March 11, 2022 The Difference Between Dieting and Balanced Eating

The Difference Between Dieting and Balanced Eating

There’s nothing wrong with being mindful of what you eat, but sometimes a diet can take things too far. Traditional diets focus on eliminating certain food groups, which can create an unhealthy mindset regarding food. 

A More Holistic Approach to Weight Management

At Alpine Clinic, we see nourishment as a part of the equation for promoting overall health. Our certified nutritionists are interested in catering a counseling plan to help you get the results you want. There’s no “one size fits all” diet that can help optimize health for everyone.

What Happens When You Diet?

So, what happens when you start the latest fad diet? You may see exterior, physical changes to your body at first, but there’s a lot more happening under the surface. A diet that eliminates a food group or severely limits calories can lead to a number of issues. Holistic health incorporates many facets of wellness, including proper nutrition.


There’s a reason many people experience a weight-loss plateau when dieting. As a result of restricted calories, or a lack of certain nutrients, our bodies tend to go into starvation mode. Since the brain and body begin to believe there’s food scarcity based on the restricted amount of calories or nutrients it is receiving during your diet, it sends signals to the body to hold on to any remaining fat. In the event your body is deprived of nutrients for an extended period of time, it can turn to fat reserves for emergency fuel. 

While the body is retaining fat, it turns to muscle mass for energy. So, not only will you see stagnant numbers on the scale, but you’re losing muscle in the meantime in order to keep your body functioning. With malnutrition, you’re likely to experience the following symptoms as well:

  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability

Reducing your caloric intake may help you lose pounds initially, but it can put your body in a sustained state of excessive stress, which can manifest itself in a number of unhealthy ways. 

A more holistic approach to weight management does not include severe restriction or elimination of certain foods. Instead, there is an emphasis on understanding current behaviors surrounding weight, food, and exercise. With those elements in mind, a nutritionist and/or physician can help create a personalized plan for moving forward with a greater likelihood of success.

Losing Weight Without Dieting

How are you supposed to lose weight if dieting isn’t healthy? It involves reframing how you think about food. We should do our best to get most of our nutrients from real food, not solely from supplements. A balanced diet aims to include less processed ingredients, and more naturally grown foods. Here are ways you can create a health plan that allows you to lose weight without dieting:

  • Include carbs, fat, and protein in your daily diet
  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Determine portion sizes that are right for you
  • Drink water before, during, and after meals 
  • Be mindful during meal times
  • Reduce the amount of processed food/drink you consume
  • Exercise regularly, and include weight training
  • Get enough sleep

Some of this is easier said than done, which is why having a certified nutritionist on your side is helpful. Alpine Clinic’s mission is to encourage healthy habits in our clients so each person can change the way they think about wellness. 

Substituting Instead of Eliminating

A reason many diets fail is because of how difficult it is to completely eliminate certain food groups. When our willpower momentarily waivers, we tend to binge on what we’ve previously restricted. 

Instead of eliminating foods altogether, a better approach is to make a substitution. Starting small, you could swap out one sugary drink per day for something more healthy. As this practice gets easier over time, you can up the number of daily substitutions until you no longer feel the craving for the sugary drink.

One of the best substitutes made to assist with weight loss or maintenance is fiber. Naturally occurring fiber, such as that found in legumes, grains, and vegetables, can help you feel more full while consuming fewer calories. Additionally, fiber can help reduce inflammation in your digestive tract and regulate blood sugar. If you can substitute high-fiber foods for others (i.e. quinoa instead of white rice), you’re taking a step toward better weight maintenance without restriction.
At Alpine Clinic, our mission statement is: “Facilitating optimal health with compassion and skill.” A fad diet is often the opposite of what we stand for. Our team offers treatment modalities for holistic health via certified nutrition specialists, not a celebrity spokesperson.