What is the difference between a “diet” and a “healthy lifestyle”?
As we approach the New Year, many people will be trying to shed quarantine pounds and Holiday pounds. With so many tools and weight loss programs out there, what is the best approach? A fad diet or a healthy lifestyle?
Fad diets, like Keto or Atkins, are popular quick fixes. A fad diet is meant to cause rapid weight loss, usually require eliminating foods or food groups, have rigid rules and can restrict calories. All these extreme points lead to quick results. However, often as soon as the diet is stopped and old habits return, so does the weight. In addition, fad diets can cause health problems in the long run.
“Fad diets will not result in long-term weight loss because these diets do not promote healthy and sustainable diet and lifestyle habits.” (Brigham and Women’s hospital)
A healthy lifestyle is the approach of adopting an overall “healthy” way of all aspects of living. This leads to weight loss but even greater many health benefits. Healthy lifestyle programs address eating and food habits and how to improve the choices we make. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy lifestyle diets looks like:
- variety of fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- low-fat dairy products
- skinless poultry and fish
- nuts and legumes
- non-tropical vegetable oils
Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available.
In addition, to dietary changes, a healthy lifestyle also includes how to improve mindset and reduce stress. And of course, we can’t forget exercise. A key to any healthy lifestyle is regular exercise that you enjoy and creating a habit of incorporating it into your life.
A fad diet is a temporary change often with temporary results. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can last a lifetime.