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The Myth That Healthy Foods Automatically Causes Weight Loss

Posted Sep 24 2012 5:16am

Although there are some people that blog and lose weight using a set program like NutriSystem or Jenny Craig, it seems that the majority of folks I read lose weight, or have lost weight, using foods they prepare themselves.

I love the fact that I see so many bloggers and friends I know striving to make healthy choices. I see delicious vegetables, tempting salads, fabulous healthy main dishes, and little tastes of desserts now and then.

I also notice that some of you who are eating mainly healthy foods seem to be having trouble getting that scale to move on down.

There is a temptation in weight loss world to automatically apply this equation to weight loss.

Eating healthy = Losing weight

In my opinion, for what it is worth, I believe that equation is a myth.

Simply eating healthy, less processed foods, will not automatically lead to weight loss. Why? Because it is absolutely possible to eat too many calories from healthy foods. And if you are trying to lose a few pounds, or even maintain your weight, too many calories, whether from healthy or unhealthy foods, can frustrate your weight management efforts.

Foods that are unprocessed or lightly processed definitely have a positive effect on your health and are better for your body than foods with a ton of sodium, added sugars, and the chemicals that make up so many processed foods. However, as you read labels and make healthy choices, it’s vital that you not forget one thing.

Portion control. These two words have been one of the keys to me maintaining my weight for all these years. I always pay attention to portion sizes, whether I’m having a fancy salad, a grilled chicken entree, and especially desserts or other calorie dense food. It is very easy for me to overeat any food, but while most of us know that eating huge desserts can frustrate our weight management efforts, it is easy to forget that we need to be aware of portion sizes with all the foods we eat.

Now granted it would take a lot of salad to throw off your calories for the day, but it wouldn’t take a lot of extra whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, nuts, low-fat cheese, oils, Greek yogurt, dried fruits, hummus, or other such calorie dense healthy food.

I’ve been out to dinner with friends who point out that they are going to have one of the “healthier “entrees from the menu. But oftentimes, the healthy entree is still way too large in terms of portions. I am always interested to see what they will do. Most of the time they eat the entire thing because it is healthy. I’ve seen it happen not only in restaurants, but in my own house. We will have someone over for dinner and I’ll make a healthy meal as usual. Even if my friend is trying to lose weight she will load up her plate and eat it all.

It’s almost like a healthy food trap waiting to happen. Healthy food still has calories, and I believe it is important to remember to apply portion control to all the foods we eat to ensure we are not only getting the right balance of calories and nutrients, but also to help meet our weight management goals.

As you walk your journey, you may find your weight loss stalling or see the scale creeping up. If this is your place right now, the first thing I’d look at is your portion sizes. It is so easy to let a few larger servings of healthy or unhealthy foods into our diets, and those 200 or 300 calories a day can make a difference in our weight over time.

Do you think there is the assumption that healthy foods always equal weight loss? Do you have to watch your portion sizes?  Diane

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