Eating Healthy or Dieting?

Is there a difference?  I’ve always thought there was.  To me, eating healthy is a life-long pursuit of healthy decision-making, whereas dieting is trying to cut back on the number of calories you take in per day.

I find eating healthy to be far superior to dieting based on how I’ve defined them.  I’ll use myself as an example.  I have, in the past few months, tried to make a committment to eating healthy.  At first, it did feel like I was ‘dieting’ because I was surely cutting down on the number of calories I took in.  But I didn’t sacrifice fullness to accomplish this.  It is as simple as eating an apple instead of a bag of chips when I need a snack.  Also, I’m not trying to lose 15 pounds and then go back to the way that I used to eat (which is how some people diet).  I’m simply trying to make healthy decisions when it’s meal time.  After learning about nutrition in this class, I’m pleased with what I had done so far, although I learned a few things that have helped me out.  I’ve also been able to teach my family a few things about nutrition:  “Fats don’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat.” & “Low-fat products usually replace the fat with sugar and salt.” 

There are a few things that I don’t like about dieting.  The first I have already touched on.  Most dieters either (a) give up or (b) go back to their bad eating habits once they accomplish their goal.  Another thing I don’t like about dieting is that it seems that people don’t care where their calories are coming from, they just care about how many they take in.  I never really questioned this until I took this class.  For example, white bread is usually around 70 calories per slice.  A dieter could easily have two pieces of toast with a light spread and probably be around 250-300 calories.  A dieter would be happy about this, because that’s a pretty low number of calories.  The problem is that white bread isn’t good for you at all.  In the ‘better’ food pyramid, white bread is at the top of the pyramid along with red meat and sweets.  A healthy eater would not be happy with that meal, because although it is low in calories, white bread lacks some of the nutrients in whole grain bread.  Whole grain bread is also not processed or refined. 

The above example is one of many that show how healthy eating is far superior to dieting.  The simplest way to think about it is that healthy eating lasts a lifetime, while dieting lasts until you can fit into your jeans again.

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2 Responses to Eating Healthy or Dieting?

  1. Fearless Leader ugogal says:

    That white toast will leave you hungry 5 minutes later too! Better off to have oatmeal, which is slower to digest.
    You are exactly right about healthy eating being a commitment to a lifestyle.

  2. Harptown says:

    As a wrestler in high school weight control was a huge part of my life. Cutting weight was never fun and always had to be done “in the right way”. The problem I ran into however was not week to week, but rather season to season. I always tried dieting during the season, and would see results. However, the next season I would be right back where I was the year before and would have to start the process all over again. I made a decision recently that I wish I had made during that period of my life as it would have helped greatly. I made the switch from dieting to lose weight to a healthier life-style that has become just that, a life-style. So long story short, I agree with you that healthy eating on a consistan “life-style” basis is far superior to dieting.

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