top of page

What is Healthy Eating?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Depending on the advice and diet you follow what it means to eat healthy can vastly vary. There are so many variations of healthy eating, dos and don’ts, good and bad, programs, meal plans and more that I could literally devote an entire blog lifetime writing about each one. It can be maddening finding the one diet-food plan right for you and it can be frustrating, demotivating and just plain costly to do this by trial and error.

Is there however a common base of what it means to eat healthy or even common approach to getting healthy through food that despite the path you take the result can be good health? Can we get pass the back and forth debate on what is good for you and what is not so the general dieter can actually makes sense of what is right for them?

The “Diet” Trap

A diet simply means what we eat. The geniuses that do marketing realized a long time ago that they could use diet and turn it into a way to sell products and services. Check out this podcast on the marketing of diets:

While the idea of dieting is centuries old the base idea is still the same. The purpose of dieting is to use food in a way that we can optimize our body’s use of it for energy and not have it stored as fat. It is the achievement of the balance between what you taken in and what you burn as energy in your day. For those of us using a diet to lose weight that can also mean increasing what is burned to include stored fat. Hello, Stairmaster you ugly beast!

How that is accomplished forms what has been marketed to us as a diet and unfortunately has also lost some of the benefits that we can realize from dieting. For some that can mean severely limited calories, cutting out carbs and sugars, limiting certain foods, or host of other means that fall under the label of “diet.”

A lot of us have tried several diets in our life. Most of us know of a diet that has worked for ourselves or others we know. Most of us can say we are trying to start a diet, changing our diet or are currently looking for a diet to try next. It’s sort of like dating to find the perfect partner but instead seeing there are a lot of not so right out there.

Sometimes there are success stories. We see them on television. Someone drank this shake for 6 months and lost over 100 pounds. Another person ate a certain meal plan they purchased and lost significant weight. Marketers have destroyed the basic principles of what is means to diet. We have foods, meal plans and recipes labeled as “diet” that have nothing to do with an actual diet and that is quite disturbing.

Permission to Eat

I think it’s entirely possible and necessary if we are working on our physical health to improve and address what we put into our mouths. We can’t continue to eat potato chips and chocolate and then wonder why our jeans are not fitting or if they fit why we don’t feel well.

For diet improvements to work though does that mean we have to be miserable or feel deprived? In my humble opinion no. If the diet is miserable, we feel constantly hungry or deprived then long term how likely are you to keep up with it? It also though isn’t a cake walk, (pardon the pun) because if that were the case we wouldn’t have the obesity problem we have in today’s world.

I think we need to turn off the noise and marketing around dieting and get back to the basics of diet. We need to control it and that’s something a lot of dieters will admit to not being good at. This is why meal plans and other marketed diets became popular because they took the control but that’s also why these diets fail.