Healthy Habits. Not Restrictions.

How to dump those all-or-nothing dieting routines

Credit: FIT & NU™.

We’ve all been there. The never-ending cycle of feeling guilty about our lifestyle and then diving into the latest extreme dieting and exercise craze to shed some pounds to feel better about ourselves. This self-perpetuating cycle of unsustainable dieting restrictions can send our body into shock by robbing it of essential nutrients it needs, which inevitably leads to an emotional roller coaster that can make us feel like failures when we’re unable to keep off the pounds.

It shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be this way. In this post, we share why most weight loss plans don’t work and what we can do to empower ourselves and break out of this all-or-nothing cycle.

Why Most Diets Repeatedly Fail

A lot of weight loss plans focus on dieting. You know, restricting what we can eat and when. The idea behind dieting is that we do X for some number of weeks and then we’ll suddenly be ready for bikini season. In reality, this almost never works.

Dieting, by definition, is a temporary and often unsustainable strategy for losing weight. We can’t simply overwrite our body’s response to a lifetime of eating habits in just a few short weeks or months. According to Joslyn Reese, certified nutritionist and Head Nutrition Coach at FIT & NU™, it’s also important to keep in mind that some of these restrictions can actually be harmful for our bodies. There are a lot of diet plans that may prevent our brains and vital organs from getting the essential nutrients they need to function normally.

… some of these restrictions can actually be harmful to our bodies because there are a lot of diet plans that may prevent our brains and vital organs from getting the essential nutrients they need to function normally…

A restriction-based approach can rob our bodies of essential nutrients, which can make us feel depleted. Also, some diets may come with undesirable side effects. For example, this study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that while a low-carbohydrate diet led to faster initial reductions in weight relative to a low-fat diet within the first 3 months, there were essentially no differences between two approaches after that and people on the low-carb diet had higher reports of adverse side effects like bad breath, hair loss, dry mouth, and prolonged constipation. Additionally, the people on the low-carb diet showed changes in certain biomarkers that are associated with higher cardiovascular risks such as higher LDL cholesterol levels. This just all goes to show that faster results don’t always mean better results, especially when it comes to our health.

Building Healthy Eating Habits

Brittney Rae and Joslyn from FIT & NU
Brittney Rae Reese and Joslyn Reese, Head Coaches of FIT & NU™. Photo Credit: Monaie Diamond, thefemaleshoota.com

The best way to successfully end the self-perpetuating cycle of dieting is to establish long-term healthy eating habits. In fact, there are small and easy steps we can start taking right now to can result in big changes, like these 6 small changes that we shared last week.

At FIT & NU™, we recommend a balanced approach to escape this all-or-nothing cycle. Instead restricting what we eat, Joslyn helps clients eliminate the desire to fill up on unhealthy foods by crowding them out with healthier and more nutritious options. Basically, we want to load up on nutrient-dense foods that help us to feel fuller for a longer amount of time. For example, if it feels hard to give up those chips and sugary beverages, it’s helpful to load up on healthier alternatives like whole grain breads and pastas, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables like eggplant, carrots, oranges, and pears. We also want to make sure that our diet is balanced with healthy proteins such as nuts, beans, fish and seafood, and skinless chicken. The great thing about this approach is that although we may initially start eating this way because we feel motivated to lose weight, it’s an easy and intuitive way to establish a habit of healthy eating, which has long-lasting positive benefits that radiate throughout our entire body.

Remember that there’s no perfect solution. We all have different approaches that work for us and fit the unique demands of our daily lives. So let go of perfectionism and start practicing self-compassion.

When it comes to our waistlines, we’re more likely to succeed when we are kind to ourselves which enables us to establish healthy habits rather than engaging in endless cycle of all-or-nothing eating. The next time you feel tempted to jump on the next diet crazy, try crowding out unhealthy urges with healthy and nourishing ones instead. It’s more sustainable and better for our well-being in the long run.

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