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New Decade New You: Choosing and Sticking to a Diet
New Decade New You: Choosing and Sticking to a Diet

New Decade New You: Choosing and Sticking to a Diet

Diet fads come and go, often making healthy eating and weight loss frustrating. So, what is most important when looking for an eating plan that will promote better health and possibly shed some of those unwanted pounds? Here are a few tips to think about to help you make an informed decision about choosing a diet or eating plan that best fits your needs…and sticking with it!

  • Sustainability. Choose an eating plan that you can follow for the long-term, not because it’s trendy or popular.
  • Healthfully balanced. Choose a diet that includes foods from all food groups such as dairy, lean protein, grains, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats, without eliminating an entire food group. See ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information on food groups.
  • Lifestyle-friendly. When you start hearing about new diets like keto and intermittent fasting, ask yourself these questions first: Can my family or significant others in my life support this plan? Will this be too complicated and cause more stress? Sticking to a diet or eating plan is much easier when it fits within the lifestyle you already lead.
  • Palatability. Choose a plan that includes foods you enjoy eating.
  • Research. Choose a diet or eating plan with scientific data showing positive effects on disease prevention and risk. See the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 for more information.

Diet trends often become popular regardless of scientific research on their long-term health effects. Why is that? Unfortunately, success is often defined as achieving significant weight loss instead of optimizing health or decreasing disease risk. Often, people want a quick solution which may not prioritize health. Today, terms like “keto” and “intermittent fasting” are commonly knowledge. Keto fans may not be pleased to learn that high-fat, extremely low carbohydrate plan has not been shown to work for better in the long-term than any other diet. Intermittent-fasting is not sustainable long-term for most people, either, and may not support results different than other more balanced and sustainable weight loss plans.

The best route may be not to follow and worry about sticking to a “diet” at all, but creating your own healthy eating plan instead. By learning more about nutrition and its role in the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, you can create your own meal plan based on the principles outlined above that will help you lose weight while improving health and well-being. Instead of going to a restaurant and looking for specialty items to fit in your diet, have a smaller portion of items on the menu, possibly taking home your leftovers. Change habits slowly to make larger gains in the long run. Be mindful of what you are eating as well as your fullness and hunger cues. Before choosing a diet or plan for yourself, connect with a registered dietitian nutritionist who can help guide and support your efforts to improve your eating and your health through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Ready to start cooking? Explore our collection of Healthy Living recipes that include high fiber, plant-based, low-carb, low-fat and gluten-aware ideas.

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