When you go on a diet, your typical daily routine changes by changing your workout, what you eat and drink, and how you eat. When it comes to crash diets, you feed your body very few calories to see faster weight loss results. Yes, you will lose weight faster. However, you are not giving your body enough nutrients, creating an unhealthy outcome that can lead to negative effects in the long run.
We spoke to our Medical Expert Board about eating habits they recommend to get off your crash diet and start a healthier lifestyle. To learn more, check out the #1 Unhealthiest Diet You Should Never Try, According to a Dietitian.
Your mindset plays a big part in dieting because sometimes you feel like you have to trick your mind to actually eat better. That’s why it’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath, stay positive and think about what foods to add to our diet.
“So often when dieting, we focus on deprivation,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author, Finally Full, Finally Slim and the Portion Teller Plan. “Instead, I recommend that people focus on adding healthy, nutrient-dense foods without too many calories — fruits, vegetables, beans, fish.”
“If you’re not mentally exhausted from your crash diet failure, I recommend monitoring your food intake in some other way,” says Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD† “Instead of keeping track of every serving, calorie, or macronutrient, have a notebook (paper or digital) where you simply write down the names of foods you eat throughout the day and the time you eat them.”
If you write these things down, you will be able to see that you are enjoying healthy foods without judgment, which can be encouraging. You may also notice trends in your food choices. For example, different times of the day or different days of the week can tell you what you experienced at that specific time. Then you can look back and see what you want to change for the next day or week.
“This method of still focusing on healthy eating can help you maintain control but not repeat the cycle of failure,” Hembree says.
Portion control allows you to still eat your favorite foods throughout the day, but in moderation. This helps take the stress out of avoiding unhealthy foods, but also keeps you from eating them all at once, especially if you’ve left them out for so long.
“And instead of counting calories, opt for healthy portions,” adds Young. “You can enjoy your favorite starches like rice and pasta, but watch how much you put on your plate. Enjoy the dessert, but share it with your table companion.”
“Most Americans are way too short on fruits and vegetables (ok, maybe next to corn and potatoes!),” Hembree says. “Ignore all other weight loss methods and only change how many fruits and vegetables you eat.”
Hembree suggests trying one more vegetable serving a day first. Then, a few days later, add another serving of fruit per day. Do that every day for a few weeks and see if you can add another portion of fruit and vegetables.
“Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, along with few calories (aside from avocados) to keep you full and naturally aid in weight loss,” Hembree says. “Soon you will reach your dietary guidelines of about three servings of fruits and vegetables a day!”
“A dieter’s nightmare is staring at a half-empty plate,” says Young. This, along with trying to fit your food onto smaller plates, doesn’t really work.
According to a study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, it doesn’t necessarily work to trick the brain into eating less by serving food on a smaller plate. Instead, when people are food deficient, they are more likely to accurately identify a portion size regardless of how it is served.
Young’s secret? Make half of the plate full of fruits and vegetables.
“This trick will help you feel satisfied instead of deprived,” says Young.
This is Garritano
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. read more