Dieting vs Lifestyle changes

A lot of people confuse the terms ‘diet’ and a ‘lifestyle changes’ and mixing the two together can often leave us feeling confused on what our actual goal is.

So what is the difference?

A diet consists of temporarily changing your eating habits to promote a certain outcome, commonly weight loss, before returning to your previous eating habits.

On the other hand, a lifestyle change consists of adopting healthy overall habits that promote long-term weight control and health.

In addition, diets focus on food intake, while lifestyle changes incorporate what you eat along with other factors that affect weight and health, such as physical activity. Where weight loss is concerned, a diet provides a temporary solution and singular approach to a multifaceted, long-term health issue.

So how do we know which one to choose according to our goals

So diets are something that we can not maintain and are often used as a quick fix/fad and often involve behaviour patterns including; eating breakfast regularly, exercising an average of one hour each day, maintaining consistent eating patters during the week and on weekends, keeping tabs on weight and eating a relatively low-fat, low-calorie diet.

Lifestyle changes include small changes of day to day life, rather than making drastic changes all at once. This might simply be cutting a glass of wine down a week, cutting back fizzy drinks, avoiding sugary food and eating more nutritious foods or even trying to attend a fitness class 2/3 times a week. These are things that are more maintainable in the long run, and are more realistic goals.

So from these two explanations ask yourself, what is my goal?

Do you want a quick fix, easy weightloss which may end up you ‘yo-yoing’ or do you want to lead a general healthier lifestyle, with the small step by step changes.

I know which one I would rather choose…

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So here is a few steps you can take to help you with those lifestyle changes that will help you to maintain a healthier lifestyle…

  1. Cutting back the alcohol…

    Yes its great to have a drink every once in a while, but alcohol is the devil and includes calories we don’t really feel like we are consuming because its liquid…

    1 large glass or red wine roughly includes 214 calories.. so for those who often chill every evening with two glasses of wine that’s 428 calories of your daily consumption… thats basically the calorie count of a full main meal.

    Try by making a small lifestyle change, even if its just simply cutting back one glass an evening, then eventually only one glass every other day and so on…

  2. Cutting back the junk food…

    So who has that biscuit stash in their cupboards which isn’t really necessary but we feel like we need in there anyway just incase the kids need it or your husband needs it for the bate box… often the reasons why we eat foods is very psychological. Often even viewing the food can leave us having cravings for something sweet. One thing I feel often helps with this is to simply not buy it , or hide it out of your view! I can guarantee you’ll forget about those sweet treats after a while, and overtime find yourself not wanting to buy/crave them!

  3. Organising your workouts…

    Organisation can be a main factor as to why we fail with our goals. Finding time in our busy schedules can be very difficult, but sacrificing an hour a day, 3 times a week is a lot easier than you make out to be, it’s the way you choose to change and prioritise your life that makes the difference. Often motivation is the main reason we don’t stick to this, so why not get a group of you together and decide some set days/classes that you’re all going to attend, this way it gives you the initiative to head down to the gym!

    On the other hand, for those heading down to the gym, try planning your workout before your session, this way you know exactly what you’re doing before you’ve started and are less likely to feel like not working out at all!

  4. Food preparation…

    Preparation is key when it comes to staying on track with our nutrition. Even the simple changes like planning your evening meals for the week can make a huge difference and stops us from relying on those quick fixes to fit meals into our busy work lives. If you want to take it a step further, even preparing your meals for each day of the week will make it so much easier to stay on track!


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So all in all lifestyle changes are completely up to you! Each one of us will have a different approach as to how fast/slow we want to make our changes. Depending on our goals we are all going to have a different way of changes things, organising, and preparing. When we work with clients here at PNF we not only work on your fitness, but making sure we can work with your lifestyle changes, support you along the way and make the small changes here and there to become and healthier and happier you.

Need help with your Nutrition?

Rachel has recently released the Ultimate Guide to Nutrition... a booklet including all the information that takes you right from the very beginning of Nutrition. The aim of the book is to teach and advise you a healthy, balanced diet with no fads, extreme meals/foods, just simple, healthy nutritious food. The booklet also gives you opportunity to log your weights and measurements so you can always keep on track.

For more information , please ask for Rachel.

Rachel Nichols