I’m Eating Healthy!

As we travel on our respective weight loss journeys, all of us hoping to get back to our original weights (eight pounds, five ounces) one thing most of us attempt along the way is to “eat healthy.”

I say most, but certainly not everybody. More than a few of us are certainly content with eating the things we always ate and trying to lose weight. As long as you’re cutting calories, this works. What doesn’t work (and believe me, I’ve tried it over and over and over) is to eat all the same foods but increase the overall intake. I don’t know what it is, but I always gain weight when I do this.

But sooner or later—and more often than not later—even I try the healthy thing. And what I’ve found in my own travels is that there are about as many definitions of “eating healthy” as there are dieters. Haven’t you all run across these before?

  • I’ve cut out trans fats! I’m eating healthy!
  • I’m having salads three times a day!
  • I’ve decided to only eat four pizzas a week instead of five!
  • I refuse to eat anything that didn’t come out of my own garden.
  • I refuse to eat anything that came from your garden.

I’m constantly amazed at what one person considers a huge improvement to their diet another person considers pure poison, all the way up and down the scale.

Case in point: I was out doing my daily bloggery a few weeks back and ran across a site that had a recipe for some homemade Snickers (or some similar knock-off candy bar). The recipe called for erythritol or xylitol along with one or two other things I’d never heard of. The author was extremely proud of this recipe and twenty people left the exact same comment, “Ooo! I want to try these!”

Not five minutes after that I ran across another blog: a militant site on healthy eating. It was written by one of those folks who swears that if you so much as enter a modern grocery store, you’ll probably develop three tumors before even laying eyes on the Hamburger Helper aisle. I honestly can’t imagine what this person would say about erythritol in a homemade candy bar, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be good.

So what is healthy eating? What does it mean to you? Are you okay with homemade low-carb candy with mystery ingredients being “healthy” solely because they don’t contain natural sugar? Do you avoid canned goods the way you avoid nuclear waste? Tell me your thoughts. I’m sure one of you has the correct answer. Unfortunately, that means the rest of you are dead wrong.

In the meantime, enjoy my latest T-shirt creation:

27 Responses to “I’m Eating Healthy!”

Christy said
February 19, 2009 at 1:45 am

Love the shirt…I wish I could find one that said “food is NOT my friend” šŸ™‚

Biz said
February 19, 2009 at 6:50 am

Good post Charlie!

I wish people could realize that you can eat cheese in moderation and still lose weight.

I’ve never understood people who say “I am never going to eat white bread ever again.”

Charlie said
February 19, 2009 at 6:57 am

Biz: How can you not understand that. I’m pretty sure it means they are never going to eat white bread ever again. Seems clear to me. šŸ™‚

But I’m totally with you on the cheese thing. Sure, I may not have reached my goal yet, but I’ve eaten a lot of cheese since last August and overall I’m down 22 pounds. It’s not evil.

Mara @ What's For Dinner? said
February 19, 2009 at 7:23 am

I love cheese.
I’d like a t-shirt that says “Food is food, not friends”, a kind of play on the Finding Nemo line.

Tuscanystone said
February 19, 2009 at 7:25 am

Hey Charlie

I’m down 22lbs too!!! Feels great huh? šŸ˜€

Really enjoyed your post; very witty and soooo true! The degrees of ‘healthy eating’ is vast! From eating like our paleolithic ancestors to raw foods only to a daily intake of 90% ‘good’ fat!!

It’s bloomin confusing, that’s what it is!

I get the fruit and veggie thing. I think that’s about the only common factor everyone agrees on?

High 5 for the 22lbs anyhow!! šŸ˜€

Tusc šŸ™‚

Tom Rooney said
February 19, 2009 at 7:39 am

I’m not sure what is considered healthy food, but one thing is that we are still alive so something must be working.

My son plays the “I’m not going to budge until someone gets hungry enough to make dinner game” every night. That way he can always blame someone else if the food is unhealthy.

Tammy said
February 19, 2009 at 8:17 am

I’ve read enough on the subject of “healthy eating” that I should probably be considered an expert.

Unfortunately, no two people agree on the subject 100%.

My conclusion? There is no such thing as eating healthy, so I think I’m just going to opt out.

Quix said
February 19, 2009 at 8:52 am

I’m going to postulate that either different things work for different people, or there are a lot of stupid people out there. Probably both. I experiment and do what works for me.

I also don’t understand the whole “I can’t eat white bread/pasta/rice/carbs” thing. My mom swears it makes her system crazy and sends her into a overeating spiral. Doesn’t affect me at all. I notice that whole grains fill me up a *tiny* bit more but that’s about it.

I used to eat fake fat free cheese, and decided that life is too short and would rather have less of the real stuff than endure that.

Stephanie said
February 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

Like your post suggests, “healthy” eating is very personal and depends upon your normal eating habits. For me, “healthy” eating involves eating less than a cup of macadamia nuts a day….however, I am a strong believer that eating macadamia nuts must be healthier than eating…a giant bag of Cool Ranch Doritos!

Thanks for a good post.

Shelley said
February 19, 2009 at 9:37 am

I do get a chuckle when I read other diet bloggers having handfuls of candy with every meal…but you’re right – they may have been having bowlfuls before, so this IS an improvement for them. Perceptions…

My little workout group always laughs when our instructor talks about what meal to get at certain local restaurants if you eat out – every single time, he says “no cheese” – but sometimes? I have the cheese. Shhh, don’t tell!

Mel said
February 19, 2009 at 10:06 am

I try to avoid products that have ingredients I can’t pronounce only because really.. what are those things! I like to know what I’m putting in ma belly..

It also kills me when eating plans limit or even eliminate certain fruits or vegetables (bananas, carrots).. I think fruits and veg are pretty healthy.. and it’s not like I’m eating a pound of bananas a day.. so lay off!! I’ll eat a banana a day if I want to!

Meg said
February 19, 2009 at 10:13 am

I think healthy eating is eating all things in moderation.

Deborah said
February 19, 2009 at 10:25 am

You know what? I think healthy eating is what ever makes us feel healthy, physically, not mentally.

We’ve (usens weight loss people at least) all had an indulgance (be it greasy fries or decadent german chocolate cake) and felt horrible, physically, the day after.

That’s my two cents worth.

Anonymous said
February 19, 2009 at 11:12 am

Thanks for the thoughtful words of encouragement! Love your blog and will link up!

Meg said
February 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

Above comment is from me! šŸ˜‰

Lee said
February 19, 2009 at 11:18 am

Seems to me we are nearing a convergence of ideas regarding what constitutes a healthy diet. People are publishing their ideas about foods that may help prevent cancer and/or provide greater health while dealing with cancer. People are publishing their ideas about foods and a way of eating that is about losing weight and then maintaining a optimum weight (clean eating). People are publishing books on foods that are “anti-aging.” While still others are getting their ideas out there about the foods we should eat if we are concerned with the environment.

If you take a close look at all of these ideas coming from different angles they are basically the same foods. Fresh, unprocessed foods with anti-inflammatory properties.

I often wonder why we tend to wait until we have a heart attack, stroke, diabetes or are diagnosed with cancer to change our diets. Why wait?

Vicki said
February 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm

The powers that think they know everything change what is good for you so much I can’t keep up.

Here’s what I think~

Veggies: In a can, not as good as frozen. Frozen, not as good as fresh.

Meat: soy and turkey is the best. Then chicken and stuff with “loin” in it.

And water, but it has to be the right kind of water.

That’s what I think today anyway. I’m sure I’ll read or hear something else about the subject before the week is up!

Sagan said
February 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm

“Iā€™m constantly amazed at what one person considers a huge improvement to their diet another person considers pure poison, all the way up and down the scale.”


Now that I’ve got that out of my system…

I’m all about eating as natural and real food as possible. Least processed.

There’s a big difference between “healthier” and “healthy”, too, which I think is neglected a lot of the time.

Charlie said
February 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Wow, Vicki: a whole page dedicated to finding the right water. What’s this world coming to.

megan said
February 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm

great post! Your making me rethink my “eating healthier”. And I thought I was so on the ball. But I WONT give up cheese!

Charlie said
February 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

Lee: Why wait? Have you never had donuts!?


Kyddryn said
February 22, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Hmm…I just try to eat foods as close to their source-state (whole) as possible, and when it’s processed, I prefer to be able to pronounce all the ingredients (bonus if I can read each in one breath).

My favorite (and most successful to date) diet was my “If I could grow it or make it, I can eat it” plan…which only failed because I realized I could neither grow nor make chocolate. Dang.

I don’t care for many tinned foods, but if tinned veg are all someone will eat, they’re better than nothing. Frozen is my staple most of the year, fresh fruits and veg delight me when they are available and reasonably priced.

I sometimes fail (curse you Duncan Hines, and your brownies-in-a-box!!), but life goes on.

Boring, but you DID ask!

Shade and Sweetwater,

Bet said
February 23, 2009 at 7:16 am

Charlie, you crack me up. Thanks for posting your five senses on my blog!

Now, to your post.

Standing ovation. Nicely put.

(There’s no cheese diet?)

My doctor says to me every time that I’m in to see him. “eat less” it’s that simple. Eat what you want, strive for the best you can get nutrionally, but don’t deprive yourself of anything. Just eat less of it all.

Best to you!

Jennifer said
February 23, 2009 at 9:46 am

I have moved from the 100 calorie pack things, and fat free pringles that used to be in my desk at work for snacks and have switched to fruits, cheese sticks, hard boiled egg instead. I used to think the 100 calorie packs were my favorite, but they are done in like 2 seconds! I can’t remember the last time I had ff pringles.

So, I guess I am trying to stay away from processes foods.

POD said
February 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I try to pay attention to some occasional frenzied eating. If I’m eating in a big hurry, I’m usually not hungry. It means something else.

my3monthchallenge said
February 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm

I love your shirt. It’d look good for my workouts at the gym šŸ™‚ are they actually for purchase? (Do you ship to Japan btw?)

Hmm eating healthy for me.. is to do the best I can with the options that I have available. It’s also a balance between calorie intake and nutrition, which is forever hard to become proficient at, no matter how long you’ve been doing it (eat healthy) or trying to,.. I think it’s not only a daily struggle but a lifelong one too ><

Charlie said
February 25, 2009 at 6:30 am

The shirt’s just a mockup, but I have thought about putting together a BTTF store—perhaps later this year?