A Lifestyle, Not a Diet

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I’ve been using the blog to promote a fitter lifestyle: healthy food tips,  work out classes on a budget,  the science behind certain excercise routines, etc. I rarely use the word “diet,” because I believe all diets are fads and inefficient at obtaining (and maintaining) the goals your mind and body want. Sure, there are lots of “magic” pills, master cleanses, and restricted eating plans that may help you lose the weight, but ultimately they can be ineffective and often times make you miserable. You have to be happy with yourself first, and then the gains will begin.

Committing to a lifestyle is much more difficult than committing to a diet. Diets can range anywhere from 1 day to a few weeks, but a lifestyle is intended to last forever! To begin, the mind-set isn’t instantaneous. Right now, right here, we can all commit to living a healthier, fitter life… but a verbal promise isn’t going to overcoming a growling stomach or a resistant mind when it comes to getting out of bed and straight to the gym.

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FIVE MINUTES LATER:

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A lifestyle change means incorporating exercise and switching to a healthier diet, and the biggest challenge is finding a routine that fits your life. Here are just a few things to keep in mind when beginning this process.

Clean Eating: a positive, noticeable change can occur in our bodies just be eliminating certain types of food and drinks. Start simple by cutting back on soda and only drinking water, and definitely cut out the fast food. Then, start by eliminating sugars (but don’t forget to treat yourself every once in a while.) Eating clean is definitely a mental battle. There is a steep curve to overcome when eliminating sugars, carbs and processed food from our diets, and a lot of this is biological. Overtime, our brains become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption.  Read this Huffington Post article for tips on how to curve sugar cravings, such as increasing the number of meals a day, incorporating more protein and spices, and the benefits of sleep and water.

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Exercise: I don’t need to go into all the reasons why calorie burning, muscle building exercise exerts positive benefits on both your mind and body. What I do want to say is that although you’re dreading the work out now, you will 100% guarantee be HAPPY immediately post work out. Exercise releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our brains necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness. When we age, we begin to lose stocks of dopamine and are thus forced to seek out new ways to acquire it, and the easiest way to do this is to get active!  Not only that, but excericse reduces stress and anxiety while boosting both confidence and energy. Read more about other hormones released during exercise here.

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Self Confidence: The biggest lesson I can leave you with is never be discouraged. It doesn’t matter how you look or feel today, because it’s ultimately up to you to decide how you want to live your life. Why some diets often fail is because clients begin the diet, just to fall off the wagon, get frustrated, and then try a different diet. This lack of adherence is the whole point of a lifestyle change. If you get frustrated, don’t look for another outlet, but recommit to your initial goals and remember that you are doing this to ultimately be happy with yourself! We can all benefit from a healthy lifestyle.

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3 thoughts on “A Lifestyle, Not a Diet

  1. Barb says:

    I agree. You have to like yourself *first*.

  2. seadwarf says:

    Agreeeed! I think the most important thing is to make a habit of it. If you can stick to your goal for a few weeks, before you know it you are incorporating a healthy lifestyle without even trying!

  3. Totally agree – it’s so much better to commit to a healthy lifestyle by making gradual, positive changes in your eating habits and your life!

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