Understanding the Difference Between a Diet and Dieting

Dieting is a short-term solution. A diet is a combination of long-term habits. As with any long-term goal, short-term solutions can help us get started, but will not help us achieve long-term goals. For anyone who has a long-term goal of loosing the weight, and keeping it off, it is important to know the difference between dieting and a diet.

Let’s break that down:

Dieting is a short-term solution.

Dieting is a short-term change to your diet and can help you to loose weight to achieve a short-term goal. If you want to loose weight for a special occasion and do not mind if you gain the weight back then dieting is probably right for you.

A diet is a combination of long-term habits.

A diet is a culmination of what we habitually eat and give our body for nutrition. We contribute to it every day without even thinking. People do not go on diets. We have a diet – in order to live we need to receive nutrition and sustenance. “Diet” is not a verb, it is a noun.

As with any long-term goal, short-term solutions can help us get started, but will not help us achieve long-term goals

When I first started loosing weight I went on restrictive dieting. I would track calories, eat low carb and look for high protein food. While this was a short-term change that helped me to jump start my weight loss, after a while I was not happy with being so restrictive. This is a point where I assume many people (like myself) may lose sight of their weight loss goals or feel like weight loss may be too difficult – I assure you, you can do it!

After crashing and eating chicken wings and cheese fries, I regrouped. The heavy restrictions were not working. I decided to stop with the dieting restrictions and to add long-term choices to my diet. Instead of tracking calories I now know an estimate of the calories for food I typically eat, and keep a rough estimate in my mind. I eat low carb but allow myself to have carbs here and there, and I find I naturally get enough protein in my diet. I started with dieting and translated it into adding long-term habits to my diet.

For anyone who has a long-term goal of loosing the weight, and keeping it off, it is important to know the difference between dieting and a diet.

Like I mentioned above, it is difficult to make dieting part of your diet when it is very restrictive. The first step is understanding the difference between diet and dieting and how they are not synonymous. The second step is figuring out what long-term changes you are going to add to your diet in order to accomplish your long-term weight loss. Dieting does not work long-term but it can give us ideas for diet changes.


Author’s Note: 4 years ago I decided I wanted to lose weight. Not only was I the largest I had ever been I felt lethargic and unhappy. I did not feel like myself. I tried dieting and realized that while it was a good starting point, it was not sustainable. Long-term changes needed to be made. I wish I realized this before all of the ups and downs in my weight. Now I have been happily maintaining for the past couple years.

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