I’ve been thinking for a while about the idea of what makes a healthy diet. My idea has changed dramatically over the last few years.
I lost the bulk of my weight through attending meetings at Weight Watchers and Slimming World. Each week the class leader would give a talk on meal ideas and new products that we could eat on the plan. This centred around low fat products (yogurts, crisps, ready meals) and most things were heavily processed. These types of products formed a large part of my diet and I did lose weight. To me, during this phase of weight loss, a ‘good’ week was one where I had used all the low fat/low cal alternatives and had not succumbed to a takeaway or meal out. My diet was low in nutrients, low in taste and low in enjoyment but lead to significant weight loss. I’m not blaming the weight loss companies – I did lose a lot of weight that I wouldn’t have done otherwise, but my diet was unhealthy.
I realised after a couple of years that despite losing the weight I didn’t feel particularly healthy in my new skin. I was tired and lacked the glow that I had assumed would come with weight loss. It was around this time that I started reading healthy living blogs. What struck me most about the gorgeous, glowing women I was reading about was that their diet was completely different to mine. I read and read posts on my favourite blogs and developed my own thinking about a healthy diet.
I believe in moderation in your diet but also that no foods should be banned. A little of what you fancy doesn’t do any harm! I would actually rather eat normal yogurts made with clean ingredients than a ‘diet’ or ‘light’ yogurt with an ingredient list I don’t recognise. Similarly with cheese – give me a small portion of a ‘real’ full flavoured cheese over a piece of rubbery, tasteless low fat cheese any day.
So back to my original question… what is healthy anyway?
Today at work I noticed what my colleague had brought for lunch and snacks. She had a diet yogurt, low fat crisps, low fat chocolate bar and a white bread sandwich with low fat cheese and low fat mayo (notice a trend here…?). She is not on a diet and has no weight to lose but this is very similar to the food I ate while losing weight.
On the other hand, I had some 2% Greek yogurt with granola, a whole grain sandwich with mature cheddar cheese, pickle and salad, and an apple & peach. This includes several items with lower fat alternatives (yogurt, granola, cheese etc) but in my mind is a good healthy option as its based on ‘real food’.
What does a healthy diet look like to you?