The Difference Between a Diet and a Lifestyle
I hear people say about their changed eating habits, “It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle choice,” and I wonder what the heck that even means. I heard one woman say once, “Oh, I don’t miss bread because my way of eating is a lifestyle choice, not a diet.”
I nodded in solidarity, and was like “Oh yeah, I totally know what you mean,” but on the inside I was thinking, “Sh**! She doesn’t miss bread?! What am I doing wrong?? Why is everything harder for me???”
There must be a secret mindset I’m missing out on, because I’m here to tell you that a lifestyle choice feels exactly like a diet for the first…well, it’s been two years for me now, so I’ll let you know when that feeling changes.
Not one to let it go, I sat down to brainstorm what exactly the difference is between a diet and a lifestyle. I thought of how a person on a diet might approach a certain topic, vs. someone “on” a lifestyle. I thought of the different situations that would cause someone to call it one or the other.
For your education and enjoyment, I created a handy chart to highlight what these imaginary people are saying:
A lifestyle change has more of a permanence. I guess you could always “un-change” your lifestyle once you’ve changed it, but people who say they’ve made a lifestyle change are usually making a commitment to eat that way for life (hence, the name).
I view people on a diet as having more of a casual choice in the matter; whereas, people who overhaul their entire lifestyle usually have had some sort of wake-up call that has foreshadowed dire consequences (i.e. slow and painful death) if they don’t make a change.
All this brainstorming, and I still don’t know what to call mine. But in the end, it doesn’t matter what the heck you call it–as long as it’s working for your health and overall goals, you’re doing it right.
And whether diet or lifestyle choice, I concluded that the woman who didn’t miss bread had undergone bread aversion hypnosis, because I couldn’t fathom a scenario where a person would not miss bread.
…unless she’s never eaten it before, in which case, that lifestyle is called “remote island living.”