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Why “It’s Not a Diet; It’s a Lifestyle” Makes Us Feel Like We’re Getting A Life Sentence

We’ve all heard it before: “It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle.” This phrase, initially intended to encourage sustainable changes for health and wellbeing, has been co-opted by the diet industry and warped into something that evokes fear and dread. It has been distorted into a life sentence of constant dieting, calorie counting, restriction, and deprivation. But what if we reclaim this phrase and redefine it as a testament to self-love, self-care, and prioritization of our wellbeing above all else?

In a culture obsessed with quick fixes and an unrealistic ideal of thinness, we’ve associated the concept of a ‘lifestyle’ with never-ending misery. We envision a relentless pursuit of skinniness, characterized by harsh food rules, guilt around eating, and daily battles with our bodies. It’s not surprising that we dread the idea of committing to a ‘lifestyle’ of such stringent measures.

However, this skewed perception of what a healthy ‘lifestyle’ should look like couldn’t be further from what it truly can, and should, be. Imagine a lifestyle where you engage in nourishing practices that you enjoy, not out of obligation but out of genuine love for yourself. Imagine luxuriating in your daily self-care routine, savoring your meals, and moving your body in ways that bring you joy. This is the essence of a lifestyle of Authentic Nourishment™.

A lifestyle of dieting and a lifestyle of Authentic Nourishment™ stand in stark contrast to each other. A lifestyle of dieting is rooted in scarcity and fear. It perpetuates the belief that we are not enough as we are, that our worth is tied to our size, and that we must punish ourselves to achieve an arbitrary aesthetic standard. It encourages behaviors that are often harmful to our physical, mental, and emotional health, and fosters a negative relationship with food and body.

In contrast, a lifestyle of Authentic Nourishment™ is grounded in abundance, compassion, and respect for our bodies. It honors our unique needs, preferences, and values, and sees food as a source of nourishment and pleasure, not a thing to be feared or controlled. It encourages behaviors that enhance our wellbeing and promote a positive, balanced relationship with food and body. It is built on a foundation of understanding our unique food history and experiences with food – how we use it, what it means to us, and how we were taught to understand its importance (or lack thereof) in our developing years.

Authentic Nourishment™ recognizes that health and wellbeing extend beyond our physical appearance, encompassing our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness too. It invites us to listen to our bodies, to tune into their signals, and to care for them in the most compassionate, nurturing ways possible. It celebrates diversity in body sizes and shapes, and promotes body acceptance and self-love.

Redefining the concept of a healthy ‘lifestyle’ is an essential step in dismantling diet culture and fostering a healthier, more positive relationship with food and body. Let’s reclaim the phrase “It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle” and let it symbolize a commitment to truly putting ourselves first.

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