Have you heard of the saying its not a diet, its a lifestyle? This is in reference to maintaining or following certain dietary guidelines in order to achieve a goal of physical fitness and/or health. Given the large quantity of diets and guidelines floating around out there, it may be easy to consider what one follows a lifestyle instead of a diet. I’d like to argue though the two are seemingly interchangeable or/of relation to each other.
The definition of diet states:
“the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”
Typically, when we refer to lifestyle choices and decisions, they are considered to be what a person or group does regularly and on a usual basis. In other words, what a person habitually does. The link between diet and lifestyle could then be derived from the understanding that each contains a habitual state of choice and/or decision making properties.
The argument against diet and lifestyle being interchangeable and/or related to one another is the large number of diets available to chose from, especially diets with limited time frames and value (ex: 30 Day Detox Diet). In this instance, I can argue that if one were to follow to a limited window diet than that individual would also be making a lifestyle choice in much smaller capacity. On the other end of the spectrum are diets such as the Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Atkins diet and so forth. Diets like these do not have limited time frames, essentially gauging them as habitual.
The problem with any diet and/or lifestyle choice is consistency and long term commitment. Without strong commitment and habit formation, it is easy to understand why many consider diet and lifestyle to be completely different terms of describing nutritional eating patterns. Also, many time valued diets are not effective in describing long term, lifestyle habits due to the lack of time asset. In most cases when the diet guideline ends after 90 days, people revert back to former habits more often than not.
In conclusion, regardless of whether a person is adhering to a diet such as Paleo or a 30 day detox diet, the individual is still in some fashion generating lifestyle choices and decisions. This all depends on the level of commitment of course. Therefore, no matter what your goals are and what dietary guidelines you follow, consider them to be lifestyle choices and decisions. I will say though adhering to dietary guidelines long term…habitually, will consistently produce and maintain better results overall.
Tune in to your goals and adapt. Trust the process! Make wise choices!