Eating healthy isn’t the way to lose weight

Do you want to lose weight? You’re not going to do it by eating healthy and here is why.

Let’s start to stop calling food healthy right now! You can have “healthy habits” because that’s using the word correctly. in this context the word healthy is used as an adjective adverb. Your healthy habits may include eating nutritious food.

No food is so nutritious that it can supply 100% of our nutritional requirements. There is no food replacement pill. No food is so good for the human body that it can prevent sickness or cure disease.

Nutritious food has calories. Some nutritious foods have a lot of calories. They have even more calories than foods some people swear we must never eat because it will kill us. The truth is people eat these foods and they remain healthy although the wise thing is to include them as part of a nutritious diet rather than eat them as your entire diet.

We need to pay attention to calories and the nutrients we get from the calories we consume. Both are important when it comes to losing weight in a way that promotes good health.

If we were to analyze two foods – one called a “healthy” and therefore weight loss friendly and  the other labeled “junk” and therefore weight loss prohibitive, we’d discover something contradictory. Looks like the junk food is nutritionally better for you than the healthy snack.

Have an organic apple! It's a healthy snack... or is it?

Have an organic apple. It’s a healthy snack… or is it?

Apples are a healthy food, right? Some readers may go off on pesticides used on apples so to stop that debate, well, at least most can agree an organic apple is healthy. A Snickers chocolate candy bar, on the other hand is junk food right?

Let’s let go of our prejudice and look at the facts.


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Which is better for you? The apple or the candy bar? It’s all about the macronutrients. What is a macronutrient?

Definition: Nutrients that the body uses in relatively large amounts – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This is as opposed to micronutrients, which the body requires in smaller amounts, such as vitamins and minerals. Macronutrients provide calories to the body as well as performing other functions.
Pronunciation: ma kro NOO tree ent
One of these foods provides a little of every macronutrient the body needs for good health. One of them is missing two of the macronutrients necessary for good health. No protein which is needed to build and repair tissue and no fat which is needed for normal growth and development.
Apples have fewer calories and that makes them a better choice for a snack than a candy bar. You could have almost 4 small apples for the same amount of calories. Would that satisfy you in the same way a candy bar would? Are you thinking, “but there’s all that sugar in a candybar”? Did you notice the candy bar has 27g of sugar and if you were to eat 4 apples you’d be eating 52g of sugar?
The candy bar has more nutrients, however, so if you eat one there is no need to feel guilty. Guilt won’t help you lose weight, but reducing calories will, so how will you cut back on calories somewhere else to fit a candy bar into your weight loss plan?
If we stop labeling foods as healthy and unhealthy and pay more attention to the total nutritional quality of our food choices and the calories over a period of several days we can do more to achieve better health and healthier weight.
We can also eat in a way that consistently gives us the things we want such as taste, texture, aromas and feeling of fullness – in other words all the elements necessary for satiety. When we do that it becomes easier to monitor calories to ensure we aren’t eating more than we need or if we seek to lose weight, to be sure we’re eating slightly fewer than we need.
I cringe when somebody announces, “I’m eating healthy to lose weight.” I hear, “I’m eating stuff that I don’t like much to lose weight.” I think it’s great to try to improve the nutritional quality of the food you eat as long as you’re not sacrificing taste for better nutrition.
     Here are my rules for weight loss
1. Never eat anything you don’t like because it’s “good for you.” There are other foods with the same good things in them and you actually enjoy them. Mackerel is a greasy, fishy fish and a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts are a delightful treat and full of the same omega 3 fatty acids.
2. Fill up on your favorite vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Explore and experiment with cooking techniques and recipes to find what really tastes good.
3. Include some dairy and healthy oils to complete your essential nutritional needs.
4. Sugary, fatty foods are good in small servings once in a while. Don’t apologize, don’t feel guilty and don’t hide when you eat them. Include them in balance and moderation and be moderate with your moderation. (In other words, sometimes EAT HAPPENS, and it’s not the end of the world, the end of your diet, or the end of your healthy lifestyle.)
5. Portion control is more important to a healthful diet than any single food choice.
6. Keep moving to burn some extra calories and that gives you freedom to eat enough to stay happy.
Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.