Thinking about a quick diet to get you on track for health and wellness this New Year? The most popular resolutions every January 1st include: Eat healthier, Get fit, and Lose weight. It all seems so easy. Simply follow this meal plan and voilà, a leaner, slimmer you in 30 days!
Unfortunately, quick results may come at a cost. Prepare for increased cravings, more thoughts about food, and possible uncontrolled eating binges. Dieting is linked to decreases in confidence and self-trust, reduced self-esteem, and social anxiety. If that isn’t enough, long-term dieting is the highest predictor of weight GAIN. Whaaat??!!
So, what can you do? Here are a few of my tried and true tips:
- Re-center yourself – Observe your reactions to stress: Are your actions helpful or troublesome? Do you reach for food when feeling overwhelmed? Make a list of quick interventions (<5 minutes) to longer actions (>45 minutes) that function as a meaningful self-care response instead of disruptive reactions.
- Practice mindful eating – Use mindful eating techniques to give full awareness to what you are eating, what it tastes like, and if you are really enjoying it. If you love it, savor it. If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.
- Eat when you are hungry - Get to know what these feelings feel like instead of using an app or the time on a clock. Your body and mind send signals when hunger starts to grow – Do you recognize them and honor your hunger?
- Find fullness and satisfaction – When do you typically stop eating? When the food is all gone from the plate or when you feel properly full and satisfied? (Can you feel the difference?) Pay attention to the cues coming from your stomach and your brain. Indicators include losing interest in food or the food doesn’t taste quite as good as your first bite.
- Filter your following – Examine the accounts you follow on social media. Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, encourage unsustainable behaviors, or illicit negative self-talk.
- Examine your self-care needs – Deficits in other areas can result in false hunger signals, using food as a distraction, or eating beyond our preferred fullness levels. Are you getting enough sleep? Staying hydrated? Engaging in creative outlets? Do you feel heard and understood in your social group? Do you have unhelpful behaviors that are limiting your ability to meet your emotional and physical needs?
For nutrition support, accountability and individualized guidance, consider meeting with me the RecSports dietitian, or schedule an appointment with a CWC therapist. There are many choices other than dieting that can give you control, happiness, and health.
-Jessie Furman, MS, RDN, LD/N, Coordinator of Nutrition