Updated: Mar 15
In today's world, there are countless diets and supplements promising quick weight loss and a leaner physique. Despite this, many people remain overweight or obese. As a result, the debate over the differences between a diet and a lifestyle change has gained traction. In this article, we'll explore the differences between the two and when to use each one.
Healthy Lifestyle Change vs. Diet: What's the Difference? While diets may temporarily help you lose weight, lifestyle changes are the key to long-term weight maintenance and health. Diets focus solely on food intake, while lifestyle changes concentrate on other factors that make a difference, such as physical activity. A diet is perceived as a temporary approach to changing what, how, and when you eat. The goal of a diet is to achieve a specific outcome, and once you reach that desired goal, you go back to your habits.
In contrast, a lifestyle change adapts healthy habits that promote long-term weight control and health. Lifestyle change focuses more on what individuals can do to develop long-term commitment habits that impact their overall health. A lifestyle change becomes a natural part of your routine, and it has to be something you can implement on your own. Many diets rely on following someone else's plan, but this is a temporary fix since no one is the same, nor do we have the exact needs. Thus, the only person who knows your lifestyle, its limitations, and your preferences is you. Therefore, developing a healthy meal plan on your own is the most realistic approach to a lifestyle change.
It's time to make a lifestyle change! By making sustainable changes to your daily routine, you can improve your overall health and well-being. Here are some examples:
1- Prioritize sleep to give your body the rest it needs for optimal health and well-being. 2- Practice good hygiene habits
3- Avoid harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol to protect your body from negative health effects and show it the care and respect it deserves.
4- A colorful plate of delicious fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can do wonders for your health! Not only will you feel great, but you'll also reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Cooking your own food is not only a fun and creative outlet, but it can also contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Plus, you'll save some money and impress your friends with your mad cooking skills! 5- Pump up your endorphins and keep your body moving with regular exercise. Your heart, lungs, and mood will thank you!
6- Get to know yourself better by understanding your psychology. This will help you identify areas of strength and improvement, set realistic goals, and make meaningful changes in your life.
7- Effective communication and building strong relationships with others are key to happiness and fulfillment. Understanding others and their psychology can help you achieve this. 8- Take time to disconnect from technology and spend time in nature. This can help you feel more grounded and connected to the world around you. Turn off the negative noise and stay away from bad input information and media. This will help reduce stress and anxiety and allow you to maintain a more positive outlook on life, especially on social media. 9- It's time to take a deep breath and let go of all your worries. With mindfulness techniques like meditation and yoga, you can reduce stress, improve focus, and increase self-awareness.
10- Gratitude is attitude! Being grateful and practicing gratitude can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life, reduce stress, and increase happiness. 11- Understand yourself and your emotions, and relate with positive-minded people. Surrounding yourself with good vibes can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. Your social circle can have a big impact on your happiness and well-being. Make sure you surround yourself with positive-minded people who will support and uplift you! 12- Get inspired and motivated by listening to talks from creative and experienced people. You never know what insights and personal growth you might discover! 13- Bye-bye procrastination, hello productivity! Engaging in productive or learning activities regularly can reduce stress and improve productivity. Don't let time slip away! Set aside time each day for self-care activities that make you feel good, such as reading, taking a bubble bath, or practicing a hobby. 14- Art can stimulate your creativity and inspire you to think outside the box. Whether you're creating art or appreciating it, the process of engaging with art can be transformative.
15- Philosophy can help you expand your thinking and develop a more nuanced perspective on life. It can challenge your assumptions, question your beliefs, and help you make sense of the world around you.
16- Helping others not only gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, but it can also strengthen your relationships and contribute to your overall well-being. It's a win-win situation! Research has shown that lifestyle changes such as those listed above can have a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. For example, practicing gratitude has been linked to improved mental health and increased happiness. Building strong relationships and social connections has been linked to reduced risk of depression and improved physical health. Learning new things and stimulating our minds have been linked to increased cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia. By adopting these lifestyle changes, we can improve our overall quality of life and promote long-term health and well-being. Many people assume that making positive changes in their lives is an arduous task that demands a lot of energy, time, and focus. But, what if I told you that these changes are simpler than you imagine? Yes, you read that right! By reading these points mindfully, you'll discover that they're interconnected, and one can effortlessly lead to the other. So, how can you do it? Let me show you!
Prioritizing sleep and good hygiene can improve your mood, energy levels, and productivity, which can positively impact your ability to exercise regularly and engage in productive activities.
Avoiding harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, which can contribute to better sleep quality, exercise performance, and emotional well-being.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can provide your body with the necessary nutrients and energy to exercise, maintain good mental health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Understanding your psychology and building strong relationships with others can help you cope with stress and emotional challenges, which can positively impact your ability to sleep, exercise, and engage in productive activities.
Practicing gratitude and mindfulness can help you maintain a positive outlook on life, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships with others.
Engaging with art, philosophy, and motivational talks can inspire you to think creatively, challenge your assumptions, and develop a more nuanced perspective on life, which can contribute to personal growth and emotional well-being.
Surrounding yourself with positive-minded people who support and uplift you can strengthen your relationships, boost your self-confidence, and improve your overall well-being.
Helping others can give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which can positively impact your emotional well-being and relationships with others.
Importance of Diets: While lifestyle changes are often the most effective way to improve your health in the long term, there are some cases where a diet alone may be appropriate. For example, if you need to lose weight quickly for a medical procedure or have a medical condition that requires a specific diet. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you have underlying medical conditions. They can help you determine the best course of action for your individual needs and help you make sustainable changes for long-term success.
Living a healthy and fulfilling life is not just about diets, supplements, or intense workout routines. It is about embracing a holistic lifestyle that encompasses all aspects of your life. By taking a holistic approach, you'll discover that small changes can lead to significant improvements in your physical, emotional, and mental health. In the next article: The Truth About the 'Best' Diet: Why One Size Doesn't Fit All, we will delve deeper into diets and how to choose the right one for your body. Additionally, we are excited to announce that we will be launching a new series of articles that will focus on self-coaching and how you can improve your life through a holistic approach. The first article in this series will be titled "The Healthy Lifestyle Approach." Stay tuned for more exciting updates and insights into living a fulfilling life! Sources and references:
Differences between diet and lifestyle change:
Harvard Health Publishing. (2017). Diet vs. lifestyle change: Which works better? https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/diet-vs-lifestyle-change-which-works-better-2017012511048
Laska, M. N., Pelletier, J. E., Larson, N. I., Story, M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2012). Interventions for weight gain prevention during the transition to young adulthood: A review of the literature. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(4), 324-333. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.11.015
Examples of lifestyle changes:
Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). 9 lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of dementia. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/9-lifestyle-changes-can-reduce-your-risk-of-dementia
Lam, E. T. C., Lam, C. L. K., Fong, D. Y. T., & Huang, W. W. (2017). Is gratitude an alternative to materialism? It depends on materialism's value. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(6), 1725-1742. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9813-9
National Institute on Aging. (2021). Social engagement & leisure activities. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/social-engagement-leisure-activities
Rosselli, M., Ardila, A., & Rosas, P. (2007). Neuropsychological assessment in illiterates: Visuospatial and memory abilities. Brain and Cognition, 64(2), 238-243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2007.03.003
Scientific evidence supporting lifestyle changes:
Boehm, J. K., Chen, Y., Williams, D. R., Ryff, C. D., & Kubzansky, L. D. (2015). Unequally distributed psychological assets: Are there social disparities in optimism, resilience, and positive emotionality? Research on Aging, 37(9), 849-874. https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027515572599
Diener, E., Sandvik, E., & Pavot, W. (1991). Happiness is the frequency, not the intensity, of positive versus negative affect. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 119-139). Pergamon Press.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Social support. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/social-support/index.shtml
Wilson, R. S., Boyle, P. A., Yang, J., James, B. D., & Bennett, D. A. (2015). Early life instruction in a foreign language and music and incidence of mild cognitive impairment. Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition. Section B, Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 22(4), 446-458. https://doi.org/10.1080/13825585.2014.979944
The American Psychological Association has published a study that highlights the importance of developing healthy habits as a way of achieving long-term weight control and health (APA, 2020).
According to a review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a diet that emphasizes whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (Mozaffarian & Ludwig, 2010).
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to maintain optimal health and well-being (National Sleep Foundation, n.d.).
A review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that regular physical activity can have a positive impact on mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety (Schuch et al., 2016).
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that mindfulness meditation can have a positive impact on heart health by reducing stress (Levine et al., 2017).
A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that practicing gratitude can increase happiness and well-being (Sansone & Sansone, 2010).
A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that strong social connections can have a positive impact on physical and mental health (Uchino, 2006).
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that learning new things and stimulating the mind can reduce the risk of dementia (Verghese et al., 2003).
A study published in the journal BMC Public Health found that helping others can have a positive impact on well-being (Jenkinson et al., 2013).