Happy New Year to all our friends and family at Total Balance! As I’m typing this, I know that many of you are starting to set New Years’ resolutions after having large holiday feasts. I’m betting that some of you are having thoughts such as “I need to lose weight”, “I need to start eating healthier foods” and “I need to go on a diet.” But trying to make New Years’ resolutions that are sustainable in your busy life can be difficult. Many of us set lofty goals that suggest large life changes for only a short period of time, and then we fall off the bandwagon because making such big changes all at once is generally not realistic. Another difficult part of finding the right diet for you is, how do you find the right information?” With all the diet and nutrition information plastered all over the internet, how can you find information you can trust?
There is no doubt that finding information about dieting and losing weight is challenging; there is an endless amount of false health information on facebook, throughout youtube, in magazines, in health posts and in google searches that result in ads and promotions that are just trying to sell “health” items. Most are fad diets or diets that focus on fad ingredients that result in you eating an unhealthy diet that does not nourish your body with the nutrients it needs to function well. Familydoctor.org describes a fad diet as ‘…a stylish weight-loss plan that promises dramatic results. Typically, these diets are not healthy and do not result in long-term weight loss. In fact, some diets actually can be dangerous to your health.’ So how do you distinguish between nutrition facts and fad diets, fad plans and fad ingredients?
The following are some great tips to follow when looking for online information that you can trust.
- Avoid websites that make promises about you shedding pounds quickly and diets that have an end date. A true healthy diet is sustainable and realistic for you and doesn’t have an end date. A diet change is a lifestyle change, not a two-month change.
- Avoid wellness sites, magazine sites, news sites and “.com” websites. These include menshealth.com, webmd.com, medicalnewstoday.com, usnews.com, etc.
- Instead, look for health information from research-based sources such as college websites, the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, Mayo Clinic, and when in doubt, try to stick with a website with the endings “.edu”, “.org” and “.gov” instead of “.com”.
- Avoid diets that promise a secret ingredient or diets that are extremely restrictive, promising that if you eat copious amounts of the product that you will lose pounds upon pounds. This includes diets that push copious amounts of coconut oil, red meat, saturated fat and diets that include only veggie/fruit juices, hot dogs, baby food, water with lemon/maple syrup/cayenne pepper, grapefruits, cabbage soup, cotton balls dipped in juice or smoothie, sunlight/water/tea, and with diets that also recommend outrageous rules such as taking only a specific number of bites of food per meal (generally 5 bites), and chewing all your foods (and liquids!) 100 times before swallowing. These diets are all very real and you can find them online. Please DO NOT try any of these diets as they are extremely dangerous, restricting nutrient or calorie intake to a physically sickening level.
- Do eat a diet that encourages many different healthy foods from all food groups, for the most part, all in moderation.
- Do eat a diet that encourages whole foods. Whole foods are foods that have not been processed or have been processed as little as possible without additives. This includes fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, herbs, oats, rice and beans.
- Do seek advice from your local Registered Licensed Dietitian who can educate you on foods and diets specific to you, and set plans and goals that set you up for continued health success.
Extra tip: Change your thoughts about what a “diet” is! A “diet” is everything that you eat throughout your day, plain and simple. The thinking behind “go on a diet” implies that you are only making healthy changes for a short while and then reverting to your old, unhealthy diet. This is what results in the yo-yo effect; you eat very healthy, then very unhealthy, then healthy, then unhealthy and your body follows those trends of healthy and unhealthy, which is why your weight goes up and down frequently.
A change in diet requires a change in your lifestyle to promote a healthier nutrition lifestyle, not just for this week, but for your overall healthier future.
Amongst the sea of nutrition information that is advertised, it’s hard to pick a healthy nutrition life-style change that will work for you. If you are looking for more in-depth information about fad diets, I will be doing a seminar here at Total Balance North, to talk about some specific fad diets such as the Atkins’ diet, Keto diet, Intermittent Fasting diet, Paleo diet and Mediterranean diet. We will also touch on some great tips for eating a healthier diet in your future. Please stay tuned for that seminar and we will be sure to release a specific date!
For those of you with nutrition-related health concerns, knowing what diet is best for you is even more difficult. If you or someone you know has prediabetes, diabetes, renal insufficiency, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, or you have a family history of any of these diagnoses, I can help! As a Registered Licensed Dietitian, I have years of education and experience teaching individuals how to cater diet to your lifestyle concerning your diagnosis. If you have any of the above health concerns, you may also be completely covered through insurance for your visits as well. You can schedule a free 30-minute discovery visit with me at www.tbfargo.com, or call 701-293-6037, where we can discuss your current lifestyle and the changes we can work on that suit you best.
Good luck to all of you with your health endeavors in 2020 and have a Happy New Year!
Kyah Armitage, LRD, RDN