New year, no diet: Resolve to ditch the diet resolution!

It’s that time of year again; 2017 in our rearview mirror and 2018 at our fingertips. Along with hopeful excitement, the new year tends to spark a need for change. A new habit, hobby, and unfortunately- the infamous new diet.

While there is nothing wrong with moving toward an improved version of yourself with health and wellness goals, it’s been proven time and time again- dieting is NOT the way to get there.

Whether you’ve experienced it yourself or witnessed it among friends and family, we have all seen the ugly cycle of dieting. A perpetual pattern of restriction, frustration, desperation, and deprivation that normally leads to little or no long-term results. With so many fad diets and a multi-billion dollar diet industry, it’s no easy task to decipher nutrition fact from fiction… but what if I told you there is a much simpler, cheaper, and more effective way to approach your health goals in 2018?

In my last article in Health and Wellness Magazine, I discuss how to do this and some tips on how to reach your goals while ditching the diet! Here are some highlights:

To really make any lasting health and wellness change this year, it’ll require you to go deeper than following a fad diet. Creating a healthy, well-balanced diet involves one’s individual metabolic, genetic, environmental, physiological and psychological factors. This means the lifestyle, behavior, and dietary changes will all be tailored to that specific person. If no certain weight, diet, or meal plan equates health, why should our new-year resolutions reflect any of those either?

However, if you are over your body’s set-point weight and desire to lose weight this year, it’s important to realize it won’t happen over-night and no magic pill will get you there. No matter what the diet-industry tries to tell you. Sustainable change takes time. Changing habits and modifying behavior may be required, but are usually simple, realistic changes. Just be patient and trust the process.

Although meeting with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) will always be your greatest resource for insight to your specific needs, that may not be a practical option for you right now. If that’s the case, here are some practical tips to help you reach your goals.

  1. Decrease your calories from fat, especially saturated.
    • Fat, although a key macronutrient (along with protein and carbohydrates), is more than double the calories per gram than the other two. Be mindful of how much fat you consume, as well as the type- opt for unsaturated fats over saturated fats. Limit meat products, cheeses, and butter/lard. Focus on unsaturated fat such as- nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil.
  2. Get real about portion sizes.
    • It’s no secret our culture’s portion sizes have gotten out of hand the past few decades. Restaurants, grocery stores, and fast food joints are serving 2-4 times the portion sizes one person needs at a sitting.
    • On a regular size serving plate, non-starchy vegetables should take up 50% of the plate, meat or protein 25%, and whole grains with the last 25%.
  3. Bite it and write it.
    • Keep a food log! Track everything you consume in a day to identify patterns and habits that could be hindering your progress.
  4. Pump up the volume!
    • Eat foods that will fill you up first! Starting your meal with a house salad or broth-based soup and incorporating a lot of fruits and vegetables into the main entree will fill you up without consuming excess calories.
  5. Turn your loss into gains–muscles and confidence that is!
    • It’s a fact: the more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body burns excess fat!
    • Incorporating strength and resistance training of any kind(yoga, pilates, push-ups), two to three times a week can really make a difference!

So whatever your health and wellness goals are this year, I hope these tips encourage you to reach them without falling into the diet trap! Let’s make 2018 the year of long-lasting health habits and treating our bodies with the kindness, respect, and care they deserve.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and holistic new year.

New year, nourished you!