How to Make a “Lifestyle Change”

When professionals talk about losing weight they often tell you not to diet, but to make a lifestyle change. But, to be completely honest, I don’t think most people really understand the WWWWWH of lifestyle change verses diet, so I’m here today to give my tips, tricks, and explanation!Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I receive compensation or commission for clicks and sales. I personally test and review all products before sharing them with my readers. 11 Shades of Pink is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, please consult a professional!

Who: YOU!! Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight! A lifestyle choice is about being healthy, losing or gaining weight is just a side effect! Literally every tip I have here can be used no matter where you are on the scale!

What: is the difference between diet and lifestyle change? The idea is that diet is a temporary fix, while a lifestyle choice is something you’ll continue to do for the rest of your time here on earth. That can seem pretty daunting, at least for me! We often focus so much on how much we’re going to work out and what kinds of foods we need to cut out. We think, “I need to cut out sugar to help me lose weight.” but if it’s a lifestyle choice that means I can never have sugar again! And we may still go for it, but fail within a few days. Here’s the good news: that’s definitely NOT what a lifestyle change is! It’s not about having to walk 5 miles a day every day for the rest of your life, or cutting out carbs till you die of lack of potatoes. It’s about making healthier choices and finding balance. Just as it’s unhealthy to eat nothing but donuts, it’s also unhealthy to completely deprive yourself of the things you love. Finding balance in what you eat, how your workout, and your mental relationship with food and your body is what lifestyle changes are really about! I’ll detail more about how to accomplish this in the “how” section

When:  It’s so easy to say “Oh I’ll start next week” or “I ruined my new years resolution, gotta wait until next year” or (what I struggle with the most) “I had a donut  for breakfast so I’ve ruined my day, might as well not bother”. But if you’re making lifestyle changes instead of “dieting” then you can really start anytime. Even if you’re going on vacation next week and want to feel free to eat whatever you want. Even if it’s your birthday and you’ve got a whole cake waiting for you! You can still start NOW without missing out!

Why: Studies have shown that people who achieve balance and a healthy relationship with food and their body tend to lose more weight and stay at their goal weight more effectively. Crash diets often lead to unhealthy and/or unsustainable habits that cause those that follow them to gain all the weight right back.

How: Here’s the section for my tips and tricks. Keep in mind that even if you need to gain weight or maintain weight it’s all about being healthy. Weight loss/gain/maintenance is all about calories in-calories out (find your caloric intake needs using this calculator) You could gain weight by eating 3000 calories worth of donuts every day, you could maintain weight by eating 2000 calories worth of donuts every day, and lose weight eating 1200 calories worth of donuts every day… but you’re either going to be hungry, sick, or both.

  • Step 1. to making a lifestyle change is deciding what your caloric intake should be using that handy dandy calculator up there or using an app/website like MyFitnessPal which will also help you keep track of your caloric intake as well! I used to weigh and measure every single thing I ate, I enjoyed it for a while and lots of people do that and keep it up, but I’ve found that when preparing meals for 2 people it just gets tedious and frustrating, so I just do my very best to estimate, which I find is actually better for my mindset in the long run anyway.
  • Step 2. Address your relationship with food and your body. If you have a bad body image no amount of weight loss, gain, or muscle building is really going to change that. Do you eat for comfort or because you’re bored? Are you working out so you can look like the girl on the cover of this months Cosmo (you don’t have to admit it to anyone else, just be honest with yourself)? While comparing myself to others hasn’t been a huge struggle, I definitely have a very poor relationship with food. I eat to eat because eating is fun. Occasionally I come across fitness gurus who say things like “I don’t eat for pleasure, I eat to nourish my body.” WHAT?!?! That’s also a pretty poor view of food. Yes, food should nourish your body, but if you’re not getting any pleasure out of eating EVER? Not for me. Which brings us to…
  • Step 3.  Adopt a healthy eating plan. Abs are made in the kitchen, or so they say. It’s so much easier to make good choices as far as food than try to work iit all off later. I can workout for an hour and eat whatever I want and not lose any weight, or I can eat well and not work out at all and still lose weight… so make your choice! This doesn’t mean cutting out things you love or adding things you hate (like kale… no cardboard here). There’s tons of awful ads out there for “eat all the foods you love!” That are really just weightloss pills that make you poop it all out (sorry, but facts are facts) and it’s gross and not fun. But there REALLY are ways of eating everything you love and still being healthy.

I follow the 80-20 rule. Basically 80% of what I eat is healthy… fruits, veggies, high protein foods, healthy fats, etc. and 20% of what I eat is just absolutely whatever. Which is a pretty sick deal, to be honest. I can eat all the healthy foods I actually enjoy like mangoes, and avocados, and fresh green beans, and salmon. And instead of the 20% of healthy food that’s really gross (like lettuce… I hate lettuce) I get to eat oreos, and cream sauces, and chicken wings, and DONUTS. I don’t generally add up the calories, I go more by just making mental notes, but if you were that means that even when you’re losing weight at 1200 calories a day you get 240 calories to do whatever you want with! I’ve honestly lost so much more weight and enjoyed it so much more using the 80-20 rule than I ever did just counting calories alone.

  • Step 4. Working out. I have developed exercise induced asthma as I’ve gotten older, so while I actually enjoyed running as a teenager it’s become incredibly difficult as an adult. While running is definitely an excellent way to burn calories, if you hate it DO NOT FEAR! First of all, don’t stick just to cardio if you’re looking to be healthy. Lift weights, use machines, or do body weight exercises (free weights are best, machines are second best, etc). But cardio is definitely part of a good workout regimen.

I have many other health and fitness tips, but this post is already incredibly long! I hope you enjoyed learning a little from this post.

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