Lifestyle dieting

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on March 20, 2012 with No Comments

The idea of losing weight and getting in shape is one that’s occurred to nearly everyone at some point in time. But for those that choose to go on a diet to lose a certain amount of pounds, you likely notice that a lot of the diets, especially the so-called fad diets, aren’t meant to be a long-term solution. As such, the lost weight often comes back. Why is that?

The meaning of the word diet has changed. Many years ago, diet referred to the type of food that you ate generally.  It did not refer to a specific program or regimen that you were going to use for a specific period of time.

If you want to experience permanent weight loss then you need to make permanent changes to your lifestyle and to your eating habits.

According to Discover Good Nutrition (, when people set out to lose weight they tend to be very goal-oriented. This leads to a willingness to make changes that will be effective, focusing on the things that have to be changed, even if those changes are unpleasant. This sort of approach can work very well if you want to make changes to both your diet and lifestyle so that you lose weight, get healthy and aren’t haunted by the ghosts of poundage past.

    There are literally dozens of little things that you could do to eat healthier. For instance, you could cut snack food from your diet and choose healthier foods instead. Chips and snack mix, while they might be tasty, aren’t filling; you could consumer hundreds of calories before your body reacts. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables can be substituted, along with healthier alternatives like nuts, yogurt or popcorn, which have fewer empty calories.

You could cut down on the desserts that you have throughout the week.  Substitute water for the soda or juice that you drink when you’re just lounging. Slow down your eating pace so you don’t eat too much, too fast.  Try to eat more natural food that is balanced in all the sections of the food pyramid.  Cut out that fast food burger in the middle of your work day. But just remember:  don’t do that all at once.

Your eating tastes and habits have been formed over your entire lifetime.  These aren’t habits that can be undone overnight. Change one thing at a time, get used to it and see if it helps. 

It’s also important to remember that “one brownie never made anyone fat,” according to the Green Mountain retreat website ( Total denial of anything that doesn’t fit into your new way of eating might seem like the right solution. But that isn’t necessary. More importantly, you need to be able to stop yourself once you’ve had enough.  You have to be careful not to not slip back into old habits.

It’s also important to remember that dieting is a lot like exercise: you need proper motivation and, sometimes, extra help. A diet buddy, like a workout partner, can help you maintain your cool and support you in keeping away from those less healthy food temptations.

You also must remember that reaching your weight goal is just the first half of the battle.  You have to maintain what you’ve lost by making sure you don’t put those pounds back on.

If you’re not sure how best to create a diet plan that works for you, talk to your doctor. Meet with a nutritionist as well. Once you have a plan for what you and your body need, you can set about making the necessary changes so that you are happier with yourself, your diet and your health.

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About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal:

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