Have you ever gone on a diet to lose weight? Did you have trouble sticking with it? You’re not alone! For many, dieting is a vicious cycle of depriving yourself of food, giving in to your cravings, feeling like you failed, and then binging on all the foods you’ve been depriving yourself of… and finally, giving up altogether.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, you’ll be happy to know there is a better way. Implementing healthy lifestyle changes can lead to long term weight management and improved health overall.
What’s the Difference Between Dieting and a Healthy Lifestyle?
When you go on a diet to lose weight, the plan is to change your eating habits for a short time, usually until you reach your goal weight. Most people expect to return to their previous eating habits at some point.
Going on a diet is only a temporary weight loss solution. Most people gain the weight back after they return to their normal eating habits. And it does nothing to improve your health long-term.
On the other hand, healthy lifestyle changes are more about adopting habits that will promote overall health and wellness for the long haul. You will probably still lose weight, but it’s not the primary goal.
In general, a diet generally focuses on how much you eat, where a healthy lifestyle focuses on what you eat, as well as lifestyle factors that contribute to overall health, such as exercise, nutrition, and reducing stress.
Why Diets Fail for Long-Term Weight Loss
Restrictive diets are alluring because they promise fast weight loss. But depriving yourself of enough food or the foods you love eventually leads to overindulging and a return to previous eating habits, only to gain back any weight you’ve managed to lose.
But let’s get one thing straight. It’s not the dieter that isn’t trying hard enough! The problem is that restrictive diets don’t work.
About 95% of people who lose weight on a restrictive diet gain it back. And even worse, restrictive diets slow down your metabolism, which makes it even harder to lose weight and keep it off.
6 Sustainable, Healthy Lifestyle Changes Anyone Can Implement
On the other hand, healthy lifestyle changes lead to weight loss that is sustainable over time. They’ll also help you live a longer, healthier life with more energy, better focus, and less stress.
Here are six lifestyle changes that are not only easy to implement but can also lead to better weight management and big improvements in your overall health and wellbeing for the long haul.
No, we’re not telling you it’s ok to eat fried foods on the regular! We’re talking about healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, healthy cooking oils, and fatty fish. These types of fats can support your weight loss efforts by helping you feel full, longer. They also reduce inflammation, support immune function, and much more.
Many people overlook the importance of hydration. But drinking plenty of water not only leads to more energy and better skin, it could also help you lose weight. Staying hydrated can prevent cravings, boost your metabolism, and help your body remove excess waste. Shoot for eight, 8-ounce glasses each day.
Prioritize 7-9 Hours of Sleep Each Night
The effects of sleep deprivation are no joke. Did you know that skimping on your sleep by just an hour each night can increase your risk of obesity and weight gain? Your body needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night, even if that means going to bed at the same time as your kids.
Yes, strength training and cardiovascular exercise are important, but some days it’s hard to fit in an hour at the gym. Try to move intentionally throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk on your lunch break, do some callisthenics at your desk, or park on the other side of the parking lot and walk to the door when you get your groceries. Every little bit adds up!
Take a Multivitamin and a Probiotic Every Day
Sometimes it’s hard to know what supplements you need. Taking a high-quality multivitamin and mineral each day is an easy way to ensure that you’re filling any nutritional gaps in your diet. It takes all the guesswork out of choosing a supplement because it covers all the bases.
And, a healthy gut is super important for a strong immune system and better mood health. A healthy gut also supports good digestion, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight.
Organic vitamins by SmartyPants Vitamins include all the most important nutrients and there’s a probiotic right in the formula, so incorporating them into your daily routine couldn’t be easier.
Focus on A Whole Food Diet
Eating a healthy diet is actually a lot easier than many people make it out to be. Focus on eating a diet that’s rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Avoid processed foods, including hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, and refined carbohydrates. It really is that simple.
Tips for Making Lifestyle Changes That Stick
There’s no denying that ditching bad habits in favor of healthy ones can be a challenge. Here are some tried and true tips that will set you up for success.
- Do it for you. We all have goals, such as fitting into our favorite jeans or having more energy. Make sure that you are making positive changes for you, not your spouse or anyone else. Why is living a healthier lifestyle important to you?
- Don’t try to change everything at once. A slow, steady approach supports the long-lasting change. Pick one thing you want to change, and once you’ve mastered it, move on to something else. And don’t try to make big changes when you’re under a lot of stress. Wait until you can focus your time and energy on it.
- Find a support system. Having a few cheerleaders in your life will help you stick to your goals. Ask for support from family and friends or join a support group to meet people with similar goals. Recruit a workout buddy, hire a personal trainer or nutritionist, or start a walking club that meets after work.
- Journal your progress. Life goes by so fast and it can be easy to forget about all the progress you’ve made. Journal your progress and don’t hesitate to reward yourself when you reach a goal.
And finally, learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for indulging a craving or skipping your workout. Acknowledge slip-ups and come up with a strategy to help you avoid them in the future, and then let it go.