A Healthy Eating Plan or a Diet?

Too often we want to lose weight NOW. We’re in a hurry and want the weight off, we’re impatient or we realise that we have ran out of time before we need to ‘fit into that dress’.

What do we do? If you are like most people, you start looking around for a crash diet of some sort and then ‘suffer’ for a week or so until we realise that instead of losing body fat, we are starving our bodies of all the goodness it needs to function properly. We get headaches, irritable with our families and work colleagues and then feel good for one event as we ‘managed it’ (lose a few pounds that is). Only to realise that we starved ourselves so much that you now run and eat everything in sight and the vicious circle continues.

Does that sound familiar?

So what can we do to stop it? Actually it’s not as hard as you may at first think. There are differences between a Diet and a Healthy Eating Plan. If you learn the difference between a Diet and a Healthy Eating Plan and then eliminate the fad diets that are out there, then you won’t need to ‘crash diet’ ever again.

A Healthy Eating plan allows you to lose any excess weight you have whilst enjoying your day-to-day eating; far better than hating counting calories or worse still living on 2 or 3 shakes a day. Here we are going to look at what a diet is and what a healthy eating plan is. This should help you to understand the difference between the two and better still steer you away from having to crash diet ever again.


This is the word used not only when you’re slimming (weight loss diet, slimming diet) but doctors or nutritionists could ask you, ‘what is your diet like’? It does not always mean that you’re on a weight-loss program. However, the weight-loss industry have hijacked the word Diet and it is now used in a multi-billion dollar industry aimed at our personal thoughts and anxieties about our weight.

These diets that are sold to us with emotive words and pictures from the ‘diet industry’ are based on restricting our food & drink intakes to lose weight. They can be anything, depending on what the latest fad is, from drinking shakes, eating only soup or restricting our carbohydrates; all are fixated on what we eat rather than what we do with our bodies as well. Therefore a ‘diet’ is not a long term solution for good health. When we return to our old eating habits after a period of restriction we usually gain all the weight (and most times more weight) that we have lost, back again to that vicious circle or dieting.

A Healthy Eating Plan

A healthy eating plan is an all-inclusive program improving your health by refining the quality of the foods you eat. The emphasis in on the improvement of your foods rather than the restraint or exclusion of foods. It educates you on the impact that foods have on your body allowing you to make choices through knowledge for your daily meals. If any foods are restricted or indeed removed from a healthy eating plan then that’s because they have no nutritional value (or are adverse) and therefore your body does not need them. The aim is to eat well with a nutritional program.

Crash/Fad Diet vs a Healthy Eating Plan. How do you tell the difference?

Actually there are a few ways that will help you differentiate between the two. It is always worth doing your homework before you start any change in your eating regime.


You may want quick results, but surely you want long term results? Does the program you’re looking at aim for losing your excess weight slowly over a period of time? A healthy eating plan will aim for long term results; this is much healthier, sustainable and manageable.

If you lose weight too quickly, studies have shown that it not only does your health damage, it also does our self-esteem damage as we feel like failures. And more than 90% of fad dieters put the weight (and more) back on.

Complete attitude to weight loss

A healthy eating program uses a rounded approach to weight loss. This ensures that you implement healthy lifestyle changes for success. This means that your eating program should include things like exercise or meditation to help with your weight- loss, whereas a crash diet usually focuses uniquely on what you eat and drink.

Focus on the journey rather that the arrival

If you’re on a healthy eating plan you should enjoy the journey. Enjoy feeling great and having more energy than your body is used to. A by-product should be the weight loss. Whilst you’re being educated about your food and healthy food choices and actually enjoying what you’re eating, then the arrival at your goal weight will not seem as important anymore.

A diet is usually restrictive and dictates what and when to eat and therefore you can’t wait for it to be over!

Nutritional balance

If you’re on a healthy eating program you will notice that you are encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables. You will always be encouraged to eat a balanced diet.

A crash or fad diet however may restrict you to eating one type of food (such as Cabbage Soup or shakes) or it may even be a diet that eliminates one or more types of food from your life.

No Quick Fixes!

To have all the health benefits of long term weight-loss, a healthy eating program recognizes that (sorry to say) there are no quick fixes for obesity and obesity-related illnesses. Therefore with that in mind, there are no gimmicks to these plans. Obviously you want to do the work for the long-term. A fad or crash diet relies deeply on gimmicks to persuade you that you can shed all the pounds you want fast.

I encourage you to look carefully before you part with yet more money on a fad diet.

For guidance on Healthy Eating versus Traditional Dieting, I strongly recommend you read the excellent review on the Am I Obese website; you can click to it in my Bio section below.