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Diet Vs Lifestyle Changes - Diet During travel ? Naaaa

Updated: Mar 7

I am often asked by my trainees,"How do I manage my diet while traveling?", especially given that I travel a lot. Back from my 12 days Thailand backpacking trip, totally soaking into the vibes, culture and food of the country and my weighing scale showing 1500 gms lesser! So what did I eat, rather enjoy/ diet during travel.

It was an active holiday, averaging 18000 steps each day with beach, swims, walks and dives. The choice of food always freshly cooked street food over processed meals. No KFC or Mcdonalds. South east Asia is a paradise for tropical fruits. Picking fruits each morning as a snack over smoothies or tetra pack juices was refreshing.

Eating local and freshly cooked food with lots of veggies and choice of protein. The third picture is breakfast post a dive. I was famished and hungry after two 50 min dives. Eggs and beans to a small carrot cake!

Haven for tropical fruits

Street food of Thailand - cheap, fresh and tasty. The third picture is mango freshly cut for the signature 'mango sticky rice'.

Over the years, I no longer diet but watch my diet that has now become sustained lifestyle choice.

If you have ever had the goal to lose weight, you have probably tried to diet. However, there is a difference in watching your diet versus going on a diet. And there is a difference in going on a diet versus changing your lifestyle.

The difference between diet and lifestyle

The biggest difference between going on a diet and changing your lifestyle is that a diet will always be short term, no matter how long you stay on it. While you may see the results you want on your diet, chances are that when you go back to "normal living," your weight will come back too. Diets, more times than not, are about restrictions, limitations, and cutting foods from your diet. But when you think long term, cutting out foods permanently doesn't seem like a very realistic option.

A lifestyle change is long term, completely changing your life. Something that suits only you and not the mass. For example, lifestyle change would be figuring out the best way to fuel your body. That might not mean cutting out that food, but maybe not eating it right before bed, and eating less of it. If you're looking for results that will stick, it's important that you work towards a lifestyle change.

Why fad diets don't work

Most diet plans consist of short term changes that can lead to fast weight loss. Often times, this means cutting calories, eliminating food groups, and depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to run at its best. Results may be drastic but side effects such as hair loss, acne or even loss of energy. There are higher chance of falling back into old patterns when you stop following the diet so strictly.

The basics of diet plans can be cutting calories, carbs, and fats. Your body needs the right amount of calories. It needs carbs. It needs fats. There is no one way to change your lifestyle that will work for everyone, but it's important what it is -- a lifestyle change.

How to change your lifestyle

Your first step should be determining your goal -- why are you making this change? If it's for weight loss, think about what your end goal looks like. Don't settle on the "perfect number" because when it comes to getting healthier, it's not always about the number on the scale. Once you have your goal, think about how you live now and what changes you will need to make in order to reach your goal. This could be drinking less soda, eating healthier alternatives, and moderation. Rather than cutting things from your diet, find out how you can make them healthier or stick to the portion recommendations; don't overindulge.

Other helpful tips to change your lifestyle include:

Control what you can. If you eat when you're emotional or stressed, find something new. Instead of turning to food when you're stressed, try going for a walk or picking up yoga. If you eat when you're feeling sluggish, try a short nap or finding an exercise to boost your energy.

Practice mindful eating, not restricted eating. Mindful eating is taking a deeper look into your eating habits. Eat slower so you're body can recognize when it is getting full, and don't let yourself get over-full. Add in new foods like leafy greens or lean proteins.

Stay motivated. A long-term change is just that: long term. You will not see results overnight but if you stick with it -- you will see results that will last.

One of the biggest differences between lifestyle changes and diets is purpose. Diets can help you lose weight, but if you're goal is to be healthier, finding your purpose can help you stay motivated for a lifestyle change.

Take charge at home. If you do the grocery shopping, buy things that will nourish your body, not just satisfy a craving. Spend more time in the produce aisles than the processed food aisles. Cook at home, and enjoy trying new recipes. Incorporate more fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats into your diet. Plan ahead of time: meals, what you will eat at restaurants, snacks for a trip, etc.

The results of a lifestyle change are worth it, but it won't be easy. And starting will always be the hardest part of the journey. If you aren't sure where to start, talk to me about goals and nutritional changes that will work for you.

Examine menus for healthier options when out to eat. Restaurant ordering techniques will guide you to make better choices.

Here is my five step process

1. Load your plate with protein. Pick lean protein - grilled, baked or steamed.

2. Cut the Fat.

3. Choose your carbs wisely. Pick whole grains, locally grown and whole foods over refined carbs.

4. Finish off with lots of veggies. Combination of grilled, tossed and raw vegetables.

Be aware of the sauces, tomato based over cheese sauce. Pesto spread over butter.

As much as this is simple, the killer three are - Say No to appetisers, limit alcohol and always order dessert for the table. This way you get to enjoy but just a spoon.


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