It takes both Diet and Lifestyle Changes to get Real Results
When we first decide to “get in shape,” we must figure out what that means to us. Everyone has a different mental picture of what lifestyle changes look like. For some, it is a bodybuilder-type physique. For others, it is a leaner body with fewer jiggling parts. Getting clear on what “in shape” looks like to us defines what we have to do to get there.
The first step is always to figure out where we’re at, right this minute, and to go from there. Eighty to ninety percent of the success of our fitness/physical improvement program is our eating. Yup, not our favorite thing to look at up close, but it happens to be true. A food diary, where we write down every single thing we put into our mouths, including chewing gum and breath mints, is the best place to start. What we learn about ourselves from doing this helps us make effective changes so we can get to where we want to go.
For those of us who have other things to think about than our bodies, we can make some changes to our eating programs. For some, this means going on a diet. This can have, depending on the diet, the result of jump-starting the get-in-shape program.
A diet, the way most of us interpret the word, is a specific way of eating (or not eating) for a specific length of time. An extreme example of this is the cabbage soup diet, which has you eating nothing but cabbage soup for a week to lose ten ponds. Right. Can you say water weight loss that you regain? Any extreme is not recommended. For lasting results, put a variety of lifestyle changes into effect. Look at your food diary, get help, if you need it, to figure out what has to change, then change it.
If a lot of deep-fried foods, or large quantities of starchy foods, for example, are part of what you eat every day, reducing quantity and frequency of eating these foods will feel like a diet. Keep doing it and it becomes a lifestyle change, like choosing fresh strawberries instead of strawberry ice cream for dessert or a snack.
Medical professionals define diet as food and drink in general. It’s not a question of being good or bad or a food being good or bad for us. There are only inappropriate amounts and inappropriate frequencies. For example, one piece of chocolate cake every week or so is not usually a problem. Three or more pieces of chocolate cake every day is going to be trouble for anyone working on better physical condition.
If all this seems like too much to deal with at first, just start with the food diary. Then, make one change, based on what you learn about your eating habits. The positive results you gain from that one change should motivate you to even more improvements.