When I was in my early 20s my idea of a “diet” was to cut out carbs for a few days. It was quick, efficient and I received the results I thought I wanted. While I was skinny, I was not healthy. I rarely worked out. My body had little muscle tone and was constantly running low on energy. I was unknowingly depriving my body of essential nutrients that it needed to properly function.

With the New Year amongst us, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. There’s a good chance yourself or someone you know is making an attempt at a fad diet.

Pros to Dieting

The pro to going on diets such as weight watchers and atkins, is how quick and efficient these options are. Many dieters that use these programs experience quick and rapid weight loss as early as the first two weeks of the program. This rapid weight loss can serve as a motivator to dieters to keep going and not give up on their diets. We live in a society that looks for the quickest and easiest route. In terms of weight loss, people usually look for what will give them the largest amount of weight loss in the shortest amount of time. Several fad diets like Atkins, Weight Watchers and South Beach, have delivered this maximum weight loss with minimal effort.

And who wouldn’t want to lose a rapid amount of weight on diet alone?

Cons to Dieting

Unfortunately, like most things in life – the quickest and most efficient option does not always last. When asked about the Atkins Diet, the British Diabetic Association (BDA) says that the “rapid weight loss can be motivating, but it is unsustainable”.

While these diets do have rapid weight loss during the first few weeks, studies have concluded that the vast majority, if not all, of weight loss will return over a three year period.  Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania, states that around 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years.

Fad diets are a quick way to get results, but they are not the way to keep results. They normally lead to a vicious cycle of up and down weight loss and weight gain.

So again I ask, who wouldn’t want to lose a rapid amount of weight on diet alone? Someone who wants lasting results. Lasting results is only obtained through a lifestyle change.

What is a Lifestyle Change?

A lifestyle change is a combination of dietary, fitness and behavioral changes. The combination of these will help create the mindset for long-term weight loss.

The type of dietary change here teaches moderation instead of deprivation. Subjects may not see results as quickly, but over the long-term could lose just as much weight, if not more. A diet that concentrates on healthy foods, balance and moderation will have long-term results and be less-likely to regain weight.

When fitness is combined with proper nutrition it can help control weight and lower risk for many diseases.

Making sleep a priority and staying hydrated are some examples of behavioral changes that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. These behavioral changes can positively affect weight loss, cardiovascular health and mental state. Sleep deprivation can also negatively affect your mental state as well as cause weight gain.

Pros of a Lifestyle Change

A lifestyle change instills a healthy mindset in an individual. Living a healthy lifestyle can contribute to weight loss, being physically fit, disease prevention, increased energy and good mental health. Instilling a healthy lifestyle also can extend the length of a life in addition to the quality of life.

Cons to a Lifestyle Change

Depending on how you live your life, a lifestyle change may require some major changes. Obtaining a healthy lifestyle will take consistency, patience and hard work. Weight loss will not happen as quickly as it can with certain fad diets.

Diet vs Healthy Lifestyle Change

However, although a complete lifestyle change does not deliver the quick and rapid results a fad diet can, it will deliver lasting results. The majority of dieters gain back the weight they lost. Those who partake in a healthy lifestyle will lose weight at a slower pace, but it is a healthier pace. In addition to weight loss, those with a healthy lifestyle will be improving their physical physique, mental state all while lowering the risk of certain diseases.

Instead of having to set the same New Year’s resolution in 2018 to once again “lose weight”, set a healthy lifestyle in 2017 that will allow you to enter 2018 with a healthier body and mind

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