As the cycle of resolutions being with the new year, so does most people’s intentions to get healthy and lose weight. However, nutritionists suggest its time to embrace a “non-diet diet”. In other words, a set of principles that will help you shed the pounds with a long-term success rate.
According to a dietician and “The Diet Detox: Why Your Diet is Making You Fat and What to Do About It” author, Brooke Alpert, this approach to dieting is perfect for anyone who utters the phrase: ‘The diet starts Monday,’. She explains that “It’s a lifestyle approach to healthy eating.”
Alpert stresses that the main issue with dieting is that they tend to have an inevitable “expiration date.”
“Whether it is 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,” Alpert stated.
She also notes that forbidding certain foods can make even the least appealing meal suddenly seem desirable, an added stress we should avoid. This can also lead to binge eating and potentially gain back the pounds you’ve worked hard to lose.
Experts continue to stress that when it comes to a successful weight loss plan, strict rules should be avoided.
“A sustainable eating plan that is balanced and is not restrictive is easier to adhere to in the long run,” stated Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ spokeswoman, Kelly Pritchett. “Also, most diets that restrict or eliminate foods are also missing important nutrients and this can result in nutrient deficiencies.”
Depriving oneself of any food often leads to diet failure, which is why the non-diet approach highlights intentional indulgences in which one can have planned splurges lacking any guilt.
“Guilt makes you fat,” stated Alpert. According to her theory, poor food choices are rooted in guilt associated with breaking one’s diet. “There is a time and a place for French fries and pizza and a piece of cake,” she says.
The key to this strategy is planning in advance, and adjusting the way you eat to accommodate for indulgences you know you will want to have. A good example of this strategy is cutting back on starchy foods on a day when dinner plans tie in with a restaurant that serves your favorite dessert. It's important that you truly enjoy your well-deserved treat whilst having it. “It’s about eating intentionally … and saying ‘I’m going to have that piece of cake and not feel bad about it.’” she says.
Pritchett seconds this notion by explaining that being open to small indulgences daily is a helpful way to your weight management. “You have to figure out what works for you. I like two daily dark chocolate squares because it’s typically satisfying,” Pritchett explained.
Fibers And Protein
When trying this approach to dieting, an important principle to keep in mind is including fiber and protein in each meal with either one included in your snack as this can lead to the consumption of fewer calories as well as keep your hunger at bay.
Another key aspect of the diet is limiting the consumption of refined starches as they are quickly broken into sugar once consumed increasing your overall fat storage.
According to Alpert, snacking throughout your day across increments of four hours is an important tactic, as this keeps you fuelled and limits the urge to overeat. In addition, maintaining a period of 12 or 14 hours of fasting overnight from your dinner until the following breakfast, allows for “early time-restricted feeding” a beneficial type of alternating fasting.
Although the portions you consume are important in terms of losing weight, Alpert says that above all, quality always outweighs quantity.