Hello again! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for winter to be over. Luckily in the Northeast US we seem to be having a bit of a break in the weather (except for today apparently…) as we hit the just-over-halfway part of March. Time is sure flying, but you know what that means: summer is on its way! And with summer on its way, you know what that means.
Tons of people wanting to shed winter weight gain so they can look good in those swimsuits and shorts. And I’m all for that, in a healthy way. I also want to stress the importance of how this weight loss, if the client has a true need for it, shouldn’t be for just one season – it should be for life!
So I’ll begin by introducing what I believe is a healthy, wholesome diet. First and foremost, if you’re a dietetics student or dietitian you might be familiar with the ABC-MV’s of planning a healthy diet.
• Adequacy – make sure you’re getting all the essential nutrients, fiber, and energy that you need to maintain your health
• Balance – provide food from all food groups
• Calorie Control – provide enough to sustain your health, but not in excess
• Moderation – everything is fine in moderation, even the sweets & treats!
• Variety – eat a variety of different foods to truly reap the benefits and ensure that you’re not deficient in any nutrients
These basic principles are what I’m considering a sort of checklist for developing diets with clients, and when I become a full-fledged dietitian I’ll definitely be remembering these principles. I think they just make sense and in many ways can provide some easy-to-understand concepts for clients.
So let’s take a moment and analyze some of these current fad diets that are being touted as the best ways to lose weight. I’ve seen things from the Cabbage Soup Diet to the Cookie Diet, from the Atkins Diet to excessively cutting calories to unsafe levels. Now while I’d be on board for a cookie diet (just kidding! – I wouldn’t want to get sick of cookies by eating them all the time haha), the fact is that the reason why many of these diets are so popular is because you will see changes in a short amount of time. If your calories in are less than your calories out, you will lose weight. Because these diets slash complete food groups out of the equation, of course you’re going to see a dramatic weight loss. You’re going to be consuming less calories. But guess what? When you find you can’t sustain the diet because in no way are they able to be maintained in a regular lifestyle, you’ll be gaining back the pounds you lost and then some. The body isn’t meant to be sustaining itself off of cabbage soup day in and day out.
1. Are they advocating cutting out entire food groups? That’s a red flag! Every single food group is important to keep your body functioning. They all contain unique nutrients that can be used (*note: I’m talking more about the diets that completely cut carbohydrates out, etc. – vegetarians can still obtain the nutrients they need from things like eggs or legumes, etc.).
2. What about severely restricting you? Or severely depriving you (aka: absolutely no, none, zilch of any sort of indulging, of this particular food, etc.)? This isn’t going to be a sustainable diet. First, you need to eat enough to sustain yourself. Second, by never allowing yourself to indulge on your favorite chocolate chip cookie will only make you want it more until you break down and eat an entire batch of them. And then you feel like you’ve totally fallen off the bandwagon which has the potential to lead you on a destructive path regarding food choices and your health.
3. Does this diet tout miracle products or supplements that you have to buy up quick and they’re the only thing that works? News flash: wholesome food, leading an active lifestyle, and being mindful are what works. Avoid these diets, they’re a recipe for disaster.
Yes, it’s not an easy road by any means and that’s what makes these fad diets even more attractive to those trying to lose the weight. But I’ll be honest in saying that these quick fixes may make you lose the weight temporarily, but they’re not a sustainable fix. It’s a lifelong journey to wellness, but you will get there. It takes dedication, but you are worth it. Your body is worth more than a cabbage soup diet or quick weight loss supplements. Nourish it well.
1. Moderation. Moderation. Moderation. (This could literally be a dietitian’s motto) Loving food is ok. Cookies are ok, just not every day of the week (can we tell I’m the cookie monster?).
2. Balance and variety go hand in hand. They’re how your body works best. Don’t completely cut out a food group or eat the same thing every single day.
3. Eat as close to the source as possible. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables. Keep away from the boxed and packaged things.
4. Don’t make food, calories, carbs, fat, etc. the enemy! They are not the enemy. Everything has a place in the diet.
Question of the week: what confuses you most about dieting?
Picture Credit: Image 1 (blog.lafitness.com); Image 2 (hiit-blog.dailyhiit.com); Image 3 (my own from Instagram)