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Ursula Ridens, registered dietitian for Sharp HealthCare's Outpatient Nutrition and Counseling Program, defines the right way to diet for your optimal health.
Each year weight loss ranks as one of the top New Year's resolutions. Hopeful dieters find themselves becoming discouraged when they can no longer "stick" to their diet. Subsequently they fall back into old habits and regain their weight.
Unfortunately young women, including teenage girls, can fall prey to the diet industry and become overly focused on their weight. They may have unrealistic expectations about body size and weight, leading to confusion about what's healthy.
One solution to feeling down about your weight and feeling pressured to diet is to shift your focus to gaining health, not losing weight.
Downfalls to focusing on losing a certain amount of weight:
Pitfalls to dieting may include:
A non-diet approach focuses on adopting lifestyle changes that lead to long-term health improvements. Keep these three tips in mind for a more realistic approach to making positive changes to your health:
1. Focus on specific aspects of your health and actions you can take in order to generate healthy outcomes. Don't get caught up in the amount of weight you need to lose. Instead commit to gaining positive, healthier habits like adding weight-resistance activities to your exercise routine to build muscle strength and increase bone health.
2. Focus on what you can increase rather than what you should decrease. Spending a lot of time thinking about what you should decrease in your diet, like fat and sugar, can make you feel deprived and frustrated. To prevent "dieting depression" emphasize areas of your diet that you can increase like water, fruits, veggies and whole grains.
3. Focus on appreciating your body — no matter what your weight is. Most people seem to have areas of their body that they just don't like. Build your self-esteem by recognizing all the amazing things your body does for you, like your abdominal area providing protection for your internal organs, your legs for supporting and carrying your body all day long and your arms for simple but important things like brushing your hair or hugging a loved one. Appreciate your body and you'll be more likely to take good care of it.
Now is the time to shift our focus to health, rather than weight, by changing diet mentality into health mentality.
For More Information
The Sharp Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Program provides one-on-one nutrition counseling with registered dietitians at four convenient locations throughout the county. To get your questions answered and learn more about our offerings in heart health, weight management, kidney disease, eating disorders, digestive health and more, please contact us at 619-740-4632, or visit Nutrition Education and Counseling Program.