Weight loss: Diet change vs. dietary lifestyle

Are you on a diet change or are you making a dietary lifestyle change? Learn how to recognize the difference.

According to Webster’s II New College Dictionary, one definition of “diet” is an organism’s usual food and drink. So it stands to reason that when one decides to become healthier, and for many that means slimmer, then frequently it requires a change in the usual food and/or drink. But how do you find out what works for you? Here are a few things to consider:

  • History
    What have you done in the past and how long did it last? In this case, the best predictor of future behavior is what has happened in the past. Work with who you are, before you work with who you want to be.
  • Purpose
    Are you trying to look slimmer for a special event or are you trying to achieve long-term health?
  • Method
    Will the method you choose match your goal, quick and temporary, or is it sustainable for the long haul?
  • Support
    Will you be surrounded by a person or people who will support you or those who will sabotage your efforts, this can make a difference between a change and a lifestyle.

Now, based on your goal it will be easier to determine if you want or have a diet change or a dietary lifestyle. There is the potential of success or failure for both, but being aware of the difference is half your battle.

Diet change may be recognized by some or all of the following:

  • Time limits
    Change for a special event or purpose, once the event is over the purpose or time period is up and the usual diet returns fairly quickly.
  • Special dietary requirements
    The elimination of a food group, like low or no carbs, taking appetite suppressants, substituting a meal with a shake, special cookie or cereal, sprinkling a substance on food or eating only pre-packaged meals. Over time you stand the risk of running out of discipline or money.
  • Commitment
    It is usually a shorter period or a specified length of time.

Dietary lifestyle has no time limit; it can be accomplished without special dietary elimination or substitutions. The focus is on gaining dietary and physical activity balance, and this should be revisited and tweaked regularly until the desired results is achieved. Be realistic, dietary lifestyle requires gradual, intentional and systematic change. Commitment is a work in progress, you may fall back to old habits but consistency is needed to reach the goal.

Once you know who you are with regard to diet and health, you know the your goal, you pick the method, remember dietary change can lead to dietary lifestyle, but trying to sustain a dietary change as a lifestyle is not the best recipe for success and put in place a support mechanism. This way you are more likely to achieve your goal.

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