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Are you on a diet? Then, you can’t eat that, right? When is your cheat day?

These are a few of the most annoying questions that you will be asked when you make some changes in your lifestyle. Such sort of question implies that the ‘diet’ you are following is temporary. It also implies that you are depriving yourself. The word ‘diet’ has a negative connotation implying that you should feel sorry for yourself. However, that is not the case when we see the actual meaning of the word.

diet – the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats (oxforddictionaries.com)

In simple words, whatever you eat during a day is diet. The food you eat can be good, it can be bad or it can also be something in between. Now, there’s a difference between diet and fads. Some people lose weight while following a fad diet but it is not possible to stick to a fad diet for a long time. This implies that once you stop following the diet then you will gain all the weight that you have lost. It is even possible to gain back more weight than what was lost.

How can you spot a fad diet?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Is this diet temporary?

Does it claim weight loss without exercising?

Does it refer to foods as “good’ or “bad”?

Does it promise an unrealistic amount of weight loss in a short span of time?

If you have answered any of the above questions as ‘yes’ then you can probably call that a fad diet. There are a number of advertisements that promote these diets and they will make you believe that the diet is easy to follow and so it the process of weight loss. The inaccurate notion that follows is that you will have to starve yourself and eat bland food in order to lose weight. But this is far from reality. You will need hard work along with a commitment to stay healthy and lose weight.

For many, the diet is the lifestyle. When we are aware that we will not be able to sustain the diet then we do not opt for it. Diet should definitely be something that can be carried out through the life. Weight loss is possible only when we make better changes to our lifestyle.

Understanding the difference between Diet and Lifestyle:

Mental approach:

Diet is temporary whereas lifestyle is permanent. People usually view diets as a short-term goal. Dieting is not comfortable and it might feel like a punishment for many. People may even think of getting back to normal lifestyle after a certain period of time. In contrary when you decide to lose weight with proper changes in your lifestyle then there is no end. A lifestyle change is for life. When you make changes to your lifestyle then you will not think of escaping it. You will be willingly in it for good. The result of lifestyle changes may not be rapid but it is healthier, balanced and enjoyable.

Health concerns:

When you are following any particular diet then you may have to skip on certain food groups- and in most cases these are fats or carbohydrates. This might ultimately lead to nutrients deficiencies. There is no such thing in the case of lifestyle change. It is comprised of a balanced food group. 

Social issues:

When you are on a diet then eating out can be difficult. Diet plan restricts foods and it allows you to eat only at particular times of the entire day. When you make changes in our lifestyle, there is no need to cancel the plan of eating out. You will just have to make healthier choices with small portions.

Weight loss:

Diet guarantees extreme weight loss when followed vigorously. A 6 to 10-pound loss is normal when you are on it. However, the lost weight might be comprised of muscle tissue or just water weight. Whereas the sustainable amount of weight loss is 1- 2 pounds per week which can be achieved by making small lifestyle changes.

Are there healthier ways to manage weight?

Absolutely! Rather than following any fad diet, you can easily follow the healthy ways to manage weight. Try out the following changes to see a change:

Choose less sugary beverages: You must avoid soda and juice as they are filled with empty sugar and calories.

Eat breakfast: When you start the day with a nutritious meal it will prevent you from being too hungry for the rest of the day.

Eat fruit as a snack: Choosing fruit over chips or candy will provide your body with nutrients.

Whole grains: Go for items with whole grains, such as wholegrain pasta, whole grain bread and brown rice. These are more filling than refined grains.

Protein: Chicken, fish and turkey are great sources of protein. Beans and tofu are a great source of protein if you are a vegetarian.

Portion size: Opt for small regular portions than super-sized meals.

In addition to these, you can add calorie-burning activities into your day. Such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, join a sports team or a gym or you may even go for a walk on a daily basis with friends or family.

How to distinguish between a healthy diet and fad diet?

The easiest way to determine if your diet is healthy and right for you is if it includes the following points.

  • The balance of healthy foods from all food groups.
  • Regular physical activity.
  • Consistent meals and snacks.
  • Regular portion sizes.
  • Flexible with your schedule.

Making these healthy changes will help you to lose weight and keep excess weight off. In case you have any questions about your diet then you may consult a registered dietician. A dietician will help you find out your eating plan based on your daily activities. You can also book an appointment of a dietician according to your convenience with our PatientMD web and mobile application.