Lifestyle Versus Diet

What’s the difference between Lifestyle and Diet?


Ah, the great debate surrounding weight loss, what is the difference between lifestyle versus diet? Which one is the best? This depends on your perspective and why you are interested in losing weight in the first place. For example, if you are losing weight to fulfill a certain  expectation  by society, family, friends or partners,  or  wanting to fit into a specific dress or pair of jeans…. Or  to simply look “thinner” when you attend a wedding, high school/college reunion, or family event. So if you did not know,  people who are losing weight for the reasons mentioned above are dieting or at the very minimum, focused on  short term weight loss . Now you may be asking what is wrong with short term dieting? The problem is this, yes people will follow diets (French, Mediterranean, Grapefruit, etc.) for a short while, and do lose weight. However like clockwork, these people will eventually gain it all back, leaving them frustrated and depressed.  These people are likely to go back to their “bad” eating habits and lack of self care that lead them to their weight gain in the first place. Does this seem familiar? 

Now, a lifestyle is different and more sustainable than a diet.  The reason why it is different is because it allows an individual to lose weight over an extended period of time.  But during this time of significant transition,  he or she will can leverage the opportunity to  learn tips and techniques and change their habits and never have to diet again. And think about it..Isn’t it better to do that than to continue   being obsessed with one’s weight when there are so many fun or even more important things that we could be doing with our lives?

To further illustrate the difference between diet and lifestyle, let me offer an example: Let’s say that you have finally decided to go to one of the places that you have always wanted to go to (this is also known as a bucket list, which everyone has one in one form or another. Let’s not lie to each other!). Now there are two ways to get to this ultimate destination-The first one will take longer, with some stops and starts on the way. Still, at the end of the journey, you will have this fantastic, five-star place you will stay for the rest of the time you want to visit (also known as the rest of your life). The second alternative will allow you to get to the same destination but in a shorter time frame. Still, when you arrive, there is no place for you to stay (because you have not learned the necessary lessons to sustain this weight loss over the rest of your life). In such a scenario, you will likely feel forced to “hurry” your vacation, going to the places you planned but leaving in a shorter length of time (because you have no place to stay)disgruntled and unhappy in the long run (this is known as going back to your old eating habits). So if you think about dieting as making the choice to take the shorter, faster road, you are making the choice for a temporary change. Is that what you really want? Or is that all you think you deserve? For me, if you are taking the time and effort to change, it seems that you would want to make it work for the long term. If you are taking the longer road, in other words, a lifestyle rather than restarting a diet what you are really saying is that I want to invest in myself. 

Do you see the difference? This is ultimately,  the difference between dieting and lifestyle, whether you choose to be temporarily satisfied now or be content for the long term. One takes longer, but in the end, the results equal a happier person. Whereas the second leaves you temporarily delighted for a short while but ultimately unsatisfied.

The truth is, we live only one life, and therefore we should make our decisions on what will make our lives better in the long run, not the short term. It may take longer, but whether it is keto or some other food program or philosophy, it needs to be one that can be sustainable in the long term. Instead, people need to develop lifestyles that allow them to lose weight sustainably by doing fun exercises and eating healthy but decadent food.

- Jessica

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