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Keys to Successful Weight Loss

Make real lifestyle changes to help you reach your goals

by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN  |  3113 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

Have you noticed that "lifestyle change" is the new buzzword phrase? You see it in magazines, on television, and in popular diets. It seems as though the phrase has been hijacked for marketing purposes, because we know this is what truly works for long term weight loss.

However, it is interesting that almost all diets now use the phrase. Is this really a true statement for them to make? For instance, a diet program that provides you with menus that you have to follow strictly often say they are a lifestyle change program when in fact they are a traditional model of a diet that has been used for the last 50 years. They haven't changed anything except adding the phrase "lifestyle change."

Think about it this way: If you follow the diet to a T and then stop for two weeks, are you really making lifestyle changes? Don't get me wrong, the menu plans can turn into lifestyle changes if you learn something from them as far as what kinds of foods to eat, and how to balance your meals that you adopt as part of your normal routine. Where the majority of Americans get stuck is the "on again, off again" dieting mentality. This is often a result of trying to follow something rigidly. Instead, you will find success by taking it one step at a time and developing habits you can live with that support your new goal weight.

The term has gotten so muddy lately that I thought I would write down a few key things to determine if you are indeed creating lifestyle changes. This is important because the small percentage of people who have maintained weight loss have created true lifestyle changes. This is the key to success. So here are some things to look for as you work towards your own weight loss goals.

Lifestyle changes are not temporary. If you are following a precise plan and then stop for a month, then start up again, you are not really making changes to your lifestyle. This doesn't mean you won't have setbacks or that you have to be perfect. Think about another part of your life that is a routine, like brushing your teeth. Let's say you go on vacation, you're in your hotel room ready to go to bed and you see that you forgot your toothbrush. It's too late to go to the store and the hotel didn't supply any. So for this night you put some toothpaste in your mouth the best you can. Now, do you say, "Well…I'll get back to brushing my teeth when I'm done with my vacation." Of course not. It is part of your routine and you don't want the consequences of having dirty teeth. You go buy the toothbrush the next day. This is a great way to look at lifestyle change. It works with you wherever you are. This doesn't mean you have to be perfect and that is one reason following very strict diets is impossible to do for long. It just means you make the best choices from what you've learned about your body and meal planning each and every day (with room for indulgence during vacation times). Learning how to find some balance is key.

About the Author

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian, and a columnist for Work It, Mom! and the founder of Real Living Nutrition Services, an online weight loss program that empowers people to make small changes s

Read more by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN

1 comment so far...

  • That's the problem with most people when they try to lose weight. They try a "diet" and then when they lose, they go back to eating poorly like they used to. Most "diets" aren't designed to be able to be followed permanently. You have to overhaul your eating lifestyle. I remember when I was getting my training certificates we were always told that food is 70% of your results for losing weight.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 15th May 2008