Eating For Health Or Eating For Weight Loss

Eating for health or weight loss

There is a tendency to assume that healthy automatically means thin or skinny and eating to be healthy also means eating to lose weight.

The two can overlap – and often eating to improve health will also result in weight loss.

But they are not technically the same thing.

Eating For Health Or Eating For Weight Loss

Eating for health generally means eating in a way that focuses on specific macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) without placing as much emphasis on monitoring portions.

It can often result in weight loss because you end up increasing your intake of generally lower-calorie foods, which will be more filling, which can result in eating fewer calories overall.

But “health” isn’t really a specific goal.

For some people, it can mean weight loss.

For some people, it could mean weight gain.

It could be to do with blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep pattern, energy levels, bone strength and a ton of things in between.

Eating for weight loss is for a more specific goal.

And while your overall nutrition intake is important, your main focus will be on being mindful of your portions.

Putting It In Simple Terms

If you want to simplify it, you can look at it like this.

Eating for health (variable depending on which specific health marker or markers you’re targeting):

  1. Vitamins and minerals
  2. Macronutrients – carbs, proteins and fats (and fibre too)
  3. Calories, portions, quantities

Eating for weight loss:

  1. Calories, portions, quantities
  2. Macronutrients – carbs, proteins and fats (and fibre too)
  3. Vitamins and minerals

Debunking Some Myths

Like I said at the start of this post, there is a common assumption that healthy and thin are synonyms and can be used interchangeably.

That’s definitely not true.

Healthy looks different for everyone and is completely unique to the individual.

Where I am with my fitness right now for example, and I want to focus on my running and calisthenics, health will mean making sure I’m fuelling my body the right way and also losing some weight to help me move.

For someone who has struggled with a history of disordered eating and needs to develop a better relationship with food, health might mean being able to eat something without feeling guilty.

There Are A Few Other Common Myths About Food

I guess it is something that has been perpetuated by diet culture and various diet trends, but a few other nutrition myths worth mentioning to round things off:

  • Lower fat does not automatically mean healthier
  • Something being lower calories does not automatically mean it is better better
  • Something being lower in carbs does not make it “fat burning”
  • Organic means better quality preparation of ingredients but doesn’t automatically equate to better
  • Gluten-free isn’t healthier unless you have a medically diagnosed gluten intolerance

Nutrition Can Be Complicated

If you pay attention to and listen to every single thing that you read or see about food and nutrition it is incredibly easy to get overwhelmed.

So let me simplify it a little bit.

As long as your body is:

  • getting the vitamins and minerals it needs,
  • getting the protein, carbs, fats and fibre it needs,
  • getting the right level of fuel to achieve your goal (whatever that goal might be) in a sustainable manner,

then everything else is an added extra.

Try aiming to follow these guidelines and you’ll be amazed how quickly and easily things will fall into place for you for your overall health:

  • At least 2 litres of water a day
  • Fruit or vegetables with every meal
  • Protein with every meal

Eating for health or weight loss

If you stick to that 80% of the time (or more), you will definitely start to see shifts in your health.

And if you are aiming for weight loss, figure out the portion control system that works for you – it might be calories, it might be fist sizes.

That’s all there is to it.