How Happiness is Like Nutrition

Surely we know by now that diets don’t work. The philosophy that works for nutrition also works for Happiness. Fads don’t work. We should treat Happiness like nutrition.

happiness like nutrition
Beautiful image by Jill Wellington at
This is the sixth of nine posts in my How to Be Happy series.

My friend told me she was starting a new diet. Hoping she didn’t see me cringe at that word, I asked her what kind of diet. She said:

“No sugar, no snacks, and no seconds.”

Those are sensible, sustainable habits. That made me feel much better than if she were trying some fad diet.

The D-Word


We know diets don’t work. Research shows that not only do our bodies revert back to their original pre-diet state but that they usually bounce back a little farther. The ultimate result is that we put the weight back on plus a little more.

We still get tempted by the quick fix. Being a little slimmer for a vacation or party in a couple of weeks or a couple of months seems more important than our health for the next 30 years.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.”

– Erika Taylor

Diets do the opposite. If a diet gets us where we want for a Spring beach trip, we gotta work even harder next year.

We take one step forward so that we can take two steps back.

“We should treat Happiness like nutrition.”

– Shayne Seymour

The Trick is T–

There’s no trick.

The solution is to adopt a healthy…


That’s right. Nutrition is a lifestyle. A diet is pretty much just a mask that temporarily hides what you want to hide.

Adopting a Lifestyle, though, is something we can do to get ready for the beach. Then, we can keep living that lifestyle at the beach and after we return from the beach. We can still keep living that lifestyle for the next year and eliminate worry about getting ready for the beach the next spring.

We’re already ready.

“Nutrition is a lifestyle.”

– Shayne Seymour

Another D Word (Diverting)

All those quick fixes we try. Some are good. Most are not.

Retail Therapy

It wears off. The more you do it, the less it works. The more we do it, the less money we have and the more crap we accumulate.

We can deploy the retail therapy weapon occasionally but don’t overdo it.


As much as I love my coffee, whiskey, and beer…as much joy as they bring, they’re just diversions.

These things don’t make us happy for long.

Side note: Having a couple of drinks with friends on a regular basis? That’s a happiness lifestyle. Assuming we know when to say when.

“Time with loved ones is Happiness lifestyle.”

– Shayne Seymour


Social Media, texting, those things generally less accepted…


They won’t contribute to happiness. In fact, social media addiction can be as bad as a drug problem[1].

Life Style

See what I did there? I just split the word lifestyle into Life and Style.

Just an attempt at a clever trick?


But I also want to focus on Life.

Diversions are nice. I employ several diversions every day. Although, I do have rules against whisky in the morning and coffee at night when I’m not on vacation.

What we want, though, is a happy life.

We should adopt nutrition styles that give us a healthy life.

“Adopt a nutrition style that gives you a healthy life.”

– Shayne Seymour

We should adopt habits that give us a happy life.

“Adopt habits that give you a happy life.”

– Shayne Seymour

That means things that aren’t as diverting as diversions. These habits won’t initially return as immediate pleasure as diversions. No immediate gratification. Sometimes they may even be temporarily unpleasant.

But each workout, vegetable, call to Mom, time with a friend, and a glass of water is a deposit into a Happiness Account that will make us Independently Happy!

Stay tuned for the seventh of nine posts in my How to Be Happy series: How Happiness is like a Puppy.


What is your favorite nutrition habit?

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