Will your diet start Monday? Try the 'non-diet diet'

For the new year, if you've been struggling with your weight, you might turn to a new diet for help with shedding pou...

Posted: Dec 28, 2017 3:51 PM
Updated: Dec 28, 2017 3:51 PM

For the new year, if you've been struggling with your weight, you might turn to a new diet for help with shedding pounds.

So what will it be in 2018? Weight Watchers? Paleo? Jenny Craig? Low-carb?

Resolving to lose weight? Maybe it's time to re-think strategy around diets

Registered dietitian: Try "a sustainable eating plan that is balanced and is not restrictive"

Some nutritionists say rather than jumping on the latest diet bandwagon or trend, it's time to consider embracing a "non-diet diet" -- basically a set of guiding principles that can help you lose weight and keep it off for good.

"A non-diet diet is for anyone who has ever said 'The diet starts Monday,' " said Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian and author of "The Diet Detox: Why Your Diet is Making You Fat and What to Do About It." "It's a lifestyle approach to healthy eating."

What's wrong with diets

The problem with most diets, according to Alpert, is that they have an "expiration date."

"Whether it's one day, 10 days, 30 days or 45 days -- with an end date, you are setting yourself up for failure and for the never-ending yo-yo dieting cycle," she said.

For example, if you've been forbidden from eating bread, "even a stale bread basket looks amazing," said Alpert. And once you've been deprived of the foods you love, you are more susceptible to binging and eventually regaining the weight you've lost -- plus a few pounds.

"When you put food on a pedestal, and-only focus on willpower to avoid your favorite foods,-you create an unhealthy relationship with food and are more likely to overeat," said Alpert.

What's more important for success, experts say, is avoiding strict food rules -- something that is typical of many diets.

"A sustainable eating plan that is balanced and is not restrictive is easier to adhere to in the long run," agreed Kelly Pritchett, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Also, most diets that-restrict or eliminate foods are also missing-important-nutrients and this can result in nutrient-deficiencies."

The non-diet diet

Since deprivation sets us up for diet failure, one of the most important aspects of a "non-diet diet" is intentional indulgences -- that is, planned splurges without guilt attached.

"Guilt makes you fat," said Alpert. Feeling guilty about your food choices causes you to make more poor food choices, and so it becomes a cyclical pattern, according to Alpert. "There is a time and a place for French fries and pizza and a piece of cake."

The key, however, is planning ahead. For example, if you're going out for dinner, and you know the restaurant has an amazing chocolate cake, then you can allow some room for it by cutting back on your starches during the day. But the idea is to fully enjoy your treat while you eat it. "It's about eating intentionally ... and saying 'I'm going to have that piece of cake and not feel bad about it.' "

Allowing yourself a small indulgence even on a daily basis can be helpful for weight management, according to Pritchett. "You have to figure out what works for you. I like two daily dark chocolate squares because it's typically satisfying," she said.

Meals and snacks

In terms of food choices, one of the most important principles of a non-diet diet is to include protein and fiber at every meal, and either nutrient for a snack, according to Alpert.

Diets high in protein help to reduce appetite and help you eat fewer calories, while fiber slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which also helps keep hunger in check.

"Fiber and protein are helpful from a satiety standpoint, meaning they keep us full and satisfied longer," said Pritchett.

Alpert recommends an omelet filled with spinach and Cheddar cheese for breakfast; a chopped romaine salad with chicken, cucumbers, and broccoli for lunch, and saut-ed shrimp over zucchini noodles with marinara sauce for dinner.

Limiting refined starches is another key principle of a non-diet plan, since these starches are easy to overeat and get broken down into sugar quickly in the body, which can lead to increased fat storage when they are consumed in large amounts. "If you are trying to lose weight, stick to one starch per day, but once you are closer to your goals, two is fine," said Alpert. Examples of starch servings include a slice of multigrain bread, two-thirds cup of cooked pasta or four pieces of sushi.

Eating a meal or snack every four hours is also important, as it allows your body to be fueled without creating the urge to overeat, and prevents you from becoming "hangry" according to Alpert. She also recommends allowing at least 12 to 14 hours for an overnight fast -- that is, between your dinner and the following day's breakfast, in order to get the benefits of what is known as "early time-restricted feeding" -- a form of intermittent fasting. That's when you don't eat any food for a period of time, then you eat again. It's thought this type of eating pattern may help with weight loss.

"People can't stick to fasting for two days a week or only eating for a couple of hours during the day," said Alpert. By eating an early dinner, you get many of the same benefits of intermittent fasting without the restrictive behavior. "I'm trying to make the early-bird special cool -- can we hashtag that?" asks Alpert in her book.

While portions are important for weight loss, Alpert said the quality of food is more important than the quantity. "I think what you are eating is so much more important than how much you are eating ... and when you are eating the right foods at the right times, you will automatically be eating closer to the right amounts -- and if you are hungry, there's nothing wrong with eating more protein and fiber," she said.

A plan for life

When it comes down to it, an eating plan for long-term weight loss doesn't have to be complicated. "We're really talking about how you are supposed to live every single day for the rest of your life," said Alpert.

And that means flexibility -- including those occasional splurges -- are all part of the plan.

"What makes this so doable is that the right choice is not always kale or spinach but perhaps a bowl of spaghetti and a fudgy brownie," Alpert wrote in "The Diet Detox." "It's these kinds of allowances --- along with a clear, concise, no-BS way of thinking about food -- that will help you make a long-term commitment to this way of eating."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather