Healthy Lifestyle vs. Diets:

When Are Diets Appropriate?

I repeat myself regularly to anyone who will listen.

“Diets are short term, and so are the results.”

Dieting is the reason we feel like we are sacrificing all the foods we love. It causes yo-yo dieting, usually resulting in extra weight gain. It’s a variable in our failure to reach our New Year’s resolutions. Living a healthy lifestyle is the goal. Finding balance and harmony in eating well, exercising and utilizing self-care is important.

Sometimes, however, diets are appropriate. Here are a few guidelines to make dieting a success.

A diet could be the right option:

  1. If you already live a healthy lifestyle. If you already exercise, have your nutrition basics down and have healthy habits. Choosing to “diet” for bikini season or for having pictures taken when you are a bridesmaid might be totally appropriate.
  1. If you understand that it is a short-term goal. I can live without chocolate for a while, but not forever. And considering the efforts and focus will be short term, the results will be also. 
  1. If it is not an extreme or dangerous diet. Eating “diet” foods full of chemicals and preservatives is not the way to go. Eating a super low-calorie diet or starving yourself is just asking for health issues later on. And remember, your body does not know the difference between diet and starvation. If your body goes into survival mode, you may not get the results you desire. 
  1. If you walk yourself back up in calories and macros after the diet is over. We call this “reverse dieting.” Binging on junk and processed food for days after will make you blow up like a balloon. You have to build your metabolism back up after reducing calories during a diet. 
  1. If you eat appropriate for your goals and body composition. Just following any old diet that sounds like it will work is not your best option. Knowing which diet is best and why it should work for you is important. Do your homework or consult a professional to help you choose. 
  1. If your doctor deems you healthy enough to diet. In some cases, cutting calories or even cutting out a macronutrient may be extremely counterproductive to your goal or even your overall health. 
  2. If you have the time to prepare your food and increase time on healthy habits you already have. Running through the fast-food drive-through window means you are getting food that isn’t technically on any decent diet. Be prepared to cook your food in advance and take it with you in a cooler everywhere you go. You may also need to kick up your cardio a notch.

If you have more than 15 pounds to lose, can’t seem to stop binging on junk food or have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food, dieting is probably off the table for now. Find a professional who can help teach you the basics of a healthy lifestyle and work on changing habits one at a time. Baby steps will help you reach that major goal over time.

Melissa Fillmore

Melissa Fillmore is a former NPC National level Figure and Women's Physique competitor. She is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and owner of Fillmore Fitness, LLC in Pasco, Washington. Melissa lives with her husband Craig and 4 of her 5 children. The oldest is currently serving our country in the Marines.

Facebok: fillmorefitness
Instagram: @melissafillmore_1

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