Is there a difference between dieting and being healthy?

An all too common myth is that dieting, no matter the method, will make you healthy. Losing weight can be approached from two directions: the healthy and the unhealthy way. Making long term lifestyle choices will help you lead a healthy lifestyle, lose weight and get you to your healthy weight range while short term crash diets will set you up for failure.

Losing Weight

Losing weight isn’t all that hard. If you create a calorie deficit, the pounds will come off. When you burn more calories than you eat, your body turns to fat stores to make up the difference and over time, you get skinnier.

All you need to do to lose weight is eat less. The unhealthy and short term approach to this is to starve yourself, survive off of coffee, water and the occasional salad for a few weeks and the weight will definitely come off.

Of coarse if you take this approach, it’s almost guaranteed that the weight will come back once you return to your normal ways. The changes needed to facilitate rapid weight loss are too much for your body to adjust to. Eventually you’ll realize that you’re hungry and tired which will result in you binging on food, enjoying it and giving up your weight loss strategy. Once your calorie intake goes back up to your normal levels, the weight will come back quickly. Chances are that you’ll pack on even more pounds than you lost with your crash diet. You’ll likely repeat this yo-yo pattern over the years for weddings, beach trips and reunions, each time losing less weight and gaining more back.

Being Health

Instead of obsessing over calories, food measurements and drastic changes to your eating habits, simply being healthy will help you lose weight without all of the math. Healthy foods are typically lower in calories than unhealthy ones. If you replace soda, chips, doughnuts and cookies with foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, 100% whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice, nuts and legumes, your calorie count will naturally go down, you’ll enjoy your food and improve your overall health at the same time.

Yes losing weight by eating healthy foods might be slower than going on a crash diet, however it will be a lot easier for you to adjust to which will guarantee your long term success. Imagine if you could just go to the beach anytime knowing you looked good instead of having to starve yourself for 2 weeks to lose weight.

The Bottom Line

Being skinny might look good but if you take the unhealthy route, it won’t feel good. Leading a healthy life is more than just being skinny, it’s about making the right choices that impact your body. If you make these choices correctly, you’ll look good, feel great and be healthy. Short term fixes will set you up for long term misery.

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