Lifestyle drift is increasingly seen as a barrier to broad action on the social determinants of health. The term is currently used in the population health literature to describe how broad policy initiatives for tackling inequalities in health that start off with social determinants (upstream) approach drift downstream to largely individual lifestyle factors, as well as the general trend of investing a the individual level. Lifestyle drift occurs despite the on-going efforts of public health advocates, such as anti-obesity campaigners, to draw attention to the social factors which shape health behavior and outcomes. In this article, we explore whether the sociology of social problems can help understand lifestyle drift in the context of obesity. Specifically, we apply Jamrozik and Nocella's residualist conversion model to the problem of obesity in order to explore whether such an approach can provide greater insight into the processes that underpin lifestyle drift and inform our attempts to mitigate it.