Why Just Eating Healthy Will Not Guarantee Weight Loss
By RACHEL L. PIRES
Eating healthy can do amazing things for your mind and body. I believe the right food can make your brain operate more efficiently, enhance your mood, boost your immune system, improve your physical appearance and deliver a great amount of natural energy.
Also, what you choose to eat can influence your blood sugar, raise your insulin level and affect your body in many ways. It can even be argued that food is the most powerful drug we put into our bodies. The significance of the effects that food has on us is undeniable.
However, despite all of these benefits and what may seem like common sense, choosing to eat healthier will not necessarily mean you will lose weight. It may seem logical, but the reality is that just eating healthy is no guarantee.
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In fact, you don't even need to eat healthy to lose weight. Don't get me wrong: I'm not encouraging people to avoid healthy choices when trying to lose weight -- I am one of the biggest proponents of healthy eating. The healthier the choices you make, the better you will feel. The better you feel, the easier it will be to stick to your plan. But when it comes to weight loss, the truth is that calories don't discriminate.
I hate to admit this, but if you consumed the right amount of calories, you could lose weight eating fast food for breakfast and candy for dinner. You could also gain weight eating nothing but organic food: I know someone who packed on 20 pounds after becoming a vegetarian because he started consuming a large bowl of granola every morning.
The bottom line is that you need to be cognizant of the quantity of calories you eat, regardless of whether they're deemed healthy or unhealthy.
Did you know that there are more calories in half a cup of almonds than in a full-size Baby Ruth candy bar? Or that you could basically eat five ice-cream sandwiches for the same number of calories in two cups of granola? At one of my favorite restaurants — Romano's Macaroni Grill — the Parmesan Crusted Sole has significantly more calories than the Fettuccini Alfredo.
If you go to California Pizza Kitchen, the Waldorf Chicken Salad has more calories than the Four Cheese Ravioli! At Bertucci's Italian Restaurant, the Grilled Salmon Fillet has more calories than the Lobster Ravioli entree. How can a fish or salad dish have more calories than pasta with cheese or cream sauce? But in these cases it's absolutely true.
Overall, healthy foods are still usually lower in calories than unhealthy ones. But my point is that you just can't assume that "healthy" equals "low in calories."
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You might be shocked to find that some of the healthy or so-called low-fat diet foods are actually very high in calories.
Plus, eating healthy can have different definitions for different people. For some, it's following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. For others, it's about cutting out GMOs or avoiding foods that contribute to cholesterol and heart disease. How healthy or unhealthy you want to eat is really up to you. My personal philosophy is to eat healthy for your own wellness, but to eat the right amount of calories for your waistline.
You'll notice that the better you eat, the better you will feel physically and mentally, and that makes weight loss easier. Plus, choosing to eat healthy can help you live longer, prevent illness, give you more energy, improve mental performance and focus and significantly improve your physical appearance.
So choose to eat healthy for one of the abundant reasons that eating healthy is good for you, not because you have to for your diet -- because you don't.
Readers -- Have you lost weight in the past only to gain it back? How did you lose the weight: by restricting calories and exercise or by just restricting calories? Have you tried a "healthy" diet and gained weight? How do you count calories? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Rachel L. Pires is a Boston University graduate and the author of Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss. She is a writer, weight-loss adviser and new mother. It is her mission to help people discover how easy weight loss and maintenance can be with the right approach.