With bathing suit season coming up, you might feel the pressure to shed a few pounds fast. Going on a diet might seem like an effective way to achieve the look you desire, but is it really worth it?
What’s the deal with dieting?
Dieting consists of temporarily changing your eating habits to achieve a particular outcome, such as weight loss.
Diets have a short-term goal with a specific end date in mind. It usually involves extreme changes like reducing your caloric intake and eliminating certain food groups before returning to your old ways of eating. They can also inadvertently deprive your body of certain nutrients and can cause other negative health effects.1
While diets can help you lose an average of 5-10 percent of your body weight in a short amount of time, the change is unsustainable. According to a report by the University of California, Los Angeles, nearly 70 percent of dieters regain all the weight they lost while dieting, plus more!2
Lifestyle changes for the long haul
A similar study published in the July 2005 edition of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” concluded that dieters who successfully maintained their weight loss long-term, did so by making lifestyle changes.3
Unlike diet which focuses solely on food, lifestyle changes can encompass all of the different factors that affect weight––including sleep, stress, and exercise––making the effects better for you and more sustainable.
Making lifestyle changes means adopting habits that promote overall health, like eating more nutritious food, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s sleep. While your weight loss may not look as rapid as going on a diet, it will strengthen your body, mind, and spirit in the process.
Making the shift
Making lifestyle changes aren’t easy. Here are five tips to set you up for success when it comes to your health and wellness goals.
1. Find your why.
A person’s “why” behind a lifestyle change probably goes much deeper than wanting to trim fat just to look good. What’s yours? Determine the motivating force behind your actions, and hold on to it. Let your desire for a happier, healthier life encourage you in the moments of difficulty.
2. Set realistic goals and make one change at a time.
If you rarely exercise, deciding to go to the gym seven days a week won’t last for very long. Instead, start with 20-30 minutes of exercise a few times a week. Pietra Fitness offers well-rounded workouts for every fitness level to help you get started.
It is also important for you to make one small change at a time. If you try to do too much at once you are more likely to get overwhelmed and fail.
3. Find a partner
Having a buddy can really help keep you and your goals on track. Find a friend who is looking to make similar lifestyle changes and encourage one another. Maybe you can choose to workout together once a week, or share your favorite, healthy crockpot recipes. Don’t go on this journey alone.
4. Make necessary changes to your environment
Trying to improve your behavior is impossible without changing your environment, so create an environment that supports the healthy habits you want to build.
Trying to cut out sugar? Rid your pantry of junk foods and fill it with healthy options instead. Want a better night’s sleep? Buy some new pajamas, turn off screens an hour before bedtime, and drink some calming tea to signal to your mind and body that it is time to wind down for the evening.
5. Celebrate your success
Don’t forget to celebrate your success––big or small! Reward yourself as you reach the goals you set for yourself (just try to avoid indulging in the behavior you were trying to change). Reinforcing positive habits can help cement the changes you made into a lifestyle.____________
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