You have probably heard the saying that "diets don't work". Well, it is true. Research shows that people who chronically diet tend to continue gaining weight over the years. Diets can, and often do, result in weight loss. However, the weight loss from these diets is typically short lived as they are too restrictive and cumbersome to stick with for any length of time.
Many of us in the nutrition and fitness industry throw around the term "lifestyle change" as a way to explain that the changes you make in your diet and activity level must "stick" in order to maintain weight loss. That recommendation to make a "lifestyle change" is then followed by rules like "no sugar", "no junk food", "cut back on carbs", "don't eat meat", "exercise daily", or "never eat fast food again". That puts us back at square one with the "diet mentality".
To truly make a "lifestyle change" we have to abandon the ideas of diets, restrictions, and quick-fixes. I strongly encourage you to read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A., C.E.D.R.D. The authors of this book discuss how to eat intuitively by listening and trusting your own hunger and fullness signals. We were born with this ability; however, many of us have moved away from using this simple tool to regulate our food intake. There is also an emphasis on enjoying food and allowing yourself to make room in your life for foods that often seem forbidden on diets.
The principles of intuitive eating are as follows:
"1. Reject the diet mentality.
2. Honor your hunger.
3. Make peace with food.
4. Challenge the food police.
5. Feel your fullness.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor.
7. Cope with your emotions without using food.
8. Respect your body.
9. Exercise-feel the difference.
10. Honor your health with gentle nutrition."
Tribole, E., Resch, E. Intuitive Eating. NY: St. Martin's Griffin, 2012.
If you truly want to change your lifestyle, mend your relationship with food, and reach a healthy weight, Intuitive Eating is the book for you.