It's not surprising that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year, but dieting isn’t the way to get there. Instead of following some fad diet or restricting what you eat in an unrealistic way, there are better ways to focus on being healthy. This is why you should skip the diet this New Year and what to try instead:
- Dieting really doesn’t work-Research shows dieting can help people lose weight initially, but they return to their previous weight after two to five years, which can lead to an unhealthy pattern of yo-yo dieting.
- Weight and health are not the same thing- A smaller number on the scale doesn’t equal being more healthy. There’s more evidence eating healthy, staying active, not smoking, and limiting alcohol are linked to living longer, regardless of weight.
- Dieting can actually damage your health- Research has found that going on and off diets may cause inflammation, which can raise the risk of diabetes and isn’t good for our heart health.
- Dieting is bad for our mental health- Not only is it bad for our physical health, studies have shown that dieters are more likely to experience depression and one study shows teen girls who dieted at a “severe level” were 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder within six months.
- Weight fluctuations could be deadly- Gaining and losing weight, like what happens when we go on and off diets, can be really bad for the heart and one study finds people with coronary artery disease and lots of body weight fluctuations had a higher risk of a cardiac event and also of dying.
So what should you do instead?
- Focus on why you eat not what you eat- This can really help those of us prone to emotional eating.
- Practice mindful eating- It focuses on paying attention to the food you’re eating and your body’s signals when you’ve had enough.
- Be a part of the change- Try to stop focusing on appearance and judging others and yourself based on size.