“I was bad today and I ate a slice of bread (or potato, or ________)”. These are comments I hear quite often from new clients. These comments are the result of 1. Associating food regimens with self worth 2. Chronic yo-yo dieting 3. A sense of shame from eating a food not on the “okay” list of a self or even “professional” advised diet.
A restrictive diet can yield damaging results in terms of body image, enjoyment of food, create nutrition inadequacies, and take a toll on physical health. Research indicates that weight cycling (losing weight and regaining it and over again) is damaging to overall health. As a RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist), I have seen incredible psychological impacts of restrictive diets. Some impacts are social isolation, day being ruined from a particular food choice, a feeling that the body has betrayed the person.
So, how do you have a well rounded, happy diet that gets results?
- Examine what result you are looking for, at what cost, and why-Ask yourself if you have realistic view about your body shape and what “healthy” really looks and feels like. The images we are inundated with are often of undernourished individuals not within a healthy weight range and/or may be photoshopped to manipulate physical attributes. Become educated about what a healthy body really looks like and avoid comparison. Comparison to others is counterproductive to health and wellness and discounts the beautiful uniqueness of you. Also, to get to a desired certain body weight or shape, does that mean constant under-eating and an obsessive pre-occupation with food? If so, the cost is too high for the weight loss benefit.
- Challenge your beliefs about certain foods- Is a slice of bread really a “bad” choice that will trick your body into putting on umpteen pounds? Ummm, no. For example, 100% Whole wheat bread can add much needed fiber to the diet and a plethora of B vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin E and magnesium. Most slices of bread are a measly 80 calories. So, a slice isn’t going to topple your nutrition for the day. Another point, studies show if most of your grain is whole grain then there is a lower risk of weight gain.
- Avoid diets that eliminate certain food groups or many foods-If a diet demonizes a whole food group or has a list of never foods (especially if those never foods are once enjoyed foods), it is setting you up for failure. Another clue the diet is bad, it claims some foods are “toxic”. Remember, toxic=poisonous. So if people eat this food without catastrophe, it is not toxic! A healthful diet includes building healthy behavior patterns with food. A diet that rejects a large number of food/food groups isn’t part of any healthy equation.
- Realize part of result is a happy relationship with food-If you feel deprived, hangry, overly tired, emotionally exhausted with your diet then it isn’t worth it and it isn’t health. A long lasting and healthful diet will leave room for enjoying that occasional brownie or chips and salsa without fear and guilt.
- Consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist- Wellbody Nutrition & Fitness LLC of Scottsdale, AZ is here to support you on your journey to weight loss. http://www.wellbodynutritionandfitness.com