Diets vs Lifestyle Changes

January 20, 2021

Diets vs Lifestyle Changes

fruits and vegetables

How to identify a fad diet and have a goal of healthy sustainable weight loss

As New Year goals come and go, now is the time to really work on making lifestyle changes that work.  I often tell my patients that the difference from a lifestyle change and a diet is that a diet starts and ends when you “go off it” and a lifestyle is something that allows you to have good and bad days, but ultimately you get back on track again because it is something that has become your lifestyle.

When you look at some diet goals you may have for this year ask yourself:

Is this something that I will be able to stick with?   If you can’t stick to it why even start? Often going off and on diets, results in yo-yo weights which is harder on your body and metabolism then staying stable.

Fad diets often promote fast weight loss “lose 12 lbs in 1 week”.  Losing weight quickly is often fluid loss and not true weight loss. Fast loss also results in fast re-gain.  Most often losing ½ lb -1lb a week is successful weight loss that is maintainable weight loss.  At first some people lose weight faster, but over time that may slow down and that is ok.  The biggest goal is not re-gaining that weight back again.

Fad diets often cut out an entire food group or many specific foods.  While many people may eat too many carbohydrates or fats for example, the goal may not be to entirely cut them out, but rather reduce the portion sizes and balance the food groups instead for a maintainable diet.

Fad diets often do not recommend exercise or say exercise is not needed.  This may be true for initial weight loss goals, however most individuals I work with do not keep weight off as easily when they do not incorporate some physical activity.  Exercise helps to keep metabolism up through the calorie reduction!

Finally, weight loss is not always a steep slope of lbs lost.  Most often I see individuals lose 5-10 lbs and then hit a plateau for a week or two. This is normal!  This is when many people give up. However when you keep working on your goals most people will lose weight again after their body has time to reset.  Don’t just base the number on the scale as your only success.

Feel free to ask your doctor for a nutrition consult if you need additional support or motivation for weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals.


Jennifer Lincecum RDN, LD