Diet vs. Lifestyle: Call It “Failure” If You Don’t Change What You Eat

There is a raging debate in the online weight loss community about whether you’re “dieting” or “making a lifestyle change” on your quest to become healthy. It’s a badge of honor to be making the change, and the word diet is often shouted down. 

  

I can understand the sentiment- diets are fads but changing your lifestyle sounds more grandiose, like one is making a more permanent change. 

This is not going to be a popular next few paragraphs, but I honestly believe that until we fundamentally change the way we eat and our relationship with food, we can call it a “Pretty Pretty Princess Party,” because it’s not going to work long-term.

I am an advocate for cleaning eating, and follow the Weight Watcher Simply Filling tenets (though I use the Points Plus formula myself) which call for whole grains, plenty of fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Cleaning Eating takes these tenets one step further, and encourages limited foods that have been processed, contain chemicals or preservatives, or artificial flavor/colors. 

I understand the convenience of frozen foods, the affordability of pre-portioned meals and canned soups. These processed foods give us the impression we’re still eating the chips, nacho cheese, ice cream, etc we’ve come to expect in our lives. 

But if we’re truly changing our lifestyles, we can’t be satisfied with creating a cheaper, chemically-modified chili-cheese dog that’s 5 points instead of the full-fat version that is 10 points. We need to recognize that chili-cheese dogs and those chips, nacho cheese and rocky road ice cream we have come to expect in our lives are not the best fuel for our bodies on a regular basis.

It might take an hour to prepare, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs with sautéed kale and roasted mushrooms will cost the same as a Lean Cuisine or a Smart One, keep you fuller longer AND are healthier for you in the long-term.

True change starts when we examine the eating habits, behaviors and food choices that got us here. Then we must change what doesn’t work, what isn’t helping us lose weight and ultimately, what isn’t healthy for our bodies and helping us live longer, more productive lives. 

 

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