#ThriveLife Day 9: Are Diets Dead?

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Thrivelife 16 400X250 1 | #Thrivelife Day 9: Are Diets Dead?

Speaking of “being the change” today (your #thrivelife project)…let’s talk a little bit about “being the change” in the wellness world.

Has anyone else noticed that the diet culture seems to be dying lately?

There seem to be less SlimFast, NutriSystem and ShakeWeight ads on billboards, commercials and radio spots, and while the diet industry still does exist, it seems as though Americans ARE wising up to the fact that…


Although the diet industry is still, reportedly, a billion-dollar industry…there IS a new movement at play: The “Health” Craze.

Now, more than ever, Americans are conscious that an unhealthy lifestyle leads to negative consequences (i.e. obesity , diabetes and other chronic illnesses)…In addition, our society is talking more about health than ever before (healthcare, fast food, sugar, exercise, calories, steps, healing disease).

And while this seems like a good thing, unfortunately, the diet industry is also smartening up—shifting face to market to you and me about “healthy diets” and “being healthy” as a way to keep their sales and industry alive.

Last year, Today’s Dietitian, a nutrition trade magazine ranked “Clean Eating” as being the top dieting trend in 2016. And even business publications—like Business Insider—are reporting that Americans are no longer obsessed with just losing weight, but instead focused more on health.

The shift to leading a “healthier lifestyle” is changing the dieting industry as a whole.

In other words: Americans are getting smarter (diets DON’T work), BUT they are replacing “diets” with an obsession with “healthy living” (or dare I say: pseudo-healthy living).

Perhaps you’ve seen or heard some of these evolutions:

  • “Gluten-free” and “high protein” labels on cereals, bars, yogurts and other packaged and processed foods
  • Popular “lifestyle programs”—like the Whole 30—replacing crash diets
  • FitBits and calorie-tracking apps on the wrists and phones of nearly 20-million Americans. 
  • Panera bread’s campaign to “Recharge with healthy eating”
  • Aerie’s “Get Real” campaign, and, of course, Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign
  • Weight Watchers has changed their marketing to be “more holistic” (“The way we think about it is that we used to have a very narrow focus on weight, and now weight is one of things we focus on, but it’s not the only thing,” Gary Foster, Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer, told Time in December. “The consumer sentiment is, ‘I still want to lose weight, but I’m thinking about in a more holistic way.”)
  • Lean Cuisine has rebranded itself to be about “well-being” and not just about “dieting.”
  • Fortune (May 2015) reported 77% of Americans are actively trying to eat healthier—but only 19% say they’re on a diet.

In short: People are shifting more from “just wanting to lose 10 lbs.” overnight or dropping hundreds of dollars on infomercial diet programs, to spending more time and money on taking care of themselves.

While this is way cool…it can still be easy to confuse dieting with a healthy lifestyle (and obsession with a healthy lifestyle).

And even though “sugar free”, gluten-free, soy-free, “all natural”, fresh and “less calorie” options in the grocery store or restaurant menu seem cool…and walking thousands of steps or burning more calories seems healthy…or even getting caught up in all the cool ways to “bio-hack” your body nowadays…you still need to take them with a grain of salt.

The real secret to a healthier lifestyle?

Keeping it simple—and not obsessing or stressing out over it.

  • Eat real food
  • Finding what moves you and move your body throughout the day (no super formal calorie-burning workout necessary)
  • Get quality sleep
  • Surround yourself with community
  • And do things you love

Your nutrition and health project today?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” for YOUR own health today….whatever that means to you.

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