So, unless you have been hiding in the corner of a cave in some far away unknown country away from civilization, you have probably noticed an enormous amount of people making bold weight loss resolutions at the beginning of every year.
You better believe I am raising both of my hands right now because I am GUILTY.
You are probably wondering why I am discussing New Year’s resolutions during the middle of July. Just keep reading and I will make my point soon, I promise.
I will venture to say most people who made a resolution in January don’t even remember what those resolutions are now. It’s sad, but I know it is true. I would do it every year. The question is “Why?”. I’m glad you asked. That’s why I’m writing this article.
I believe most people are totally confused when it comes to weight loss. It’s not their fault. There is so much conflicting information circulating right now that it is hard to decipher what to believe.
That makes me wonder—how many times in our lives have we tried to use a quick fix to get us in shape instead of considering a healthier lifestyle?
During my personal weight loss journey, the two components I focus on the most are my eating habits and my activity. For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on eating habits. Did you know that you can eliminate the need for crash dieting by simply sticking to a healthy eating plan?
It’s true. Once you start on the road to eating wisely and well, you will no longer have those, “Uh oh!” moments when you get that invitation to your high school reunion or run into someone you hooked up with 10 years ago.
Let’s kick this off by talking about the difference between dieting and healthy eating plans. Then we’ll talk a little more about how you can spot a fad diet. By educating yourself on the major difference between the two, you can start a healthy eating program that eliminates the need for a quick fix.
Come on, I need someone to yell “Facts!”
I know this to be true because I have used this methodology during my own journey. I have currently lost over 65 pounds.
What is Dieting?
OK, so let’s define the term “diet.” This little word is used to encompass everything you eat and drink. However, through the years, the term diet has come to symbolize a billion dollar industry aimed at a quick fix for our innermost insecurities.
Diets are aimed at restricting our food and beverage intake so that we can lose weight. Some diets restrict how many carbs we eat. Others restrict the calories we eat. Diets usually focus on what we put in our mouths, rather than what we do with our bodies if that makes sense.
By focusing on restriction, the plan is that you will lose weight by eliminating something from your normal eating routine, or by cutting back on the amount of food you eat.
What’s a Healthy Eating Plan?
A healthy eating plan is a comprehensive program for improving your health by improving the quality of the foods you eat. Rather than focusing on the restriction or elimination of foods from your life, an eating program educates you about how foods impact your body so that you can make better decisions when it comes to choosing what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Foods may be restricted or eliminated from your routine with an eating plan, but if so, it’s because they have limited or no nutritional value. The focus is always on eating well so that you can live well.
Dieting vs Healthy Meal Plans
There are five key ways you can distinguish a healthy eating plan from fad dieting. Before you begin any eating program, I would suggest you do a little research to see how your plan stacks up against these criteria:
Long Term Results
An eating program is focused on losing weight slowly over a period of time so that you keep the weight off for good. Fad diets focus on shedding pounds quickly for fast, but often short-term, results.
A Well-Rounded Approach To Weight Loss
An eating program utilizes a well-rounded approach to weight loss—meaning you have to implement healthy lifestyle changes to aid your success. This means the eating program can embrace anything from exercise to meditation to help you lose weight. A fad diet mainly focuses solely on what you eat and drink.
Focus On The Means Rather Than The End
A healthy eating plan will focus on the means to get to your goal weight, not just on the end result. In other words, you are encouraged to educate yourself about food so that you can make healthy eating choices. Diets usually tell you exactly what to eat and drink, rather than allowing you to make your own choices.
Well Balanced Nutrition
A healthy eating program will allow you to eat fruits and vegetables and will encourage you to eat a balanced diet. You can usually recognize a fad diet because it will focus on eating one type of food (such as the Grapefruit Diet), or will eliminate one or more types of food from your life.
Just Say No To The Gimmicks