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Food For Thought: How To Turn A Successful Diet Into A Healthy Lifestyle

There’s often two paths in life: maintenance, and correction. You can do the small things each day to maintain wellness, or you can ignore the small choices and one day face a dire situation that requires a big, corrective choice. The way we approach food is probably the best example of the two paths we take in life. On one side there’s healthy eating; which to me is a positive. On the other, the dreaded diet. Clearly you can surmise where I stand on that.

Dietitians and health care providers alike (and even life coaches believe it or not) are tackling this twosome. Healthy eating versus dieting. There is some overlap to some — many folks see daily, healthy living as just a lifelong dietary prison sentence. But really, one approach is about balance while the other is about imbalance. Let me show you.

Healthy eating is based on good nutrition. We need a good mix of protein, carbs, and fat, in addition to vitamins and minerals to stay in top form. Equality and moderation (when you veer off the path of balance) is the key. By making thoughtful decisions you’re not losing weight as much as finding your body’s preferred, most comfortable weight. Generally speaking, the pounds come off gradually. But the results can be long-lasting if you adopt healthy eating as a lifestyle.

Just be sure to skip the sugar when possible and toss out the processed foods.

This is usually the point where someone says they feel deprived by a balanced diet, or that “life’s too short to eat things I don’t like.” But in the internet age, I promise, every single thing you think you can’t live without actually has a much healthier version available that tastes identical. Someone, somewhere has cracked the code and figured out how to make your exact guilty pleasure in a much healthier way. Voila, you’re eating right and enjoying what you eat.

Dieting, on the other hand, is purposefully restrictive in a way that’s meant to shock the body into change. By it’s very nature, it implies limiting or eliminating foods. Which foods or food groups make the cut depends on the diet. Or day.

We’ve all seen the fad diets trending; maybe even tried a few. Remember the grapefruit diet? Or the cabbage soup diet? Just thinking about that one makes me want to stop eating. And there’s more: apple cider vinegar diets, fruit juice cleanses … you get the drift.

Can we all agree that a lot of these meal plans are not meant to last forever? The diet is meant to change the body radically for some specific purpose, not become a lifestyle of starvation and strange eating habits. Most of these methods work in the short-term. You may get leaner (and meaner), but it isn’t meant to last. Once you give up the grapefruit, you’re probably going to indulge with something unhealthy to celebrate your willpower. Then you’re on the slippery slope once again.

The best way to use a diet is to kick-start weight loss with the intention of eating healthy once you drop pounds. Otherwise, you’re going to put your body through much unnecessary stress — this is how eating disorders, bad skin, and gut issues begin.

In reality, not all diets are bad. The Mediterranean diet for one is considered very healthy and many people swear by Keto. The difference goes back to half-full or half-empty premise. Do you want to include foods or exclude foods? Do you have short term goals or long term goals? I would say it provides some food for thought.

What do you think?

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