally, drinking lots of water may naturally suppress your appetite, promote healthy kidney function, and is essential for overall good health. Water is critical in every cellular activity of your body from head to toe and the body runs more efficiently when properly hydrated. People who are more active and take certain medications should be extra mindful of adequate water intake.
The Bottom Line
Short-term dieting is an effective way to lose a lot of weight quickly. However, most of this weight loss is temporary and not ideal for the long haul. If you want to improve your health, lose weight, and maintain your weight loss, you need a number of small lifestyle changes. And, be patient with yourself as you adjust to a new routine. Remember, losing weight is not just about dieting alone and requires a lifestyle change that supports a healthier you.
Let our experienced weight loss experts help guide you to long-term weight loss in a healthy and sustainable way. All new patients can expect a healthy diet and exercise plan, medications to restrain appetite, ongoing nutritional counseling, and a simple and easy-to-follow plan. Contact us for more information.