People who wish to lose weight often go on a strict diet. There are many types, weight watchers being one of them.  And you can and do lose weight.  But is this a healthy way to lose weight? Not really. Weight watchers allows unhealthy foods as long as calories do not exceed a certain amount. It does not focus on healthy or mindful eating. On weight watchers, coke can be consumed. Diet coke is also possible. Both are terrible options: regular coke because of the amount of sugar (usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup) and other unhealthy ingredients; diet coke because of the aspartame and other chemicals.

So weight loss per se can be healthy or unhealthy. If a person adopts a healthy lifestyle, they can lose weight too….. but eat much healthier food in the process.

The same for gluten free diets. Yes, adopting a gluten free diet will prevent the symptoms of celiac or gluten intolerance but is it necessarily healthy? No, because many gluten free products are full of sugar, unhealthy oils and starches with little fiber.

Plant based eating can be healthy….but it can also be done in a wrong way, emphasizing too much pasta or too much bread or too many starchy vegetables. People can eat a lot of commercial soy burgers and things that have little nutritional value. So even plant based can be unhealthy.

Losing weight will happen automatically as we learn to eat in balance and in healthy ways.  Balance is also about portion control. It is about eating when hungry, not when nervous or bored. It is about eating a balance of foods, not one item such as carb heavy bread or rice or potatoes. It is about how to prepare the food to make it healthier (such as not frying, boiling or steaming vegetables, eating more plant based rather than a lot of animal proteins etc.).

People need to realize that health is an entire lifestyle, it is not just a diet, per se. It is not just about calories and losing weight. It is not just about cutting out one or two items. It is about an entire lifestyle adjustment.

What about cheating? I do not like to use the word cheating because when someone is eating in balance, there is room for moderation in everything. If you suddenly want a bit of cake, have some. If you are traveling and want to taste a French baguette in France, or a pizza in Italy, do so. If you are exhausted after work and do not have energy to prepare an elaborate supper, have a sandwich…but on occasion. Everything is in moderation and in limited amounts. If you follow that concept, you will not feel like you are cheating. You will feel that you are eating in balance, not denying yourself treats but also not eating excessively. You will feel healthy, happy, disciplined and balanced within. This is the key to health!