Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Blog

Diet vs. Lifestyle Change

Diet vs. Lifestyle Change


When I was interviewing for an exercise physiologist position years ago at a weight loss facility, the interviewer asked me as an afterthought, “Why do you want to work as an exercise physiologist and not as a dietitian right now?”  My answer came quickly.  “Telling people what they can’t have to eat is all about deprivation, and that always feels bad.  When I teach clients about incorporating movement into their life, its all about lifestyle change and empowerment!”  Then I thought a second and added, “Now, let me look at how a food is affecting our physiology and that changes the game.  Being proactive and realizing you can create health through lifestyle action is also empowering and motivating!”

And so it still goes – my focus with clients is all about empowerment and lifestyle strategies – for mind, body, emotional  and spiritual health.

I've worked with thousands of clients over many years, and many had spent an infinite number of hours dieting, eventually falling back into old, unhealthy routines.  Personally, in my younger years, I tried nearly every new fad diet that came out - even using a liquid amino acid diet that was eventually banned due to participants having heart issues while on it!  Yikes!  It is hard for me to imagine being in that state of mind now!  Body confidence, self-love, emotional healing and a focus on organic whole foods resets our physiology towards health!

What is a Fad Diet?

How do you recognize a fad diet?   Most boast a “quick fix” to your weight issues, often coupled with extreme cuts to your food or calorie intake. Fad diets are unsuccessful largely due to the fact that they are unsustainable, and impractical - and often very unhealthy!!  If you can’t live by the guidelines of your “diet” long-term, the results (if any) will not last!

Still unsure of how you can decipher a Fad Diet from nutritional advice? Look for the following:

  1. Severe calorie restriction.
  2. Rapid weight loss. (More than 1-2 pounds per week is unrealistic!)
  3. Specific food combinations or magic “cure-all”.  You should not expect a magic pill to take away years of imbalance or junk food and little exercise. Give your body time, proper nutrition, and activity!
  4. Strict rules. If you dread mealtimes because you have to avoid 10+ ingredients, you won’t be able to sustain the eating patterns. Beside the fact that losing weight is supposed to make you feel better about yourself! Not guilty and miserable.  Moderation is key.
  5. No exercise needed. Be wary of a weight loss plan that doesn’t require you to move. Common sense tells us that it takes movement to burn off the calories you take in; and losing weight takes a calorie deficit in the body. Get moving!

Why choose a lifestyle change?

Choosing a nutrition and exercise plan should keep longevity in mind. If your plans for weight loss are difficult day one, you probably won’t make it to day one-hundred. To get off the weight gain/loss cycle, implement long-term changes into your everyday routine.

  1. Be honest with yourself and know where you’re at currently. Start a food diary to fully realize the unhealthy choices you make regularly. Then, start to change the bad habits.
  2. Exercise regularly. With a regular exercise plan, you will start to feel healthier and your confidence will be boosted quickly. Once you dedicate time from your day to exercise, it will be harder to make bad food choices.
  3. Be gentle with yourself. Think of your weight loss as a long-term process. You didn’t put the weight on in a week, don’t expect to lose it so quickly! Allow yourself room for discovery. After all, these are choices for a lifetime.
  4. Remember, little changes in your food can create BIG results.  As you move away from the SAD diet (Standard American Diet), your palate (taste buds) will adjust away from the craving for high fat, high sugar and high salt foods, to a desire for nutritious, organic, nutrient dense foods – and it won’t take long!
  5. Focus on health instead of weight loss.  As you get your body back into balance, the inflammatory cascade decreases, your hormones balance, your adrenals restore, your gut health improves, and the weight shift is a natural side effect!
  6. Know that there is NO failure, only awareness and movement toward your goal.  Every time some strategy doesn’t work, or you feel a little kink in your program, you are learning what works and what doesn’t work for you!  Gone are the days of guilt and shame around our bodies! 
  7. As we work together, we also work with that part of your brain that tells you all those little lies about yourself – I call it all the “negative noise” in our heads – and learn to replace it with kindness and truth about your glorious self!
  8. Focus on gratitude each day – it resets your mindset and lowers your stress levels and stress response.   
  9. Finally, remember to live in the moment for the greatest joy!  Looking back is often tied to regrets, looking forward often to fears about what’s ahead, but in the moment – that is real!  Don’t let it pass you by another minute!
  10. Spring has sprung and it’s a time for new beginnings!  I’d love to help you on your journey to the NEW you!!  Set up your FREE initial consult today!

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