Dieting vs. Lifestyle Changes

When I first started my weight loss journey 7 years ago, that’s all it really was to me, trying to lose weight. Trying to lose a certain number by a certain milestone, which I did. But it wasn’t until I started adding other things such as exercise that the weight loss actually stuck.

Dieting Vs. Lifestyle Changes

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a WW, Wellness that Works member, formally Weight Watchers. The new branding means WW doesn’t focus solely on weight loss, in fact you don’t even have to be weighed at the meeting.

Instead of a traditional weigh in you can have a wellness check where you talk to your coach about your recent week. It’s like having a lifestyle coach, they focus more on exercise and your mental wellbeing, while still offering nutrional tips.

I never feel like I’m on a diet. To me, a diet suggests a short-term fix to a problem. I, on the other hand, am making significant lifestyle changes to become healthier, which yes includes weight loss.

Knowing the difference

A lifestyle change includes what you eat, how you manage stress, how much exercise you do and more. Yes, lifestyle changes may involve you restricting some foods, like how much fast food and junk food you eat, but there are not as many restrictions placed on it.

For example, if you do have a takeaway now and then (or even a week of them!), it’s not the end of the world and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Moderation is the key here. One day I may treat myself to a McDonald’s the next I may eat a wholesome chilli.

Making small changes

Here are some of the main changes I’ve made to my lifestyle:-

  • Eating healthy, nutritious and whole foods to nourish my body, such as switching from white to wholewheat and eating more protein.
  • Practicing moderation, not restriction.
  • Exercising on a regular and consistent basis.
  • Relying on my body to tell me what I need and listening to it when I feel satiated.
  • Losing weight at a safe and healthy pace ( 1-2 lbs per week).
  • Measuring progress beyond a number on the scale!
  • Eating a small portion and giving myself some time to feel full before getting more.

How is this different from a diet?

As I mentioned before, a diet is often a short term fix, and usually consists of temporarily changing your eating habits to promote weight loss. This may include cutting out certain food groups (such as carbohydrates) or eating less calories than the recommended amount for men and women.

Your progress is usually dependant on the number on the scale, and it is often difficult to maintain the weight loss once your previous eating habits resume.

If you’ve tried a diet, how did you feel? Did you feel hungry? Tired? Or even discouraged? If yes, this could mean a longer lifestyle change would be more beneficial for you.

No matter what weight loss plan or lifestyle changes you implement, try to focus on the long term and set yourself SMART goals to get you were you want to be. This could range from exercising a certain number of days a week, to taking time to destress.

Have you tried a diet or made any lifestyle changes? Let me know in the comments.

NB: Before undertaking any ‘diet’ or fitness programme, you should always consult your doctor


  • Denise Lindsay

    October 3, 2019 at 09:39

    I never knew that WW had changed their name. They are right in looking at the whole picture rather than just looking at what you eat/how much you weigh. I’ve followed Slimming World in the past (and failing at the moment 😂) but the weeks that I did do more exercise there was a weight loss of 1-2lbs rather than the 0.5lb that watching what I ate did.

    Moderation rather than restriction is really the key as long as you don’t do it every day a bar of chocolate/bag of crisps or a takeaway is totally fine. Cutting things like that completely out of your diet will just make you crave them until you end up bingeing on them. Your other tips were really useful too.

  • Sophie Wentworth

    October 1, 2019 at 21:58

    I didn’t know that they’d morphed into a more wellness orientated brand, I think that’s a good thing but I’m still not the biggest fan of that kind of structured/ group weightloss approach. Lifestyle changes are definitely the way to improve long term though x


  • Jenny

    October 1, 2019 at 13:09

    I understand and appreciate the changes that WW have made to their programmes and I think it’s a much better approach but I still don’t agree with them, Slimming World or any other kinda of diet or programme like that. But that’s just my personal opinion. I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to lose weight though. I definitely do at the moment and the exercise and moving more is something I really need to focus on. Working from home, on my laptop everyday, it’s hard to get those steps in!

  • Bexa

    October 1, 2019 at 11:10

    This is such a healthy and sensible approach, I agree, it’s all about small lifestyle changes and not faddy diets. So true, moderation is definitely key, I know if I restrict something from my diet I will just crave it so much. At the moment, I am trying to stick to a regular exercise routine and eat better, whilst still enjoying the occasional treat here and there. Good luck with your wellness journey, Kim! Thanks for sharing your tips! <3 xx

    Bexa |

  • Lisa

    September 30, 2019 at 11:38

    I didn’t know Weight Watchers had rebranded to Wellness that Works, that’s so much more appealing and sensitive, particularly nowadays. Love these tips, Kim, you’re absolutely right, moderation is key! Lisa x

  • bournemouthgirl

    September 30, 2019 at 09:50

    Such a great post! I am using the slimming world diet x

  • Ellie

    September 29, 2019 at 18:52

    it is so important that we notice the difference between the two. diets often fail, but a change of lifestyle is usually a lot more successful. In November this year it will be two years since I quit refined sugar and got rid of it out of my diet – I went cold turkey to make it a lifestyle choice because diets were just failing me!

  • Britt

    September 29, 2019 at 04:44

    This is such an important distinction! While someone may see a slight benefit from dieting short term, it’s not going to last over time unless you are prepared to make a true lifestyle change.

  • Susanne

    September 28, 2019 at 22:03

    I really like your lifestyle changes, they are very sound. Especially the “moderation, not restriction”. There are so many crazy restrictive diets these days and people tend to do everything at the extreme. I wish you all the best on your wellness journey!

  • Kelly Diane

    September 27, 2019 at 09:53

    Great post Kim. I’ve been watching what I eat a bit more without restricting myself. The next thing I want to add to my routine is some regular exercise

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