Dieting versus Lifestyle change is a topic we debate at different stages in our lives.
Diet, in common terms, means restricting one's food intake to reduce the number of calories taken in to achieve specific weight-loss goals. Diets are normally aimed at short-term and quick weight loss.
Lifestyle change, on the other hand, would signify a more holistic approach to health. Lifestyle change means bringing about changes in one's way of living, eating, drinking, sleeping, entertaining, exercising, which are generally long-term with an intention to stay healthy and fit. Lifestyle changes help one achieve his weight loss goals, slowly and steadily, but with longer lasting benefits and true health.
According to me, unless you are a movie star or a model whose life depends on staying stick thin, it makes no sense in doing mindless dieting. Following protein-only, or fruit-only diet would not work for you in the longer term, and would leave you feeling drained of energy, stamina, reducing your immunity, and might even end up harming your bones and muscles.
Diet has become a much-hated word because of the fad of senseless diets doing the rounds these days. If you are serious about following a balanced and nutritious diet, then consult a professional dietitian who could devise a diet plan keeping in mind your body type, activity levels, and specific requirements.
General guidelines for a good diet are:
• 6-8 glasses of water in a day
• Three well-balanced meals in a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a couple of healthy snacks during the day
• Dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime
• Proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and moderate fat at every meal (no fried food)
• Include lots of fruits and fresh vegetables in your diet
• Limit the portion sizes
• Keep alcohol intake minimal
Hence dieting does not necessarily need to be a terrible thing. Starving is! No matter what your goals are, do not subject your body to perpetual hunger. You can lose weight by eating sensibly and not by punishing yourself. Remember, you will gain back all the weight you have lost, if you do not bring about lifestyle changes and only concentrate on diet control.
To achieve lifestyle changes, develop a well rounded approach. Prepare a list of your activities: when do you eat, what do you eat, what is your activity level, when do you sleep, what time can you spare for exercising, and so on? Please do not treat exercise as a pariah. You do not have to spend hours sweating out in the gym. Moderate activity throughout the day is the key. Brisk walking, strength training, Yoga, doing chores around the house are good ways of getting that daily dose of exercise.
Eating junk food means getting only fat and no nutrition. Avoid these as far as possible. Reduce stress. Do meditation to handle the tensions of life. Be positive to feel good. Do not measure your body by others' expectations. Love yourself, and invest in your body. You will see changes and would begin to look and feel better. To achieve lifestyle changes, you need to be more committed and willing to change your habits as a way of living and not as a passing fancy.
Lifestyle changes along with a sensible diet are a desirable road ahead for a lifetime of health and fitness. Do not look for short cuts when it comes to health.
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