Adopt a healthy diet in 2018. If you’re like most of us, in past years you’ve resolved to lose weight and tried one or more quick weight loss diets. And you may have even stuck with the new regime long enough to ditch some weight. But ultimately, the weight came back on and you got discouraged.
A Healthy Diet May Be Avoiding a Diet Altogether
So what diet will you choose in 2018? Weight Watchers? Paleo? Jenny Craig? Low-carb?
Some nutritionists say rather than jumping on the latest diet bandwagon or trend, it’s time to consider embracing a “non-diet diet.” The concept is that you take a look at your current eating habits and develop a sustainable plan to change them for the better. The weight will slowly come off, and better yet, will stay off.
Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., a nationally recognized nutrition expert and author explains: “A non-diet diet is for anyone who has ever said ‘The diet starts Monday.’ It’s a lifestyle approach to healthy eating.”
Why a Traditional Diet is Not a Healthy Diet
A typical calorie deprivation diet is not a healthy diet. It’s just a shortcut to eliminate calories temporarily until a weight goal is reached. No dieter truly believes that he or she will stick to the strict weight loss diet indefinitely. Instead, it is a short-term means to an end.
There are two ways to describe why a traditional diet is not a healthy diet.
The Problem With Diets Is That They Have An “Expiration Date.
Alpert offers this advice:
• “Whether it’s one day, 10 days, 30 days or 45 days — with an end date, you are setting yourself up for failure and for the never-ending yo-yo dieting cycle.”
• For example, if you’ve been forbidden from eating bread, “even a stale bread basket looks amazing.” And once you’ve been deprived of the foods you love, you are more susceptible to binging and eventually regaining the weight you’ve lost — plus a few pounds.
• “When you put food on a pedestal, and only focus on willpower to avoid your favorite foods, you create an unhealthy relationship with food and are more likely to overeat.”
A Diet Is A “Temporary Reprieve” From The Real World.
The way I like to explain why a diet is not a healthy diet in the long run is that a typical calorie deprivation diet is just a temporary reprieve from the real world. What I mean by that is that for a measured amount of time we allow someone else, the diet designer, to tell us what to put in our mouths. We are willing to give up all control over our food choices because we’re desperate to lose weight. And the faster we can get back into our “skinny clothes” the better.
Of course, the problem is that in time, perhaps days or weeks, we want regain to take back control over our food choices. So, we ditch the diet and go back to the same bad eating habits that caused us to gain weight.
The Elements of a Healthy Diet
This year adopt a healthy diet instead of wasting your time and willpower on a deprivation diet. Here’s how to get to a healthy diet:
A Healthy Diet Avoids Strict Rules
A healthy diet is one that doesn’t come with a list of “can’t haves” and strict rules.
Ironically, what works in the long run is avoiding strict food rules. According to Kelly Pritchett, a Registered Dietitian and Spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “A sustainable eating plan that is balanced and is not restrictive is easier to adhere to in the long run. Also, most diets that restrict or eliminate foods are also missing important nutrients and this can result in nutrient deficiencies.”
A Healthy Diet is “The Non-Diet Diet”
Looking for a healthy diet you can stick to? You should adopt the “non-diet diet.”
Since deprivation sets us up for diet failure, one of the most important aspects of a “non-diet diet” is intentional indulgences — that is, planned splurges without guilt attached. Feeling guilty about your food choices causes you to make more poor food choices, and will cause you to cycle. Alpert believes that “There is a time and a place for French fries and pizza and a piece of cake.”
A Healthy Diet Involves Planning
The key to a healthy diet is planning ahead. For example, if you’re going out for dinner, and you know the restaurant has an amazing chocolate cake, then you can allow some room for it by cutting back on your starches during the day. But the idea is to fully enjoy your treat while you eat it. Eat mindfully and savor your meals. Permit yourself an occasional indulgence so that it doesn’t turn into a big splurge. Allowing yourself a small indulgence even on a daily basis can be helpful for weight management. Figure out what works best for you.
A Healthy Diet Includes Protein and Fiber with Every Meal
A healthy diet must include protein and fiber with every meal. Diets high in protein reduce appetite and help you eat fewer calories. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which also helps keep hunger in check. Fiber and protein are helpful from a satiety standpoint, meaning they keep us full and longer.
A Healthy Diet Limits Refined Starches
A healthy diet also limits empty calories from refined starches like white bread and rice. Refined starches are easy to overeat. They get broken down into sugar quickly in the body, which can lead to increased fat storage. Instead, eat whole grain starches such as 100% whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. Limit portions.
A Healthy Diet Allows for Snacks
A healthy diet allows for snacks if you get hungry between meals. My first rule is “If you’re hungry EAT.” Nothing good happens when we let ourselves get too hungry. We make worse food choices and usually end up eating more.
Steady infusions of food allow your body to be fueled without creating the urge to overeat. While portions are important for weight loss, Alpert said the quality of food is equally important. Eat real food in reasonable portions and you will maintain a healthy weight.
A Healthy Diet is a Plan for Life
A healthy diet really involves a commitment to a lifelong plan for healthy eating.
When it comes down to it, an eating plan for long-term weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated. Alpert sums it up well: “We’re really talking about how you are supposed to live every single day for the rest of your life.”
Click here to read the full article about the non-diet diet as a healthy diet.