The new year has come and gone and you may or may not still be on that diet you started as a New Year’s resolution. There is no need to be discouraged if you aren’t, because the truth is: diets don’t work. In this article I hope to urge you to ditch the diet and consider making non-diet resolutions that may actually improve your health.
According to data from the CDC, nearly half of all Americans go on weight-loss diets each year and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products only to be told they don’t have enough willpower, or that they just need to buy three more months’ supply for it to “work.” The truth is, if diets “worked,” we would not continue to put money and time into these programs and products year after year.
Diet culture is successful at making money, but not at making us healthier. Whether it be based around only eating certain foods (a certain 30, perhaps?), avoiding certain food groups altogether, or embarking on a strict nutrient tracking program, diets are all diets and carry with them some harmful side-effects.
Individuals who go on multiple diets over time, also called “yo-yo dieting,” are more likely to suffer from heart disease, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and long-term weight gain. Even if you see weight loss in the short-term, 97 percent of dieters will regain more weight than they’ve lost within four to five years, according to long-term health surveys.
Short-term diets, otherwise known as “crash diets,” can lead to muscle loss, which in turn, slows the body’s metabolism and leads to the accumulation of more visceral body fat — the kind of body fat linked to metabolic syndrome.
That’s right, folks: we do not fail diets; diets fail us.
No need to feel discouraged — there are a number of habits you can resolve to do to improve your health — any time of year.
- Resolve to cook more. Start with a small, reasonable goal. Cook one more night per week than you usually do. Need some cooking inspiration? Try a new online recipe finder. A few of my favorites are the New York Times Cooking app, Food52.com and Delish.com.
- Resolve to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast is linked with better attention, more energy, and a healthier body weight. A quick and healthy breakfast can be as simple as a handful of trail mix, a banana with peanut butter, eggs and toast, or oatmeal topped with fresh berries.
- Rather than restricting your diet, try introducing a new food. You can start with one new ingredient each week. Get curious! Online recipe finders and food guides can make it easy to find a recipe for anything.
- Resolve to ditch the diet mentality. We are told that taking up a diet is the righteous, wholesome, and self-promoting thing to do, which is just plain false. You can care about your health and say no to diets; it might just be the healthiest thing you do this year.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator, Anna helps her clients with disordered eating, diabetes and other chronic health conditions, and those seeking reliable nutrition consulting. You can contact Anna for a free 30-minute nutrition consult through her website: threeforksnutrition.com.
Anna Grindeland, RDN, CDE, CD
Three Forks Nutrition LLC
115 SW Blaine St. Ste. C
Pullman, WA 99163
PH: (509) 270-1020