What is healthy eating?
If you have ever asked anyone the question what does ‘healthy eating’ mean to you? You probably would get a different answer from each person you asked.
The definition of healthy eating or good nutrition varies from person to person – some may say eating less sugar and desserts, some may say eating less fatty and oily food and some may say reducing carbohydrates and increasing proteins constitute a healthy diet. Some of these may be correct, partially correct or entirely incorrect even!
How do you decide what a healthy diet really is? If your idea of a healthy eating plan meets all of the following criteria you’re probably on the right track:
1. Your energy see-saw is balanced. This means that you are controlling the balance between the energy consumed and energy expended. A positive or negative balance here will determine if you gain or lose weight.
2. Your foods are packed with nutrients. This is important- for example the nutrients found in 100 calories worth of spinach and the same 100 calories worth of a muffin are going to be quite different. It’s important that you have foods that are filled with nutrients rather than ’empty calories’.
3. Your health markers (blood work etc) show that you are in good health. Your body composition i.e. your weight and body fat levels are optimum and your body is able to perform to the best of its ability. Most fad diets typically compromise on one or more of these factors. Many diets will help you lose the pounds for e.g but leave you feeling low energy and cranky. Or they may improve your performance (using performance enhancing drugs) but leave in worse overall health!
4. Your eating plan is honest and goal based. Many times I hear people saying “I eat healthy but…somehow the weight doesn’t come off..” or “I’m in great shape..just that my blood sugar and cholesterol need to be under control”. If your eating plan is truly healthy you need to be able to show the results on all fronts not just one.
5. Your plan is sustainable for you in the long run and is eco-friendly. Many people start of great for a month or two start showing results even…and then things fizzle out. This typically happens because the plan is not sustainable in some way. I’ve heard of cabbage juice diets, fruits only diet, ice cream diets…these cannot (and should not!!) be followed over a long period of time. Your eating plan has to be part of a bigger lifestyle change in order for you to follow it in the long run.
Does your current eating plan tick the above boxes? If not, this could be a reason why sometimes despite our best efforts we are not able to see the desired results.