It may be common sense, but a lifestyle change means out woith the bad food and in with the good. Are any of these foods in the "Good for you" category? Actually corn might be, in small amounts. The problem is that very few Americans and Canadians eat it in small amounts, especially when you include the high fructose corn sweetener found in so many foods today.

One of the questions I’m asked more frequently than almost any other is about finding a weight loss diet plan that will help people lose weight really fast. Of course, what they actually mean is losing fat, but it’s what you mean, not what you say, right?

Even if they asked the right question, do they really want to go on a diet? After all, when examining long term results, the “go on a diet” route has been proven to fail more often than not, and most people want to lose weight and keep it off, not drop 50 pounds and gain back 60 (sound familiar?). That being said, what is the long term weight loss solution if it isn’t going on a diet?

Ask most experts on this subject and they will tell you that if you want long term weight loss success, you need to undergo a lifestyle change, not just jump on the latest weight loss diet trend. While there is no question that some of those flavor of the month diets can work, the reality is that if you can go on something, like a diet, you can also go off of it. That would defeat the whole purpose, hence the lifestyle change route.

Lifestyle change sounds so much more difficult than merely going on a diet, it’s no wonder some people hear that and just give up, thinking “There’s no way I can change my entire life.” Ah, but you can, and it is actually much easier to undergo a lifestyle change than to try and stick to a diet for the next 25 years.

What is a Diet, Anyway, and Why in the Heck Would I Want to go on One?

It does bring up an interesting question, though. What is the difference between a weight loss diet and a lifestyle change, anyway? When you’re trying to cut calories at every turn, constantly weighting your food (there is actually a time and place for doing that, however), changing from regular sugar-laden pop to diet soda, substituting protein bars for regular meals, and cruising the supermarket for “low fat” or other so-called diet fare, that is going on a diet.

The other diet route is heading to Amazon, buying one of the many popular diet books they’re happy to sell you, and trying to more or less do what it tells you for the next couple of years. (If you are going to do that, Click here for the best selling diet plans on Amazon.) Been there, done that, and it never seemed to work out very well in the long term. That is why a lifestyle change works better. It is a permanent change in one or more aspects of your life. In this case, a switch to a eat healthy, physically active lifestyle.

Don’t laugh, but the first time I underwent a lifestyle change was in college, when I permanently switched to light beer. I must have been drinking too much then, because in about 6 months I had dropped over 10 lbs.

That’s not really the kind of lifestyle change I’m talking about, though. If you want to lose fat and keep it off forever, you have to look at the behaviors that caused you to gain the weight in the first place and do a bit of behavior modification. Again, it sounds more difficult than it really is, especially considering it doesn’t take too much to make a meaningful difference in your body fat levels.

The first thing to do is pretty much the same as with any other endeavor you want to succeed at. You evaluate the situation. Look at what you eat now, and when you eat it. Check your physical activity level. Is there any?? It is obvious that if you want to make a change, you have to, well, make a change. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is not a great strategy, so it’s time to find a new one that will get you to your goal. More importantly, it is time to find one that will get you there and you will actually want, and be able to stay with.

After you’ve taken stock of your situation, it is time to formulate a plan for fat loss success. Like starting a business, your chances of success go way up if you have a plan. It doesn’t have to be a set in stone plan that you never deviate from, and in fact, as you go on, and discover more about how your body really works, you’ll probably be making many changes to your initial plan.

The one thing too many people forget is that if the plan doesn’t work for them, they may as well just throw it in the trash before they ever get started, because they’ll never stay with it. That’s one of the problems with the “one size fits all” diet plans you get out of some of the popular books. Everybody is different. People have different likes and dislikes, their metabolisms are different, no two people have exactly the same body type, and people have different personalities and mindsets.

That all adds up to the importance of crafting a different lifestyle plan for each individual, because that is what everyone is, an individual. If you want to lose weight faster, and you should, because recent  research has proven that faster initial weight loss is more often permanent weight loss, your plan should include what you eat, when you eat it, and how you are getting your physical activity.

Not that I didn’t say “exercise”, but physical activity. The hard truth is that no matter how effective it is, and the right kind is very effective, there are some people that just aren’t going to exercise in the classical sense. They may say they want to, but it just isn’t in their makeup. That’s why it is a huge help to find other ways to increase your activity levels as you go about your daily life.

There is no skirting the fact that increased activity levels go a long way to burning extra calories while you are doing it, and increasing your metabolism so you burn extra calories all day long. Burning extra calories all day long is one of the “secrets” to effective weight loss. It all means that finding something that passes for increased physical activity will multiply the effects of any dietary changes you make, and is part of the whole lifestyle change aspect of weight loss.

Clean your refrigerator of all that pre-packaged garbage that has heretofore passed for food, possibly over howls of protest from the rest of your family, and refill it with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lifestyle change diet tip –
Here is a great tip: Change your bread for some of the bread made without flour. Such bread has lower glycemic index than traditional breads, even whole grain varieties. Remember that keeping the glycemic index of your carbs low is critical to keeping your blood sugar levels consistent, so pointing your food choices in that area will help tremendously.

It begins at the market. Once you shop only for healthier foods, and keep such fare in your house, it will be much easier to eat only healthy foods. It takes a much shorter commitment to buy only healthy foods for that ½ hour you are in the supermarket than it does to avoid them if they are in your house. For more on easy ways to eat better, see my post Easy Healthy Eating Guide.

In short, a change to the healthy lifestyle will help you lose weight fast, but even more importantly, will help you keep it off forever.