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Dieting versus Lifestyle Changes | What’s the Difference and Why it Matters

There seems to be a lot of confusion over the term dieting and a lifestyle change. I hear the terms often used interchangeably or, more often than not, “dieting” is used to describe a person’s eating habits in general. Is there a difference between dieting and a lifestyle change? Does it even matter? We are going to answer those questions and more!

What is Dieting?

Dieting is managing one’s food consumption with the intent of losing weight. Interestingly enough, Oxford defines dieting as “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.” That is a definition I can agree with as traditionally “dieting” requires eating less or consuming less energy in an effort to increase energy expenditure to lose body fat. Is dieting bad? There are pros and cons with this, as with anything.

Pros of Dieting

Dieting can lead to a reduction in obesity which can lower other health risks, including diabetes, stroke, and more.


Dieting is not inherently bad or negative, but it is typically overused in that restricting food can lead to eating disorders. Diets are often aligned with fads, such as the Ketogenic Diet. While some of these diets are good at managing specific health concerns, they are not necessary or sustainable for an average healthy individual.

Typically a diet is a method utilized for a short-term goal. That’s the biggest issue with diet. Once that goal is hit, most people don’t know where to go next?

What is a Lifestyle Change?

A lifestyle change is a fit for longer-term and more sustainable success. A lifestyle changes modifies the controllables in your life by implementing better and healthier decisions that can be surrounded by eating habits or healthier habits in general, such as drinking more or managing stress.

Lifestyle Change Pros

There are multiple positives to making lifestyle changes, including reaching your goals. Those might be for better nutrition, exercising more, or as I mentioned, managing your stress.

Cons of Lifestyle Changes

Truthfully, you’ll need to dig for a con to this one unless it’s just that it requires effort on your part. Making a lifestyle change requires you to work to develop those changes into habits which lead to long term and everlasting lifestyle changes.

Should I Diet or Make A Lifestyle Change?

I don’t know about you, but I want to be as happy as the beautiful woman in the photo above and to get there, for sure I need to make some lifestyle changes in regards to my stress. It’s not easy guys because you do have to put in the effort to routinely implement those changes.

How to Get Started

The first step to getting started is simple: Write out what change you want to make. It can be to eat more vegetables or walk ten minutes a day to improve cardiovascular endurance. Focusing on that healthy change, set realistic goals, small steps will increase your success rate. I would advise that if you are making a goal specifically to lose weight, add your why. “I want to lose weight to…” be healthier? Be able to run and play with your kids? Add a deeper meaning to your goal. Be sure to enlist support from family and friends too!

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