As I was passing through the checkout lane on a recent trip to the supermarket, I noticed that on the covers of most of the magazines there was an article about how this or that celebrity miraculously lost a ton of weight. The most recent example of this was in regards to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Every article I saw speculated on what crash diet Kate went on to get ready for the big day.
In the age we live in, we have grown accustomed to relying on quick fixes to get us ready for an event. Whether it's to fit into a wedding dress or get ready fro a high school reunion, we usually favor the quick fix crash diet over a common sense eating plan.
The reality is that if we just stick to a healthy eating plan, we can completely eliminate the need for crash dieting. Once you make a lifestyle habit of eating healthy, you will no longer have those moments of terror when an invitation comes in the mail or you see an old boyfriend on the street.
Let's get into this by first establishing what the difference is between a diet and a healthy eating plan. If you know the difference between the two, you will be able to start a healthy eating program that will eliminate any need for a quick fix.
The word diet really just means everything that you eat and drink. Overtime, this word has morphed from a simple term to a multi-billion dollar industry aimed at quick fixes which prey on our insecurities.
The goal of any diet is to restrict our intake of food and beverages in an effort to lose weight. Some diets restrict carbohydrates, while other diets restrict calories. Regardless of what a diet restricts, they all share a common theme: obsessing too much over what we put in our mouths and not enough of what we do with our bodies. Does that make sense?
By focusing solely on restricting calories or carbohydrates, the plan is to either eliminate something from your eating routine, or cut back on how much food you eat.
Healthy Eating Plans
As opposed to a diet, a healthy eating plan is a complete program which improves health through the quality of foods you eat. Rather than focusing on restricting or totally eliminating foods, a healthy eating plan educates you in regards to how food impacts your body so that you can make informed choices when it comes to eating.
Now, it is true that you may have to restrict or totally eliminate certain foods when trying to create a healthy eating plan. However, the reason for this will be because they have little or no nutritional value. The focus will always be on eating well, not necessarily eating less.
Can You Spot the Differences?
There are five ways in which you can distinguish a fad diet from a healthy eating plan. If you are thinking about creating a healthy eating plan, or getting ready to start a new diet, take a look at these criteria and see how your plan stacks up.
1. Long Term Results
A healthy eating program is going to teach you how to lose weight slowly in an effort to keep the weight off permanently. A fad diet will focus on the quickest way to lose weight possible. This is not good for your overall health and you usually gain the weight back.
2. Holistic Weight Loss
A holistic approach to weight loss simply means that you must implement lifestyle changes to guarantee success. This means that your program will promote anything from exercise to meditation in an effort to help you lose weight. Any healthy eating plan will be holistic. A fad diet, on the other hand, will just focus on what your are eating and drinking.
3. The Means Are More Important Than the End
A healthy eating plan will focus on how to get your goal weight, not just the weight itself. This will encourage you to educate yourself about food so that you can make good choices. Diets, however, are extremely regimented; telling you exactly what you can and can not have. Do not you want to make your own choices?
4. Balanced Meals
Any healthy eating program will encourage you to eat a balanced diet. This means that fruits and vegetables are allowed regardless if they contain carbohydrates. One of the easiest ways to spot a fad diet is its insistence that you only eat one type of food or eliminate certain foods. Some recent examples of this are The Cabbage Soup Diet or The Grapefruit Diet.
5. Do not Fall For the Gimmicks
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for obesity. Believe me, I wish there was. Healthy eating plans recognize this and that is why there are no gimmicks with them. This is a long-term effort. A fad diet relies heavily on stupid gimmicks to convince you that you can wake up tomorrow looking like a supermodel.