The term healthy living is thrown around fairly often these days. It’s a label some of us put on our own lifestyle, or maybe one we’re working towards.
Admittedly, as an Athletic Trainer and Wellness writer, I’m all about that healthy living. And, I’ll also admit this is a topic that gets me slightly fired up.
Here’s the thing – healthy living isn’t synonymous with dieting. Furthermore, it certainly doesn’t mean making “perfect, healthy choices” all of the time.
So what’s really the difference between a diet and a lifestyle? One major differentiator is the short-term vs. the long-term game.
“I need to go on a diet” are some of the saddest words, aren’t they? The word diet implies that someone is looking for a fix and probably a quick one. Here’s what I know after working with countless clients looking to change their body or lose weight—diets sometimes work until they don’t. They are a short-term solution.
I think what happens is we beat ourselves up. We get frustrated. We want to see change. We want to see that change quickly.
So it seems like the natural solution right? The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry for good reason! There are thousands of products out there promising you’ll look better than you ever dreamed—and quickly!
So yes, drastically cutting calories, going on a juice cleanse and eliminating carbs are all means to a fast fix. Pounds are shed and maybe body-image is elevated.
But why look and feel better for a finite amount of time and then go back to what you weren’t satisfied with in the first place? Who wants that?
This article from The Washington Post does a good job explaining why diets fail.
The second major differentiator between a diet and a lifestyle change is motivation. What’s your WHY? If it’s purely physical then it makes sense that you’d choose dieting.
I would love for us to think more about how we want to feel. I truly believe we have no idea how good our bodies are designed to feel until we start treating them right.
When someone commits to small changes performed over and over again, they’re essentially saying they are interested in the long-term game. Maybe they want to have the ability to keep up with their kids, live longer or have more energy. You can add looking better to that list too, but I believe it can’t be your only motivation.
Let’s keep it real. I want to look good in my clothes and fit into a certain size. But I’d never be as committed to my workouts or a mostly healthy meal plan if that was my only motivation.
Living a healthy lifestyle is not always eating salads and protein or never missing a workout. It’s a mindset.
It’s knowing you want to make good choices for your body, but you refuse to lose your mind doing so. It’s eating nutritious food, but sometimes saying yes to pizza or a decadent piece of cake (or whatever does it for you) without spiraling into food shame. It’s that overused word that drives me crazy, but is so spot on – it’s balance.