Ditch New Year’s crash dieting and what you can do instead

December 28, 2021
Ditch New Year’s crash/faddy dieting and what you can do instead

Guilty from the holiday binge and with less than a week to New Year’s, many people have begun planning their 2022 dietary regime to get back on track with their weight, but most will – unfortunately – be unable to stick to it for various reasons. Instead of “crash diets” that are unsustainable in the long run, why not try managing your weight in a healthier way with some recommendations from Natalie Stein, an exercise, fitness, and nutrition expert at California-based Lark Health.

Stein’s very first and basic tip is to drink more water – based on research on losing weight by increasing water consumption. Adding an extra glass of water to up your daily intake or before each meal is said to stave off binge-eating, as the stomach is already filled.

She further recommends consuming less or no alcohol. Besides being able to control excessive snack and drink, you will reduce the risk for certain diseases such as liver disease and stand to improve sleep.

Eating more non-starchy vegetables can easily take the place of higher-calorie, less filling foods, Stein said. You can aim for about 3 to 5 servings a day, or, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have vegetables for snacks, such as celery with peanut butter or skewers with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Add lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, or other vegetables to sandwiches and salads; vegetables can also be cooked into sauces, soups, stews, and casseroles.

The same article in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links increased fruit consumption to healthy weight management. As a bonus, swapping fruit for sugar-sweetened desserts lowers your intake of added sugars and other refined ingredients.

Stein also mentioned several adaptations that can be made to your lifestyle to supplement good dietary habits:

. Log your weight

Your first weigh-in after the New Year can give you a baseline, while weekly weigh-ins can assess progress, according to research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Weigh yourself in the morning before eating, wearing only light clothing and do not worry about slight daily fluctuations. At the same time, celebrate your accomplishments – a small step in proper weight management is better than none at all.

. Hang out with the right crowd

Friends play a huge role in the success of your weight management – your friends may be a bigger influence than even your significant other in matters concerning food and lifestyle. A variety of activities such as walking, sports, or volunteering can take the place of going out to eat with friends.

. Be realistic

Set achievable and sustainable weight management or weight loss goals as unreasonable goals can be discouraging. For example, Lark Health never sets a goal of unhealthy weight loss, such as losing more than 2 pounds (0.91kg) per week.

For fitness and wellness entrepreneur and Director Penny Weston, Made Wellness Centre, “a long-term plan that will be kind to your body and good for your mental health” is essential to healthy weight management.

“In order to reach and sustain a healthy weight, whatever that may be, the most sustainable way to achieve it is through a combination of fitness, lifestyle and nutrition changes, rather than a faddy diet,” Weston said. “Regular exercise and eating a balanced diet are the key to losing weight in a sustainable way. This means keeping a check on portion sizes, cutting down on high-fat, high-salt processed and high-sugar foods, and eating more lean proteins.”

“I’m a firm believer in eating a healthy diet rich in all the essential nutrients that come from plant-based goodness, such as lots of fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses and plant-based proteins. This, combined with a manageable, realistic exercise regime, is a far healthier way to achieve a maintainable weight.”

Read: Taiwan CECC sets strict regulations for New Year’s to curb virus activity

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