Changing Our Mentality from Dieting to Healthy Living


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Every year at this time millions of people who embarked on changing their lives eight weeks ago have already thrown in the towel because they didnít see or get the results they expected. Becoming frustrated with the process is a big reason many of us find it easier to give up then to face the challenge of slow and steady progress.

The mind is a very powerful entity. When we make the decision to become healthy and lose weight, many of us expect those changes to happen within a matter of days. But sadly, for many, it may take as long as six weeks for the changes to become visible on the scale and even longer in the mirror. Below are my own top 10 ways of changing the mentality from dieting to healthy living.
  1. Let go of the need to be perfect. Healthy living and perfection do not have to be in the same sentence for you to be successful. There are times when we do indulge, but this is all a part of living. Perfection, and many times the guilt that follows, will keep most of us from our goals.

  2. Write down your goals and put them in a place where you can see them every day. Write down realistic short term, mid-term and long term goals. While it would be nice to lose 20 pounds in four months, we donít always have control as to how quickly our bodies will let go of the fat, so consider a goal you can control. For me, running mileage or eating 5 fruits and veggies is well within my control.

  3. Use this time as laying the foundation for the rest of your life. When we are forced to work at a goal longer than we expected, the new ways of living become habits.

  4. Consistency is what can make or break your resolve. It isnít what we do or donít do every now and then that keeps us from our goals, but what we consistently do or donít do that will eventually get us to our goals. Once again this is not about perfection but progression toward our goals.

  5. Be honest with yourself. The two bites of brownie or cookie every day or the 15 minutes less you spent on the elliptical will have an effect on your weight loss goals. Small actions, good or bad, do add up over time.

  6. Educate yourself. When we educate ourselves that there isnít just one single way to lose weight and get fit, then we can better understand the pitfalls that will arise for many of us.

  7. Help others. By helping others I do believe we learn help ourselves. When we empathize with others, we can all gain a better understanding as to who we are and what we can offer.

  8. Allow yourself to be frustrated. But donít allow the frustrations to knock you off the wagon. Vent your feelings on the message boards and trust me you will find many different opinions on how to deal with them.

  9. Accept plateaus. Why you might ask? Because I realized I have caused my body to adapt to a new way of living. This is telling me I am more fit and healthier today then I was when I started this journey. Now I just need to find a few ways to shake things up again.

  10. Be kind to yourself. I am so saddened when I read posts where people literally state that they hate themselves for being overweight. We all have something to offer the world and we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of our size. Treat yourself as you would want others to treat you.

Changing my mentality from one of Ďdietingí, which is often perceived as deprivation, to that of healthy living, has kept me on this journey through all the trials and tribulations I have had to face over the past 4 years. Dieting, to me, means a temporary situation until I can get to a certain number on the scale only to go back to how things used to be. It is what kept me from embracing all that this great journey could offer. But no moreóI am living a healthy lifestyle!

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  • 179
    Great article! Just the sort if ideas I have recently begun to make my own.

    How refreshing to NOT be "on a diet".

    I love the thought that this is how I will live for the rest of my life.

    AND, I allow myself lots of little indulgences along the way. I NEVER feel deprived, and I am seeing the slow, easy progress WITHOUT STRESS is getting myself into alignment with my OPTIMAL self.

    LOVE IT! - 5/15/2013   11:01:55 PM
    The same advice my Gramma gave us over 40 years ago, still is true "A little bit of everything won't hurt you" - 1/3/2011   2:05:56 PM
  • 177
    Thank you for helping me remember that the number on the scale is not what is really important and that eating healthy should be my real goal. Of course, I don't mind losing some weight along the way. - 9/18/2010   9:21:15 PM
  • 176
    thanks for sharing this blog ,you are so right alot of times we think diet & depevation at the same time,but with healthy living we think being around alot longer at the same time i like the latter of the two.About 4-6 months ago i weighed in @ 235lbs & just a litle tweaking on my food selections & a little excercise & i now weigh 214lbs & i am slowly deflating the spare tire around my waist, but i am adopting the idea that slow & steady will get u where u wanna be, cause if u rush u are bound to trip up alot more & are quicker to give up.
    - 9/10/2010   5:02:27 AM
  • 175
    Loved this article! Seems like every time I blog about something, an article along the same lines shows up.
    It's taken me close to 10 months to lose 12 lbs. That's not counting the 55 lbs. before Spark. I am really proud of that 55 lb. weight loss.

    In some ways, I am even prouder of these past 10 months of sheer consistency in exercise and eating. No glamourous size drops, 4 pounds a week gone, or 3 inches disappearing... just total consistency. Frankly, I couldn't be prouder! Now, that's life style change!! - 9/9/2010   1:05:26 AM
  • 174
    amazing article. thank you!!! - 9/8/2010   9:27:55 AM
    I appreciate your blog here; it's motivating. Before when I've tried to lose weight, I was very resentful--I felt like it wasn't fair (I became overweight in adulthood)--and I was angry and even rebellious that I would have to follow some depriving, strict, impossible plan to get where I wanted to be. It pissed me off. So of course, I didn't stick with it. This time around, I feel a real attitude shift. I'm not angry that I have to "start dieting." I don't feel the need to be rebellious and "break the rules." I've been released from that (it does creep in on occasion, but I can deal with it), and it's been a real relief. I've still got 30 pounds to go, so I'll keep your blog handy! - 9/7/2010   6:46:09 PM
  • 172
    Great article! I'm going to try and read - and take notice of - those 10 points again and again! - 5/10/2010   1:49:31 AM
  • ND774748
    Great blog! Thanks for sharing. - 5/8/2010   8:38:22 AM
  • 170
    Wonderful advice. You hit it right on the head. I especially like this paragraph, "Changing my mentality from one of Ďdietingí, which is often perceived as deprivation, to that of healthy living, has kept me on this journey through all the trials and tribulations I have had to face over the past 4 years. Dieting, to me, means a temporary situation until I can get to a certain number on the scale only to go back to how things used to be. It is what kept me from embracing all that this great journey could offer. But no moreóI am living a healthy lifestyle!"
    Thank you. - 3/30/2010   8:47:24 AM
  • 169
    Wonderful...Thanks for that very pertinent reminder of keeping the right mindset while on this journey of getting fit and staying healthy.

    Yvette - 3/18/2010   11:39:04 AM
  • 168
    I have been totally committed to working out and dieting for 2 months now. I have watched my diet and have lost 28 pounds in these 2months. Realizing I am more committed now than ever. Thanks for your article. - 3/13/2010   6:02:11 PM
    Great info - 3/13/2010   3:00:22 PM
  • FLEUR721
    Years ago I actually had trouble GAINING weight. I was told
    "it wouldn't hurt you to gain some weight" "You are too thin" etc. By doctors as well as others. But I never really learned how to eat healthy. I felt guilty turning down food, and was laughed at if I did try to pass. Asked what are you afraid of, think you're too good to eat with us.. and told I needed to partake to be polite, not hurt feelings, and so on. So, I did.
    Now having weighed as much as 240+ pounds -over 100 lbs more than I had been, and also older and wiser- I look back and realise I was probably living pretty healthy then. I walked about 3 miles a day, preferred fruits and vegetables to cake and sweets, was never exceptionally hungry, AND when I look at height/weight or BMI charts was not that underweight.
    Now, if I could just go back! Sure sounds easy, but it's not.
    It is worth the effort tho, and thank-you for affirming healthy choices, and healthy lifestyles! - 3/13/2010   2:36:39 PM
  • 165
    I like Diet starts with DIE. We not only have to change our habits to get to healthy lving, but our mindset to understand what that means and stop putting ourselves down!!! - 3/13/2010   2:08:19 PM
  • CHIEF2011
    Just what the docotor ordered for me-encouragement. - 3/13/2010   1:03:05 PM
  • 163
    Thank you - I needed this today. I have saved it for days when I need to remind myself about the long-term goals I have. - 3/13/2010   9:58:41 AM
  • 162
    i needed to read this blog today, thank you!! i have saved it to my favorites for days i need a push in the right direction! - 3/13/2010   9:41:35 AM
  • 161
    Wow! I love this blog. I have saved it in my favorites.

    Thank you Nancy :) - 3/13/2010   8:38:21 AM
    - thus my favorite mantra ..

    "Don't do anything when you're dieting that you aren't willing to do for the rest of your life!"
    - 2/23/2010   7:38:53 PM
    Healthy living has two of the most powerful words in the English language in it while dieting starts with the most difficult one "die". Enough said. - 1/17/2010   1:35:47 PM
  • 158
    Number 5 is a little scary.......I try to tell myself that those couple bits of chocolate can be worked off with more movement etc, but I guess that is not totally accurate. I think i need to focus a bit more on this list. Thanks! - 1/16/2010   12:28:19 PM
  • 157
    Thanx for sharing this ~ great reinforcement for this time of the year! - 1/15/2010   11:33:14 PM
    I have to practice #10...that one is a tough one, and probably the key to everything. - 1/15/2010   10:56:57 PM
  • 155
    very good story put it in my favorites...thanks - 1/15/2010   9:39:53 PM
  • 154
    Being healthy comes from the inside out. "As a man thinketh so is he" - 1/15/2010   8:24:43 PM
  • 153
    WONDERFUL summary and clean clear concise reasoning for each! LOVED this esp what was said about plateaus and about longer term goals and lifestyle changes. Keep up the wonderful writing.
    - 12/16/2009   9:34:33 AM
    Great post. Thank you for the wisdom you have shared. - 12/12/2009   1:26:24 AM
  • 151
    Wow thank you so much, this only motivates me even more! :) - 9/30/2009   10:39:43 AM
  • SKYMOM101
    This is so true and timely! If I'm "on a diet" then eventually I will be off my diet (which has happened several times when I've regained the weight!!) I also read on someone's blog that she's not saying she "lost" weight because that implies she'll be finding it. I'm stealing that and plan to say I got rid of the weight. I don't ever want to find it again and adopting a healthy lifestyle rather than dieting is the way to do that! Thanks! - 9/29/2009   11:28:40 AM
    An absolutely wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing this. :) - 9/22/2009   3:51:32 AM
  • 148
    What a wonderful blog. As with most my progress as been slow, but I am learning to live a healthier life and even though it may take me a while to get to my own desired results these changes will be life long. Thank you for sharing - 9/12/2009   11:38:22 AM
  • 147
    This is a fantastic article that my sister shared with me. It was exactly what I needed right now. Thanks so much, Kay - 7/22/2009   9:19:00 PM
    You wrote what I've been thinking. thank you. - 6/12/2009   12:02:52 AM
  • 145
    At my last weigh-in I didn't loose any weight, but I didn't gain any either. I've just begun my 4th week and I thought a plateau would happen later. So, I'm seeking ways to "shake things up again" without changing too much of my nutrition and exercise program. - 4/20/2009   3:57:27 PM
    This is the approach I am taking- I want to become healthy. I don't want to focus on weight loss. I believe that it will come when I adopt a healthy lifestyle. I want the right choices to become ingrained in my - 4/2/2009   9:07:13 AM
  • 143
    I tried something new when I embarked on my latest quest to change my lifestyle in a way that would help me lose weight. For the first few days of eating healthier, at first I kept thinking "This is not enough food, I'm hungry all the time!" Then I decided that before I ate what I had planned to eat, I would focus on how so many people would love to have this food because they do not have access to fresh, healthy food that was prepared with love. I decided to approach my food with an attitude of gratitude. How lucky I was to have my six small meals of healthy fresh food. How lucky I am to be able to get as much locally grown organic fruits and vegetables as I can possibly eat and that I care enough about myself to plan and prepare my meals. From then on, I found that I was much more satisfied with what I had to eat. - 3/30/2009   1:59:19 PM
  • 142
    Very well written - thanx for the insight! - 3/27/2009   10:58:21 PM
    Thank you so much for an encouraging, no- nonsence article - 3/7/2009   11:12:30 PM
  • 140
    I need to read this everyday ... at least one of the points would help me everyday. I wouldn't like other people talking to me in the same tone I talk to myself. Thank you! - 3/6/2009   5:17:37 PM
  • 139
    Very informative and thank you. - 3/6/2009   12:57:41 PM
  • 138
    To focus on the things that are in my control helps to pin point where I will place my energy. I feel overwhelmed most of the time. So much weight to lose, hard to see the end of the tunnel. I appreciate the comparisons between diet and life style change and will print this blog. - 3/6/2009   11:11:35 AM
  • 137
    Very good blog, thanks for sharing. And by the way I totally agree. - 3/6/2009   9:16:04 AM
  • 136
    wow. this article came at the perfect time. i've been working out for 2 months...the longest i have ever stayed fully committed to working out and chaning my life. i recently hit a plateu and have been so frustrated with myself.

    thank you for this blog. it brought how much my mentality is part of this process and that i should always be thinking positive and of all my accomplishments.

    thank you! - 3/5/2009   6:48:13 PM
  • 135
    This blog has been saved to my favorites because it gives exactly the right information for each situation we may find ourselves in, and a good way to move passed the problem times and move forward in our efforts at healthy living and eating. Thank you for an excellent article. - 3/5/2009   11:03:11 AM
    Thank you for the inspiration. It helps to know that perfection is not needed. - 3/5/2009   9:19:23 AM
    Like most of the people have said...I needed this today. Thanks
    - 3/5/2009   1:34:55 AM
  • 132
    I have saved this to my favorites and shared it with my weight loss buddies. I will read it over and over for strength during my journey! Thank you so much! - 3/4/2009   10:28:06 PM
  • 131
    It's almost as if you knew how I was starting to feel. I hit the plateau and started to get frustrated...I have already looked at what I am doing and what I need to do to shake things up. Thank you for the great advice! - 3/4/2009   3:48:02 PM
  • 130
    I am changing my way of thinking from "I am on a diet" to " I am eating for life" . Sound familiar it's something Bill Phillips says in a book he wrote about eating for life. A new way of thinking not diet but eating healthy for life. - 3/4/2009   2:15:03 PM

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