(AscendHealthy.com) – Happy New Year! It’s time for a fresh start in a crisp, new year. It’s a time when many of us make resolutions including commitments to ourselves to start diets and lose those holiday (or shelter-at-home) pounds! Before committing to restrictive regimens, the latest celebrity fads or companies promising to help melt pounds away, consider a completely different strategy. Find out more in the full article.
“Diets” Usually Fail
Despite what we’ve been told for decades by marketers, friends, co-workers and even doctors, calorie-restrictive diets are only a temporary bandage on the gaping wound of weight gain. Up to 85% of people who lose weight by dieting alone regain it within 5 years.
Restrictions May Lead to Deficiencies
Especially when they are restrictive, diets may deprive us of nutrients our bodies crave. And those deficiencies in both nutrients and calories may cause our bodies to react as if we’re in starvation mode, slowing our metabolisms, sucker-punching our energy reserves and heightening hunger.
Compulsions May Lead to Eating Disorders or Worse
In our never-ending quest for weight loss, we might end up dieting compulsively, putting ourselves in danger of developing eating disorders. Some of us may even seek out any fad diet aid we hope might assist us, regardless of proven safety or efficacy, compromising our health, potentially long-term.
Phen-fen was one example of this. Thousands of people took the weight-loss medication until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled it from the market in 1997 over concerns that it was causing heart valve defects.
Lifestyle Changes Instead
Instead of quick-fix, short-term diets that might leave our weight yo-yoing, a better solution might be to resolve to make lifestyle changes. These changes might include incorporating a healthy eating plan, subscribing to mindful eating, and adding moderate daily exercise.
Healthy Eating Plan
A healthy eating plan is any strategy that allows us to eat healthy, nutritious foods in an enjoyable way we can support for a lifetime. It’s a lifestyle adjustment, not a short-term weight-loss diet plan. There are a number of eating plans we could subscribe to including the Mediterranean diet, the low-carb whole-food diet, the Paleo diet, and others.
Even though the word “diet” is in the description of these food plans, these are designed as long-term, lifestyle eating plans meant to be sustainable. Each of us may need to research which plan will work best for our needs. There is no one-size-fits-all healthy eating.
Another strategy that may improve our health and potentially enable weight loss as a by-product is mindful eating. With roots based in Buddhism, this approach has us focus on our food in the moment. Because mindful eating changes how we think about food and our relationship with it through lifestyle changes, it’s been associated with weight loss.
Most of us rush through our days, eating on the run, multi-tasking as we eat, working, watching TV, playing games on phones or computers, or almost anything else. The practice of mindful eating asks us to really take the time to focus on our food, our hunger, our responses to the food, how it makes us feel, the actual tastes, colors, textures and smells — and when we feel full.
This practice requires a lack of distractions: no television or loud music and no cell phones at the table. Prior to each meal, we need to consider our level of hunger and whether the food we’re choosing is healthy and meeting our bodies’ needs. By eating slowly, we can focus on how we feel and allow our bodies time to let us know when we’re full.
Moderate Daily Exercise
We may not all get to the gym every day. In fact, most of us may not get to the gym most days. But there are subtle ways we can increase our activity levels daily, from parking farther away from doors to taking the stairs instead of elevators or escalators to taking a walk after meals or playing with the children. Anything you can do to increase your daily activity is a positive step.
As we launch into the new year, why not start it off in a new way? Let’s choose sustainable, healthy habits to encourage us to feel like winners every meal and every day instead of restrictive diets. Toss in some moderate daily activity, stir and we may have a recipe for a fantastic new year!
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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