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A woman stares skeptically at a piece of celery on an otherwise empty plate.

Why diets don’t work

Your Healthy Weight

The word diet refers to what we eat on a daily basis. However, it more commonly describes restrictive eating to lose weight. While changing your eating habits is vital to your healthy weight journey, extreme dieting is not the answer. Here are three reasons why diets don’t always work.

1. They’re too drastic

Many diets prioritize restrictive eating over healthy eating. This makes them difficult to follow long-term and leads to mealtime feeling like a chore. When you lose weight on a strict diet but don’t maintain those habits, you’ll find yourself gaining the weight back. A good way to evaluate if a diet will work is to consider if you could follow it for the rest of your life.

2. They’re too low in calories

Diets that are too low in calories can lead to drastic weight loss and put your muscle mass at risk. In the long run, this impairs your metabolism and makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Reducing calorie intake by more than 500 to 1000 calories per day is generally not recommended.

3. They negatively affect your relationship with food

Restrictive diets physically and psychologically affect your relationship with food. Beyond making you feel like your diet is an enemy, this can lead to binge eating and weight fluctuations.

So, if a restrictive diet isn’t the answer to losing weight, what is? Here are three strategies to effectively manage your food intake.

1. Eat mindfully

Mindful eating helps you develop a more positive relationship with food. By becoming more aware of how different types of hunger impact your body, you can employ strategies to improve your eating habits.

2. Eat nutritious foods

Increasing your intake of nutritious foods supports your health and wellbeing and leaves less room for unhealthy items. Fill half your plate with vegetables, incorporate lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains. Remember to sit down to eat your meals and keep healthy snacks on hand.

3. Get support

Working with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized plan can improve your eating habits. Aside from easing the mental strain of managing your diet alone, professionals help you to understand your body’s relationship with food and set realistic, attainable goals. By focusing on improving your diet gradually, you’ll be able to lose weight in a healthier and more sustainable way.

The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.

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