“Dieting” is often understood to mean a period when someone intentionally alters their food intake with the goal of weight loss. There is often a start and an end date, a rigid list of rules, and frequent self-monitored weight checks. The problem with dieting is that there are so many plans out there that promise the same thing through different means- some recommend low (or no) carbs, low (or no) fat, some recommend whole foods only, others recommend shakes/ juices/ supplements only, some recommend a lot of exercise, others recommend no exercise. At best it is confusing, at worst it could trigger someone into an eating disorder or medical complication.
Dieting is alluring because we believe that weight loss will make us happier and healthier. Yet time and time again, this belief is debunked with research. Studies show that diets “work” (meaning participants of diets maintain their decreased weight for more than 5 years) only 5% of the time!
A better solution for achieving health and wellness through nutrition is education and sustainable behavior change. A registered dietitian can help you understand the needs of your unique body, provide education, recommend eating and exercise changes that are realistic for your lifestyle, and provide accountability through the process. This method may take longer than the 30-day cleanse that your friends are doing, but the changes will be long-lasting and will positively impact your overall health for decades of life to come.
Written by: Courtney Anderson, MS, RD, LD, CLC