Jessie the Dietitian: Non-diet Tips for the New Year
Thinking about a quick diet or detox to set you up for a new you that focuses on health and wellness this New Year? The most popular resolutions every January 1st include: Eat healthier, Get fit, and Lose weight. Pretty easy, right? Spend time in the gym, make a meal plan, cut out certain foods, and voilà, a leaner, healthier you in 30 days!
Unfortunately there’s a cost to quick results, especially if it is weight loss due to a diet or other imposed restrictions. In the short-term 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??!! Yes, 95-98% of all weight lost on a diet is regained, with many individuals gaining back more than what was initially lost.
Here are my tried and true non-diet tips:
- Re-center yourself –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 – Put the phone down, pause the video, and focus on your food for 5-10 minutes exclusively.
- Eat when you are hungry – Get to know what these feelings feel like instead of using an app or the time on a clock to tell you when it is time to eat.
- 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? Do you know the difference?
- 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?
- Make an appointment with the RecSports registered dietitian for nutrition support, accountability, and individualized guidance
- Schedule an appointment with the Counseling & Wellness Center for mental health support.
There are many choices other than dieting that can give you control, happiness, and health.
-Jessie Furman, MS, RDN, LD/N
Jessie is a Registered Dietitian and Assistant Director of Nutrition at University of Florida’s Department of Recreational Sports where she does individual nutrition counseling and coaching with the UF community.