Should You Change Diet and Exercise at the Same Time?

When trying to lose weight, most of us try to overhaul our lives in order to see the desired changes. After all, if our current diet or exercise program were working, we wouldn’t be in our current shape, would we? So it stands to reason that changing both at the same time is good and will yield results, right?

For some people, this total overhaul may seem like a lot. They’d prefer to change one element of their life at a time. Perhaps they want to get their diet habits in line before trying to change the way they workout, or even adding a workout program to their daily routine. Others prefer to get accustomed to a new workout routine before changing things up and trying a new diet. But is that the right way to go? Should you be staggering the changes, or should you try to make big changes at the same time?

According to a study out of the University of California Santa Barbara, your mind is powerful enough to make large, sweeping changes without feeling overwhelmed or over-stressed. You ARE able to make drastic changes to multiple areas of your life at the same time!

The researchers found 31 college students who were willing to participate in an “intensive lifestyle change program”. Half of the students made drastic changes to their lives, including participating in 150 minutes of yoga/Pilates, 90 minutes of daily lectures, and 60 minutes per day of practicing mindfulness. This adds up to a total of 5 hours per day spent on these new practices. They also cut back their alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day, followed a healthy whole foods-based diet, and slept between 8 and 10 hours per night. The students continued this change in their daily routine for just 5 days per week (Mon to Fri), and the study lasted for just 6 weeks.

As the 6-week study progressed, the students’ fitness was evaluated, along with their reading comprehension, recall ability, and other cognitive tests. Their blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels were monitored. The results of the study proved the researchers’ hypothesis true: were are capable of making big changes!

By the end of the study, all of the participants who had made these drastic changes to their lifestyle showed serious improvement across the board–from fitness to mental function to emotional health. They performed better on standardized tests, had better self-esteem, were more mindful, had a better working memory, were more satisfied with life, and had better flexibility, strength, and endurance than they did before starting the program.

Best of all, the benefits continued far beyond the end of the 6-week course. All of the participants continued to show improvements in their lives even though the researchers didn’t follow up on their daily life practices. Without contact or support from the researchers, these 15 students were able to continue improving their lives by adhering to the changes they made.

As this study proves, there’s no such thing as “change too big”. Your body and mind are perfectly capable of making drastic changes and sticking with them. It’s all about your dedication to the change! These students had counselors and researchers to guide them through the transition, something you may not have. However, if you are committed to making the changes to your exercise, diet, and lifestyle, you’ll be able to see those changes through. You’ll find that your mind and body are up to the challenge, so don’t wait! Change today…

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