The Difference Between a “Diet” and a”Lifestyle Change”


Oh, To Be Like “Them”!

Until coming to David’s Way, and finally laying hold of what a changed lifestyle actually is, I had always marvelled at those magical creatures who never dieted, but were perpetually slim, energetic and healthy. I really believed them to be different somehow, maybe having great genetics to just burn up everything that they ate or not even craving the things that I craved to begin with. I was partially right. Because they had a different lifestyle from me, they did burn what they ate because they didn’t overeat. They didn’t have the same cravings because they were disciplined in their eating, so they simply didn’t eat the foods that caused cravings in the first place. Where most of my happiness was centered around food, theirs was not. Food was sustenance, or fuel for them. These small details made all the difference in the world.

The Loop

From very early in my life, I would diet. My Mother would decide that it was time for me to diet and she would fix special meals, different from what everybody else ate. She would painstakingly calculate my 1000 calories and plan days and weeks of foods that I could barely swallow. I hated baked fish as a child and up until about age 45 or 50, I thought that it was what I would get to eat if I went to Hell. Of course, the diet always involved a lot of baked fish. My breakfast cereal and milk would be meticulously measured and my brown bag school lunch would be tuna in oil on white bread with an apple. While my Mother believed that she was doing what was best for me, what I learned from this life was that a diet was something to do and finish and get over… I mean, who could live like this, right? So, when I got to be an adult, I repeated this weird behaviour of starving myself on foods that I hated and losing a few pounds and then binge eating my way back up the scale. It was an endless loop and I was a miserable person.

The Deception

At age 16, my Mother paid for me to join a weight loss group. It was similar to the diets she would put me on but there was a deadly wrinkle in their plan. They allowed sugar. Yes, sugar, as in dessert. O.M.G. I thought that this plan was Heaven sent! I could eat dessert(s) and still lose weight! I was overjoyed! While I did have to limit other foods in order to indulge my sweet tooth, I didn’t mind. A plate of baked fish and broccoli and carrots was easy to trade for some frozen artificial whipped cream substitute concoction. It was interesting. Although they allowed us to eat sugar, they still had “special” recipes and also sold “special” snack cakes at their meetings. It seemed like they wanted us beholden to them to tell us what was okay to eat. If we had been thinking for ourselves, we would have realized that we weren’t actually making any changes, just manipulating our food. Albert Einstein said  “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s what we were learning to do, continuing with our old ways and expecting permanent change. It couldn’t happen that way. It worked for the company because when we regained the lost weight because of the cravings caused by all that sugar, we paid them money. After being involved in that way of thinking for about 45 years of yoyo dieting, I came to David’s Way and quit eating sugar and finally got control over my appetite and cravings.


There are distinctive differences in diets and lifestyle changes. Diets are temporary, lifestyle changes are forever. Diets create an artificial state of extremely low calorie starvation that also reduces sodium intake merely by lessening the volume of food eaten. Lifestyle changes reduce excess calories and incorporate highly nutritious foods to nurture and fuel us to perform at our best. While those crazy, restrictive fad diets will make the scale go down, it will be temporary. When we learn how to eat for optimum nutrition, we will naturally achieve our best weight. Eating plans that allow us to eat sugar will always keep us addicted to this substance that has been associated with inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the beginning of almost all disease. As we continue down this path, we will fall into decline, veering farther and farther away from our best selves.

The Norm

When we “go on a diet” we are living an unnatural existence. We know that we can’t continue eating cabbage soup exclusively or buying “special” snacks and meals forever. When we make changes in the way that we live our lives every day, eating healthily from our pantries, we learn new coping skills that we can continue and these skills become the norm. We don’t feel deprived because it’s just what we do every day. I don’t eat sugar so I don’t have it in my house. I naturally seek out nutritionally dense sources of carbohydrates like apples, oats and sweet potatoes. I feel good and am never hungry for long. I always have something hardy to eat. I am also at an ideal weight for me. I don’t diet. I live this way.

On Your Own

One of the most important aspects of a successful eating program is for you to be able to do it on your own. Observing good nutrition and avoiding empty calories is an easy plan and costs nothing. When I worked for a major weight loss group, I witnessed people who would buy everything that they could find to buy that was supposed to help them stay on track. Those things were fine but buying trinkets and books and special foods didn’t help the ones who were not willing to just simply be accountable about what they ate. The most successful people are always the ones who keep an accurate record of what they eat. Being accountable to yourself also means exercising because it’s healthy, not to eat more. Always consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program. When we try to stay ahead of the scale with exercise alone, we will always fail in our efforts to control our weight. It takes thought and deliberation about what we eat and tracking every BLT, (Bite, Lick and Taste) to master the scale once and for all.

Make Changes To Expect A Change!

The way to change your habits is to set a goal and take small steps towards that goal every day. Do it repeatedly until it becomes a new habit, only this will be a good habit. It will be part of your daily routine. Look at your nutrition and exercise habits and decide what you need to change and make those changes consistently. Then you will have created a new lifestyle and consequently, a new life. This is the difference in a lifestyle and a diet. Your new life is your lifestyle. Create your life.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Pam says:

    Excellent article Brenda! Thank you!

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Thank you, Pam! 💛

  2. jmarie1974 says:

    Great post, thank you.

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      My pleasure, jmarie1974! It’s always good to hear from you. ☺️

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