weight loss

How to Replace Dieting with Lasting, Healthy Changes

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Anyone who is trying to or has tried to lose weight at some point understands the notion that diets don’t work. In fact, it’s increasingly becoming common knowledge.

That being said, diets and fads are still everywhere, promising us that we’ll achieve X if we do Y for a Z time period. They make bogus health claims, but people still rush to them hoping to achieve an Instagram body, a six-pack, or whatever that diet has promised them.

Any dieter has that breaking point in which they realize just how much diets are negatively affecting their quality of life.

If you’re in that position and you’re finally ready to break from the vicious dieting cycle, here are a few ways you can approach this.

The problem isn’t in you, it’s in the dieting mindset.

Dieters are often led to believe that they’re doing something wrong when their diet ends up not working for them. Or that they’re “lacking willpower” for not being able to stick to a diet. This isn’t because you’re a failure or you don’t have enough motivation, it’s because diets are not designed to work. They’re designed to have people coming back to them. 

Weight is just an arbitrary number that will naturally fluctuate from day to day. Throughout your life, you can always try to manage, increase, or decrease your weight, but that doesn’t always equate to health-promoting changes. Weight isn’t the most accurate predictor of your performance or your health for that matter, so keep that in mind and make sure to not obsess over the number on the scale.

What you should be doing is identifying the health-promoting behaviors that are pushing your weight in the direction you want it to go.

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s always better to focus on what you can do to add to your quality of life instead of what you shouldn’t be doing or eating. When you’re using negative terms such as “avoid” or “don’t eat this past X o’clock” this will only end up backfiring on your health. 

Instead, you should focus on positive, health-promoting behavior changes, though those are different for everyone. One person might enjoy learning to cook at home, one person might fall in love with an early morning running habit, or some people might decide to start hitting the gym.

 Whatever it is – cooking at home, trying new veggies every week, trying new recipes, training, jogging, taking long walks, focus on the small behaviors you can add to your life to push yourself toward a healthier lifestyle. 

How should you measure success… without a scale?

Using the scale as a measure of progress doesn’t really make sense because that number is arbitrary, though it could be a good pointer. There are many other ways you can test yourself and see how you’re performing on a variety of parameters. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Your ability to run up stairs carrying a full laundry basket. 
  • Your ability to play on the floor with your children. 
  • You no longer require medication for certain conditions.
  • You don’t feel so out of breath when running. 
  • You ran a 10K.
  • Your cholesterol is in a healthier range.
  • You can eat ice cream without feeling guilt.
  • You know more than five ways to cook enjoyable meals with veggies.
  • You eat carbs on every meal instead of depriving yourself.
  • The possibilities here are endless. 

The bottom line is…

Dieting does not necessarily equal health. In fact, more often than not, it doesn’t. But creating small, sustainable changes in our everyday lives can help us develop the long-term changes necessary to achieve a healthier body and lifestyle. 

The smaller the change, the easier it is to implement and sustain, and while diets will often have you sacrificing entire food groups or running mile after mile at the gym, the result you want to achieve will be much more achievable (and you’ll actually be able to sustain it) if you don’t take the diet route and instead focus on the small, incremental changes that, in the long run, lead to a better, healthier lifestyle.

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