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The Downside of Restrictive Eating: Why Choosing a Non-Diet Approach is the Better Option

non diet approach, new year same you

Post written by Madelyn Trefzger

Is the new year making you feel the impending doom of juice cleanses, kale smoothies, and restriction? Don’t worry; this dietitian isn’t going to recommend you “start fresh” just because the calendar switched years (crazy, I know). 

Studies have shown 23% of people give up on their New Year's resolutions after one week and 43% quit by the end of January. Makes you wonder if resolutions are really worth the hassle; (spoiler alert, they probably aren’t - especially those that require you to restrict your diet). 

Diets, especially popular fad diets, exist on the basis of: restriction = (potential) weight loss, and once (and if) the weight is gone, you can go back to eating normally. This inevitably leads to some weight regain and unnecessary feelings of failure, thus the cycle continues. 

Diets also provide false promises that following it will work for everyone. I am here to tell you that is 100% not true. Each of us have individual needs that will not be met by a one-size-fits-all diet that cuts out entire food groups (and most of us would feel like garbage if we followed it anyway). 

Engaging in a diet may temporarily decrease the number on the scale but in doing so, you may also experience irritability, tiredness, decreased energy, and feeling a loss of control around “forbidden” foods. I doubt anyone wants to invite these feelings into the new year. 

Instead, I encourage you to practice eating intuitively. Give yourself permission to eat ALL foods while focusing on fueling both your body and mind. Of course we want you to include your nutrient rich foods and get your vitamins and minerals, but we also know that if a cookie is what will satisfy you and make you feel content - Have. The. Cookie! We need foods that nourish the physical body and foods that nourish the soul. 

The new year is a chance to embrace the beauty of life and not allow diet culture to get in the way of living. 

Check out some of our non-diet approach podcast and book recommendations here:

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