Just about everyone is a diet expert or a diet participant at the start of each New Year. The gyms are packed; the vegetable aisles are depleted; and let’s face it, a bunch of people are “hangry.” With so many diets pushed by celebrities and trainers, it’s really hard to know which one to choose. What do celebrities and trainers really even know about food and nutrition? I asked several registered dietitians from across the country what they wished people knew about dieting BEFORE they chose a New Year’s resolution diet. Here are their wise answers.
EA Stewart, MBA, RD
San Diego, CA
My wish is for people to realize that “no one diet fits all.” Just because their mom, best friend, or some “expert” on the Internet told them to follow x, y, or z diet, that may not be the best choice for them. Oh, and a gluten-free diet is not a magic solution for weight loss.
Tricia Sauer, RDN, CDN
Starting an extreme diet in the New Year will not remove obstacles in your lifestyle that are keeping you from healthy changes. An extreme diet yields temporary results, especially when your lifestyle and self-care of the body as a whole is imbalanced. Extreme diets create further imbalance in health. Lifestyle obstacles include stress, lack of sleep, unmanaged conditions, and not enough exercise. These obstacles need to be addressed and life needs to be balanced out in order to lay the foundation for long-term success and achievement of health and nutrition goals. A balanced lifestyle includes adequate time for rest and recreation to counter work; restful, adequate sleep; stress reduction techniques; and regular exercise. Forget extreme diets. Instead, work on a balanced lifestyle to help you make healthy changes.
Catherine Kruppa, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
You do not have to do a juice cleanse! Juice cleanses are popular these days, and they work because they are low in calories. However, you do not have to do something that expensive or extreme. Losing weight does not require starvation. Pick a nutrition plan that you feel is sustainable for you long-term. This type of plan is the one you should use for weight loss. If you cannot see yourself following this plan for the future, it is not the plan for you.
Lori Manning, RD, LD
Don’t set goals or start diets that you cannot or will not follow long-term. Weight management is a forever process – sorry☹, managing weight and calorie intake works the same as managing your finances – lifestyle changes need to be realistic and offer a lot of grace. For example, instead of choosing a diet that “cuts out carbs,” instead set a goal to decrease intake of sweetened beverages or to limit dessert to twice weekly. Set specific goals that will turn into long-term, good health habits. This process is the key to successful and permanent weight loss.