Monday, January 12, 2009

Dieting vs Healthy Eating

A lot of people don't understand the key difference between these two terms. Fortunately, lately even the experts are avoiding the word diet and promoting healthy eating as the solution to long term success in losing weight and keeping it off. How different can they be?

Dieting is usually refers to a short term eating plan.
Healthy eating requires a lifestyle change by making healthy choices from wholesome foods and thus, is something that you can maintain throughout your life.

Dieting is usually associated with restrictions and deprivation. You can't have any desserts and treats. It can make people adopt an all-or-nothing approach, meaning you need to be 100% compliant and if you screw up by eating something not in your plan, you feel as if you have failed and proceed to eat anything in sight.
Healthy eating means having desserts and treats that you love in moderation, say about once or twice per week and enjoy it.

Dieting, for most people, automatically means starving yourself or adopting a very low calorie diet in an attempt to shed off fat. A lot of people do this by skipping meals too.
Healthy eating means adopting good eating habits and eating natural, wholesome foods that promote fat loss and good health.

Dieting can be hazardous to health. Eating a lot less and starving yourself means your body isn't getting all the nutrients it needs and if maintained for a long time, can damage your body's immunity system, organ functions and even cause emotional and mental complications.
Healthy eating will only improve overall health such as your physical, mental and emotional well-being, since you are eating wholesome foods that provide all the necessary nutrients and health benefits.

Dieting can force the body into the starvation response, which will cause the body lower its metabolism and store the foods that you eat, instead of burning it off. You could end up fatter than before you started, after you've come off the diet and return to old eating habits. This is called the yo-yo effect of dieting.
Healthy eating avoids this, since you improve the quality of foods that you eat, instead of just drastically reducing the quantity.

Dieting can give rise to eating disorders such as anorexia, binging or bulimia. Anorexia stems from constantly starving yourself; binging happens when you crave certain foods too much and end up stuffing yourself till you're too full or sick; and bulimia means forcibly purging after eating.
Healthy eating helps you learn to make better choices with food and adopting better eating habits to support both overall health and maintaining a healthy weight. Wholesome foods are naturally much lower in calories, loaded with fiber, water and nutrients, which automatically promotes fat loss.

In the battle of the bulge and trying to look better naked, a lot of people tend to neglect their health. It doesn't make any sense if you want to look better, yet feel weak, tired and unhealthy most of the time, right? Take things slowly and progress gradually, not overnight. There is no need for any drastic diets, which can only jeopardize both your results and health. You need to remember and acknowledge that you didn't put on the weight overnight, so why expect it to come off overnight too? Slow and steady wins the race, both in body composition and health. I believe that if your body feels good on the inside, it will definitely show on the outside!

Whether you look fit or fat, have abs or not, all of it doesn't matter if you don't have your health.


Queer Ranter said...

Totally agree your article on this matter. People are just too impatient for results and opt for crash diets and the likes.

Mark said...

Yeah, a lot of people fall into the dieting trap, even myself in the past.

I writing this based on both personal experience and based on actions by certain people around me to 'keep fit'.