Home Healthy Eating What Is ‘Healthy Eating,’ Anyway? – Self

What Is ‘Healthy Eating,’ Anyway? – Self

4 min read


Hi. I’m Carolyn. I’m the editor in chief of SELF and the host of our wellness advice podcast, Checking In. In this week’s episode, we’re talking about weight, health, and healthy eating—and how a lot of our beliefs about eating for good health may actually be pretty harmful.

Today’s question comes from Robert. He’s dealing with a lot of confusion and conflicting emotions around the ideas of weight loss and healthy eating. His doctors and loved ones keep telling him that he needs to lose weight to be healthy, in order to address his high blood pressure. But he’s got a nagging feeling that might not be the full picture. He’s curious: “What could the other options be that could be equally as valuable and beneficial?” And it’s a great question.

New episodes of Checking In come out every Monday. Listen to this week’s episode above, and get more episodes of Checking In on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

A lot of people have been in Robert’s shoes before. Being told by a doctor, or a loved one, or even by a stranger on the street that weight loss is the most important thing you can do to achieve better health.

That’s how a lot of health care providers are trained, for starters. Our society is fatphobic in a lot of ways, including in how we view health. And it’s a message that’s constantly and pervasively reinforced—this idea that you can tell how healthy or unhealthy someone is just by looking at them, or knowing their weight. And also that the best and most effective way to become healthier is to become smaller, to lose weight.

The truth is that this is a misguided, incomplete, and genuinely harmful way of thinking about health, wellness, and healthy eating. Luckily, a growing number of experts are recognizing that there are probably better, more effective, more humane approaches to helping people live healthier lives.

This is something we’ve covered pretty extensively at SELF over the years, so when I heard Robert’s question, I knew exactly which experts I wanted to talk to: Wendy Lopez, R.D., and Jessica Jones, R.D.

Lopez and Jones are SELF columnists, registered dietitian/nutritionists, and certified diabetes educators. They also host their own podcast, Food Heaven.

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