Many people do not realize that there is a huge difference between just dieting and making lifestyle changes. When you decide you want to lose weight, you expect to just diet and lose the weight you want.
But if you want lasting results, dieting isn’t going to cut it.
And this is where you get stuck in a dieting cycle. You know, where you diet and lose some weight, quit dieting, the weight comes back, so you start dieting again.
News Flash: You don’t have to do that anymore! You can lose the weight, feel great, and it will last.
I want to get you to that point, so stick with me. But you will have to change your perspective to do it.
In order to change this dieting cycle, you first must understand the difference between dieting and a lifestyle change.
Dieting is defined as restricting yourself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
We all know what dieting is like and how we feel about it. Most do not enjoy being on a diet.
It can be difficult to stick with and very discouraging if you don’t see results quick enough.
And dieting is almost always a temporary thing. Not many people stay on a diet for life, unless they make a lifestyle change.
Define Lifestyle Change
So, let’s talk about what a lifestyle change is.
A lifestyle is the way you live your life. It is the way you prefer to live your life and it is usually not just temporary. You work hard to make sure you can live life the way you want/have the things you want.
Have you ever heard anyone say that someone lives a rich lifestyle or a risky lifestyle?
It becomes a part of who that person is.
Why Lifestyle Changes Matters for Weight Loss
There are many reasons why you need to understand the difference between dieting and a lifestyle change.
If you can’t truly understand the difference, then it is going to be extremely hard for you to make the change.
As I already stated, dieting is temporary. Does anyone ever say they want to lose weight for a couple weeks and then want that weight back?
Of course not! Why would you want to go through all that work just to end up back where you started?
And that is where a lifestyle change comes into play. This change is going to become who you are.
You will no longer consider yourself someone that is dieting, but rather someone that eats healthy and exercises routinely, or whatever your health and fitness goals might be.
Example of a Lifestyle Change
A good example of this are people that do Keto. If you don’t know what the Keto diet is, check out my post, Beginners Guide to the Ketogenic Diet.
I have heard a lot of people that just start the Keto diet say they are on the Keto diet. But once they make a lifestyle change by deciding they want to stick with it and only eat Keto, they no longer say they are on the Keto diet but rather that they eat Keto.
It might not seem like there is a difference, but there is. Once they change, they no longer see it as a diet.
They don’t struggle on choosing what foods they can and can’t eat. They see it as their way of life.
And that is what you want to become the person you want to be.
You get much better results with a lifestyle change. They will no longer be temporary, and the results will be even better because you will be putting more into it.
You will believe in what you are doing because it will be part of how you live.
This is where a lot of people end up falling short with their goals because they realize that if they want those lasting results, they must make a big change.
How to Make Lifestyle Changes
I am not going to lie and tell you that making a lifestyle change is easy. It actually takes a lot of time and work.
But do not let that scare you off because the end result is going to make you feel amazing.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that once they make it past the first month of sticking to the change it’s no longer a struggle and starts to become more of a habit.
Change Your Mind to Want your Lifestyle Changes
To start your change, you are first going to have to change your mind. You have to want to make the change or it will never stick.
So, change your mindset to want that change. Visualize the end results and how great it will feel to achieve your goals.
You need to see this change as something positive. If it feels like a burden to you, it will not be something that lasts.
For that reason, you want to make sure you take as much time as you need to get that positive mindset.
For example, if you want to eat healthy you can visualize the weight you would lose from cutting out bad foods.
You could also imagine how good your body would feel, since you will be fueling it with only the best.
Plus, all of the extra energy you would have from those healthy foods and your improved mood.
Plan/Make the Most of Your Time
Once you have your mind made up, it is time to plan. Never jump right into a lifestyle change. Make sure you have some sort of plan to follow and make the most of your time.
Start by writing down the change you want to make. Then write down the steps to reach that change.
Understand that this will be a process, so it will take time to complete.
Making a plan can also give you a clear path to see your end result. If you start to stray, you can look back at your plan and get back on track.
Set Small Goals Towards you Lifestyle Changes
Set small goals to complete as you go. Don’t try to make your lifestyle change all at once.
You will be most successful and have much better odds of making your change if it is gradual.
And by setting the small goals, you will have some victories along the way which will help keep pushing you towards your lifestyle change.
An example of this is waking up earlier. This is a lifestyle change I have made over the past few months. I wanted to wake up earlier so that I could get more done.
My husband goes to work earlier than I do, so I have some quiet time in the morning to work on my posts.
When I try to work at night, I have so many more distractions.
So, for me to make this change, I planned it out over a few weeks where I would set my alarm 10 minutes earlier until I reached 5am.
And me waking up at the time I set without hitting snooze or deciding I didn’t need to wake up early that day, was a victory for me.
Now, don’t take this as, “you have to do this to be successful,” if you are the type of person that needs to dive right in and force yourself to go all in on your goal.
By all means, do that, and more power to you! I have just learned that most people are more successful when they do it this way.
Friendly Competition/Find Motivation
Make sure to find something that helps keep you motivated throughout your lifestyle change.
Motivation is what is going to help push you through the tough times. For some people, they use friendly competition as motivation.
And I want to stress the friendly part. If you find someone that wants to make the same lifestyle change as you, be supportive.
You might have a small competition going on but remember to always be encouraging to one another.
You both want the lifestyle change and your friendship to last.
A good example of this is if you are going to exercise routinely. You might decide to start with a small goal of walking 10,000 steps a day.
Fitbit is great because they not only track your steps, but on their app, you can add friends and do step challenges with them.
Fitbit can be expensive, so if you are only looking for a nice watch that can track your steps for you, I suggest this watch.
It has many of the same features of a Fitbit at a fraction of the price.
Accountability for your Lifestyle Changes
It is always a good idea to find someone that can help keep you accountable.
If you are doing friendly competition with someone, they are a great choice because you will already be tracking each other’s progress.
If you decide not to go that route, find someone you can trust to tell you the truth. That can tell you, you have been slacking, if that is the case.
There are also facebook groups you can join for just about everything that can help if you need some motivation or have and questions.
Usually people with the same goals are very supportive.
Accountability helps ensure you stay on track and that you continue to work on your lifestyle change.
Track the Progress of your Lifestyle Change
Tracking your progress as you go is also important. It helps motivate you to see where you started and how far you have come.
It shows you that you are making advancements towards your change.
This is very helpful to see when you hit periods where you feel like nothing has changed because you can clearly see things have changed.
It can also show you if you plateau. This is vital so you know when you need to shake things up and change your tactics.
Learn from Your Setbacks
You are bound to have a setback at some point. And that is ok. You are only human, and these are big changes you are working on making.
Never let a setback discourage you.
Instead, learn from them. Look at what caused the setback. Is it something you can control? If so, it is an easy fix.
If not, you might need to put a little more work in to not let that cause continue to make you have setbacks.
I myself have had setbacks with my waking up early life change. I have had times where I tell myself I need an extra 30 minutes.
Instead of getting discouraged I looked at why this happens. I have realized that I need to start winding down for bed early and even try to fall asleep earlier. Now my delays a few and far between.
Stick with your Lifestyle Change Even When it Gets Hard
I said this earlier and I am going to say it again, a lifestyle change is a lot of work and can get hard.
I want to say this again, so you have no misconception about what you are doing.
Realizing right off the bat that this is going to take work will help you later when it does get hard.
This is where you are going to fall back on the other tactics we have talked about. Each of them can help get you through those tough times.
Always remember what your end result is. Visualize it and see it for yourself. Believing in that can be a huge help.
And keep in mind that you can never reach that goal if you give up now.
Keep Moving Forward
If you want to really work on your health and fitness goals, making a lifestyle change is going to be what gets you there.
Now that you know the difference between dieting and a lifestyle change, and we have put lifestyle changes into perspective, you can easily understand why that is going to be what works for you.
To make that change, start by changing your mindset. Make a plan and alter it if need be as you go.
Find your motivation whether that is in friendly competition or someone keeping you accountable.
Track the progress you have made so you can see how far you have come and know when you have to switch things up.
Realize that you will have some setbacks but that they should never discourage you. Learn from them instead.
And always, always stick with it, even when it gets hard.
Make some lifestyle changes and you can lose the weight you want, keep it off, and feel at your best.