Losing Weight: Diet vs. Lifestyle Changes

With shelves full of books that proclaim low-carb, low-fat, no grain or vegetarian diets as being the best way to lose weight, it can be confusing to know which diet is the best. Many experts agree, however, that diets aren’t the way to go at all. When it comes to permanent, healthy weight loss, lifestyle changes are the most effective way to lose the weight for good.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that all diets are equally good and bad. The most important factor in sustainable weight loss, the researchers found, is adherence. Adherence is most likely to occur when habits and lifestyles are changed. Lifestyle changes are less restrictive, allow for steady weight loss. will increase the likelihood of the weight being kept off for good and couple exercises with healthy food eating for a more healthful body.

Lifestyle Changes are Less Restrictive

When one food category is completely eliminated or reduced, such as carbohydrates, fat or protein, it can result in nutritional deficiencies in the body. Not only can these deficiencies in micronutrients result in the body not functioning at its best, they can lead to further cravings and increase the likelihood of binge eating on unhealthy foods. A well-balanced diet that allows for small amounts of favorite foods to be eaten will keep the body functioning at its best and help keep food cravings at bay.

Rapid Weight Loss Isn’t Best

There are diets available that can allow for weight to be lost very quickly. However, these extreme crash diets don’t cause real fat loss. Rather than fat, water weight or muscle can be lost instead on diets that promise fast results. A healthy rate for losing fat is one to two pounds per week.

Keep the Weight Off Permanently

In addition to restricting foods, many diets restrict the types of drinks and even the times that food can be eaten. This can make socializing with others difficult. Dieters may feel pressured to turn down social invites as a result. Lifestyle changes can allow permanent weight loss because these changes, such as eating smaller portions and drinking water before eating, can be incorporated into social events.

Exercise Should Always Be a Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Many diets don’t require exercise as part of weight loss. Some diets are so restrictive in calories that they limit exercise to very small amounts or recommend that none be done at all. Lifestyle changes that include exercise are the best way to lose weight. Exercise helps to tone muscles, work out the heart and is the only way to increase the rate that calories are burned.

When it comes to the debate of diet versus lifestyle changes, healthy weight loss is best done with changing habits. A well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting exercise is key in losing weight and keeping it off permanently.