Living a Healthy Lifestyle is Most Favorable

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When a Health News headline popped up recently on, it caught our attention. Survey results reported last month indicate Australian researchers confirmed what we already believed. People desire help to change their lifestyle instead of programs that label and stigmatize or dieting quick fixes that break their bank.

A report published in the July issue of BMC Health summarized the views of 142 obese Australians related to weight intervention approaches. Here is what was discovered.

Researchers phoned Australian citizens that fit into a set weight category. Respondents were asked their feelings regarding six intervention approaches currently used to assist those dealing with obesity in Australia. The results revealed people liked programs focused on healthy changes that encouraged improving overall lifestyle instead of those solely focused on weight loss. They were not as interested in invasive, higher risk options such as gastric surgery or those that were stigmatizing such as targeted media campaigns. Interviewees were equally uninterested in commercial programs focused strictly on weight loss. There was also a high degree of skepticism related to the dieting industry. The biggest take home from the study was the reinforcement of what I found to be true when I started working as a dietitian years ago. People want personalized plans, support, and programs that empower them for long-term success.

Weight loss is one piece of a much bigger puzzle. Weight gain is a symptom of something, whether it is disease, habits, or behaviors. If people only focus on the symptom and bypass the cause, they increase the likelihood they will repeatedly deal with the issue again and again. As this study reveals and many people can confirm, understanding how to deal with the issues that led to weight gain is the key to success. As Dr. Phil likes to say, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." Today is the day to acknowledge that the puzzle has many pieces of which weight is one. When you start to focus on all the pieces in the puzzle more than you focus on just one piece, the picture becomes much more obvious.

Do you agree with the Australians in this study that a healthy lifestyle approach is more desirable than dieting programs, stigmatizing campaigns or surgery? If you could create an ideal plan to help you succeed, what would it be?

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I TOTALLY agree! It's all about figuring out why you're overweight and why you stay that way. Then it's a matter of a total lifestyle makeover - not "dieting".

Until I figured out that I was using my layer of fat as a protective armour and decided I didn't need that physical "fat armour" to protect myself anymore, I wasn't able to move on. Once I came to terms with that and was able to leave it behind, it was time to set my goal and my "strategy".

I decided I'd like to be between 115 - 120 lbs - that would put me in a healthy weight range for my height & build, and at a healthy BMI. Then I looked at my lifestyle, joined a gym, signed up for Bootcamps with a fantastic training team and went to a well-respected Registered Nutritionist to revamp my eating habits. I made a Vision Board and put it where I would see it every day.

I reached my goal weight range and am maintaining it thanks to sticking to my new, healthy lifestyle. Exercise is now a part of my daily life - and my dog is also reaping the benefits! And, I now have a cache of quick, easy & healthy recipes and enjoy cooking for myself and my kids - so we're all reaping the benefits of a healthy new relationship with nutritious foods. And, as my Nutritionist says: "Remember the 80/20 rule. Make the healthiest food choices at least 80% of the time. Eat the things you miss/crave 20% of the time or less. And, when you DO choose to have that cupcake, french fries or whatever - eat them slowly, mindfully, consciously and really savour each and every bite. If you really savoured & thoroughly enjoyed that milkshake or whatever, then don't feel guilty about it. It's not like you have those types of things every day or even every week anymore. It's all about the 80/20 Rule and enjoying what you eat." I've been living by the 80/20 Rule (for me it's actually been more of the 90/10 Rule) for some time now - with great success.

The less often I indulge myself, the less I crave the foods that made me overweight. Every day I enjoy my fresh, nutritious foods more and more. And a day without some sort of physical activity is like a day without sunshine. It's all about creating a healthy, new lifestyle! Report
I noticed the key line "summarized the views of 142 obese Australians related to weight intervention approaches." That is 142 out of how many? This is extrapulated science. The facts are that the diet industry is a multibillon dollar industry because people tend to want the quick fix. The diet industry keeps pushing their agenda because that is what people want. People don't understand the key factors-exercise, healthy eating, portion size, and getting rid of garbage food is what works. That is why I like SP. For those with medical conditions the term should be nutritional eating plan that will work with any medications they are taking. Diet is a 4 letter word that should be removed from the medical community, the dictionary and all languages of the world.This study is just not valid.
While I totally agree with the conclusions, I'm not convinced that this "study" is really that valid. Phone interviews prove only what people know, not what they do. I'm sure most of the people interviewed knew exactly what the best way to lose weight is...we all know it's a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy food choices, smaller portions and regular activity. Yet our actions usually prove otherwise. A healthy lifestyle is easier said than done without the right support! I would be the first person to fit into that category! Report
Healthy living beats dieting hands down. Great information on Sparkpeople. Report
Changing a life time of bad food choices takes forever...but the results are priceless...There are sooo many excellent resources on the internet that help make permanent life-style food-choice changes. SparkPeople is the best!!! Thank you for making this available for us!!! Report
Any reputable doctor will tell you that this is the best approach! I changed my lifestyle to include daily exercise & super nutritious eating - I felt great! So, this past year when I was diagnosed with cancer & lost 35 pounds in an "unhealthy" manner I was devastated! My doctor explained to me that although such rapid weight loss was not good, having adopted & maintained a healthy lifestyle for over a year actually helped me through agressive chemo & Radiation! I am now cancer free, but it will take up to a year to regain my taste buds & eat normally again! Report
If you could create an ideal plan to help you succeed, what would it be?

At age 61+, I cope as best I can with fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, mood disorders. I am on meds which help enormously, but which come with difficult side effects, especially weight gain. I am sick and tired of people 'questioning' me and offering 'advice'. I need support and tools: the spark points system helps me enormously. I don't need a trainer half my age with no health issues to question and nag and cajole. I am doing the best I can! Case in point: I was on Medicine A for 3+ years; I gained 20 pounds almost immediately. I was hungry all the time. I exercised daily and was getting fatter by the minute. This medicine is no longer available; my family doctor switched me to Medicine B. Almost overnight, many of the side-effects stopped. I'm not hungry all the time. I am getting thinner by the second. Where are all the advice givers now? Not cheering me on from the side-lines....alas. Thank you, Spark People, for providing a safe place and soft landing for me. In my two weeks at this site, I have already started to put some healthier lifestyle tools in place. Report
Healthy living was my main focus and when I started focusing on that...the weight came off and has stayed off. Years of dieting had me losing weight (often quickly), but always gaining it back because once at a goal...well, I went OFF the diet. It's great to have smaller clothes, but my health is so much more important to me. It is a lifestyle (meaning forever) and not a diet (something you do and then revert to your old self). Report
Diets don't's that simple. Life style change does! Once I realized the effects of what I was eating or not eating had on my body and how I felt, it was easy to make the changes necessary to feel great pretty much all the time.

I have used food all my life for comfort, to reduce stress, to relieve bordom etc. Why not "use" food to feel great! Eating healthy and exercising is the simple answer. Report
I think the vast majority of people want to lead healthier lifestyles overall and increase their 'health' - not just lose weight. Many have expereinces of gaining weight, losing it, gaining it, losing it... people recognize that 'dieting' doesn't work. Most people just don't know how to get healthier - they don't have the knowledge or the tools. I also think that our value on instant gratification has a huge part in health issues too - many people don't want to put in the work day in and day out to see the results - they want quick fixes which we know is not the answer to leading a healthy lifestyle. Report
I totally agree. I really want to chang my lifestyle. Ofcourse it's not simple. Report
I definitely agree that a lifestyle change is more rewarding and success gaining that a fad diet that on the long run will take us right back to where we were.
I am currently doun that lifestyle change, thanks, among other ti¿hings, to SP. Report
I fully agree- it has to be about lifestyle changes and whole lifestyle changes not just what you eat or don't eat Report
I agree completely. A balanced, individualized program like SP is the best way to address the problem and solutions.

People are beginning to realize that there are also various ways to work out other health issues --instead of the simple and quick method of throwing multiple prescriptions at the symptoms. Or surgery as the first option. Report
I've changed my lifestyle to maintain my weight loss. Report
Yes I agree. Individual lifestyle change. Exactly what we have here with SP!!! Report
YES!!! I'm living proof!! Report
Lifestyle change is the way to go. It allows one to be more healthy overall and also allows for the "splurges" that one is inclined to have knowing that it will not end the lifestyle. Lifestlye changes also help the next generation develop a healthy lifestyle. Report
Yes, I agree with the Australians and my program of choice is SP! Report
I totally agree. I don't just want to lose weight. I want to be and feel healthy. Getting to a healthy weight is only part of that.

It wouldn't help me to get what I want if I crash dieted or whatever but still couldn't do stuff without getting tired and out of breath. Or didn't feel full of energy. Or had some kind of nutritional deficiency.

I also don't want to go through life with an unhealthy relationship with food. I want to be the person who eats well most of the time, exercises well, and can have a piece of chocolate or cake without eating a bucketload of it, or feeling guilty or whatever. I don't see how surgery or 'diets' would help me to learn moderation. Report
I joined spark when I was preparing to retire - the perfect time for my lifestyle change. Now that removed the stress and time constraints of work, I am free to lose those bad habits - planting myself at the desk until the paperwork is finished, shoveling in food to get back to work on time or doing a drive through for something quick (and unhealthy) to eat at my desk, coming home late and flopping in front of the TV while eating something "easy and quick to fix" and falling into bed. Only to start the whole thing over again. I did it to myself, an admitted workaholic.
When I discovered Spark, I was 6 months to retirement and I started the change with enthusiasm. I got up earlier and exercised - packed my lunch and stepped away from the computer to eat it (at a table with friends and conversation), left work at a reasonable time (before I was staring dully at the "to do" list), got home with enough energy to fix something healthy for dinner.....etc.
Now, I exercise, walk in the mountains, cut my own firewood, take care of my home wildlife habitat, clean and fix the home that I neglected for years, and generally enjoy every minute of my new lifestyle...all thanks to the awakening I got from Spark.
The only problem is that when I lunch with friends, I can't participate in the "what's happening to who on the soaps?" conversations. Small price to pay!
Thank you Spark and thank you Sparkers!!
Yep it works !!! Report
100% Agree! I am on my way to a lifestyle change, not a diet... The simple change of eating correctly and exercising will lead to this lifestyle change. The weight will come off slowly, but I will be able to maintain and won't become burned out and change to my old ways. Report
I agree completely! I've observed that the most "successful" people here on Spark are those those that are focused on life, not on losing weight. Report
I totally agree with the findings of this study! I think that eating right and exercising regularly are just one component of a healthy, bountiful lifestyle and I want (and have with SP) a comprehensive, multi-faceted program that focuses on bringing all parts of my lifestyle into balance. I'm no longer just focused on losing weight and the number on the scale. I challenge myself to try new foods and get the proper amount of fruits and vegetables into my diet; I am constantly striving to get more fit and incorporate a regular exercise routine into my daily life; I'm in the process of examining my budget and cutting out unnecessary luxuries to live simpler; I strive for mindfulness in all aspects of my life. SparkPeople has helped me with all of these goals! I think the Australians and we Sparkers are on to something great. Report
I agree. That's the only way it will work. Report
I've been hearing "this isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle change" for years, but I never took that message to heart before. Somehow, since I began SP in June, the message has finally gotten through. I feel like a changed person. I like the change! Report
Yes, they are on to something, it's a lifestyle change. Report
If it isn't about all-around healthy lifestyle & choices, then one gets stuck on the Yo-Yo with up & down weight gain & loss. I want something I can live with for the next 30 or so years...not a temporary fix. Report
This really works, keep on keepin' on! Report
I sure do agree! A holistic approach is crucial to long-term health and weight control. Report
I agree. Just as many states have begun to outlaw smoking in public buildings, I wish they all could work on resizing portions and serving healthier food in restaurants. We have a long way to go, but taking baby steps would much more acceptable to the direction in which we're going now. Report
I agree. It must be a life long change !. Report
We are here, aren't we? Report
lifestyle chage is what it takes to work
that is why the word die is in diet,
it dies or stops after awhile
i want lifelong success Report
Totally agree. For far to long large people have been that they are big because they eat to much and are lazy. Those with eating disorders who are underweight get treated as the problem is more than just food. However large people are never seen as having more of an issue than eating too much. Report
The title says it all too! It's a lifestyle. This choice isn't something that is like a switch that can be turned on and off when we feel like it. Our life choices in everything we do will determine our health and well-being throughout our lives. We can have that sweet but do not live by it! Report
I also agree totally. I would like to find a really good book on nutrition so that I can have a way to learn more about the makeup of various types of foods and how they impact both the adult and youth body. Report
I agree. As for support I believe that's why we are here and that's what makes SP a great tool. Report
yeah its about the journey not a stop on the road. Report
I totally agree with the fact that having the tools of personalized plans and support are the key to empower us for a healthy lifestyle. That is what peoeple really crave. Some go to severe extremes to get it but without long term results which only repeats itself. I am all for changes that create a permanent lifestyle change.
I agree with ACoffin.

Also, I would much prefer help with changing my lifestyle than a quick fix that breaks my bank anyday! I'm cheap! lol Report
Dieting is negative. Living abundantly in a healthy lifestyle is positive. 'Nuff said! Report
I specialize in root cause analysis and have found that it is needed in the real world as well as industry. I always felt that if I could get to the root cause of why I just didn't seem to care about my health and weight anymore - then I could find a way to put some corrective action into play. After a lot of soul searching - I found it! It was a Ah Hah moment. Once realized - I could put it behind me, realize I was worth the change - and moved on. In just 4 months - I feel 10 Years younger! and Pain free! Report
100% agree. Honestly, for years I only focused on weight loss and all I did was gain weight, feel horrible about myself, and develop bingeing habits. Now that I am focused on a healthy lifestyle, the extra weight is dropping off practically effortlessly, I feel fantastic, and I WANT to eat well and be active. And for the first time in years, I can eat just one cookie and be happy, or even say no and not feel like a martyr. Report
I agree with the Australian plan. I am also heartened to see comments that mention eating sweets now and then. August is "birthday month" in my family, as four of us were born in the month, so I figure I'll have to deal with birthday cake. I'll work them into my plan, and am expecting to ask for small pieces, and if not given one that is small enough to fit my needs, I'll leave part behind. Planning and thinking in advance of what to do in special circumstances are ideas that Sparkpeople gave me. Thank you! Report
I would have never believed it a month ago, but all I'm doing now is staying active and eating well. The pounds and inches are departing like magic, but that's not at all what I'm focused on or what I am here for. I am determined to eat and act this way for forever - whatever happens to my body shape, happens! Report
I agree with the Australians in this study that a healthy lifestyle approach is more desirable than dieting programs, stigmatizing campaigns or surgery. I do better when I think of my diet being a healthy way to eat more than just a diet.

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