Saying “It’s a Lifestyle Change” Might Hurt More than Help

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So, You Are Ready to Switch to a Healthy Lifestyle

making-a-healthy-lifestyle-changeOr at least a healthier lifestyle. That’s wonderful! But I recommend considering if “lifestyle change” is what you want to call it.

In my time working at Green Mountain and making many positive changes in my life, there is one thing I have discovered. I hate the term and I think it can do more harm than good.

I often find it’s what people say when they are trying to lose weight, but don’t want to call it a diet. They say, “It’s a lifestyle change.”

But, here’s what I’ve discovered – it doesn’t make it feel any easier. In fact, I think it might set us up to fail almost immediately.

Deprivation is Near

The term “lifestyle change” implies to me:

  • That a lifestyle overhaul is in order.
  • That change is coming, whether you like it or not.
  • That what you are doing is not working at all.
  • That you will need to give up things.

And what all these thoughts really lead to is deprivation is near.

Make Manageable Shifts or Add Habits

At Green Mountain, we encourage people to only make 3 changes when they go home. Because it’s manageable. It doesn’t feel scary and set you up to say, “Oh, screw it – I just can’t do it!”

We recommend shifting. Or adding. Because adding is much easier than taking away. And doesn’t it feel so much more doable to say “I’m adding more movement, more vegetables, more enjoyment to my life,” than to say “I’m giving up bread, I have to remove all sugar, and I have to lose 20 pounds or else…”?

So, try this next week. Just make a few shifts to see what works for you. Maybe add a salad to your lunch or an afternoon snack to make you feel more satisfied and carry you through to dinner so you aren’t inclined to grab fast-food. Or maybe go to bed 30 minutes earlier to reduce the temptation to eat at night.

A few behavioral shifts can make a big difference… and are much easier to sustain than having to make the dreaded “lifestyle change.”


Five Ways to Jumpstart Weight Loss >>

What do you think about the term “lifestyle change?” Do you think it will help to remove that way of thinking and just make a few shifts instead?

4 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Barb Derda says:

    What a great way to think…so spot on, I felt relieved just reading it! Looking forward to seeing you next week!

  • It’s kind of like saying that DIET is a naughty four letter word. I like to tell people that your diet is whatever you eat, but if you say you’re going “on a diet” then you only have one place to go….back off.

  • Lisa Christie says:

    Thanks, Barb! And I agree completely, AmberLynn.

  • Joan Davis says:

    I so appreciated your thoughts on this, Lisa! Love the idea of “adding” positive actions to my ‘lifestyle’ instead of the depressing thoughts of “taking away” which sets us up for failure.

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