If you’re under the assumption that healthy eating and dieting are the same, you’re not alone. Many people use the two interchangeably, even though they really aren’t. Healthy eating and dieting are actually two very different things.
Diet culture is specifically associated with the desire of losing weight and is the conscious control or limitation of food. Eating healthy, on the other hand, is the notion of being more mindful about the food you consume. Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean limiting yourself from indulgences, but rather focusing on better and more healthy recipes and ingredients.
Today, so many people are shifting their focus to eating healthier and buying organic food. But all too often, people confuse these more health-conscious guidelines with dieting. This confusion usually stems from trends or marketing stunts that are specifically geared toward getting people to purchase certain products, thus participating in diet culture.
But the benefits and guidelines of eating healthy food go well beyond those of dieting, they venture into actual lifestyle changes that are better for your wellbeing. Let’s dive into how we can better separate these two methods.
Dieting vs. Healthy Eating: What’s in a Name
Dieting is defined by these factors:
- Restricting what you eat by counting calories or eliminating foods with a goal weight in mind. Dieting is for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. It can also help with controlling health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Dieting is geared more towards the short term, and therefore most diets are not sustainable. Diets can have a negative effect on our body by depriving it of some food groups and essential nutrients.
- Dieting often puts your body into a caloric deficit – meaning, you consume way less calories than you expend – and could be dangerous to your health if done incorrectly.
Healthy eating is about finding the right balance for YOUR body, and allowing yourself certain indulgences in moderation. Healthy eating is focused on incorporating better eating habits and quality ingredients. The goal here is to remind yourself of what you can eat instead of what you should avoid, which can increase the tendency that you will continue to eat this way. When you deprive yourself of certain foods while dieting, it creates a negative feedback loop with your new eating cycle and can cause you to resent the diet. Also, eating healthy minimizes the consumption of processed foods, and by doing this, you can positively affect your long term health.
Healthy Eating Still Has Rules, But They’re Not One Size Fits All
Diets involve rigid rules about food groups, meal times, and portions. These rules are the same across the board for anyone following that diet. Meanwhile, healthy eating is more about
mindfully choosing the best foods for you on a given day, even if that sometimes involves some chocolate, or other treats.
It is important to remember when it comes to healthy eating, that there are plenty of delicious recipes that fit perfectly into a healthy eating habit, and can be easily included into your routine and lifestyle.
It’s also important to remember that good nutrition doesn’t have a lengthy blacklist of forbidden products. Instead, healthy eating focuses on portion size rather than restricting certain types of foods, and minimizes consumption of processed foods.
It’s About Quality, Not Quantity
A balanced diet should meet the needs of our bodies, no more, no less. To develop healthy eating habits, we need to understand what our body needs from a nutritional standpoint to maintain optimal health.
So what exactly do you have to add to your meals to achieve optimal health? Start with plants. Add more plant-based foods to your meals whenever possible. Also, eat less processed foods. There are tons of unprocessed foods that are rich in nutrients and naturally lower in fat, salt, and sugar. Then, remember to eat the rainbow! Enjoy plates of colorful fruits and vegetables to get essential nutrients for your body.
Life is too short to deprive yourself from eating delicious meals that take care of your health. Luckily at GoodSAM, we have the perfect, tasty recipes for your new healthy habits.