By: Dr. Cindy Dallow, Ph.D. RD
Resolution #1 – Dare to ditch dieting
I’m hoping that most of you are not dieting, being the turbo-charged athletes that you are, but some of you might be tempted to jump on the bodyfat-is-a-killer bandwagon. Before you do, consider these facts:
• Dieting does not produce lasting weight loss. It only produces temporary weight loss. Most people who lose weight by dieting gain it all back (plus some) within 5 years.
• Weight cycling can harm your health. Losing and gaining and losing and gaining weight is worse for you than if you never lost weight in the first place. Studies show weight cycling can raise your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.
• It’s very hard to train for an endurance event while dieting. Your body needs calories (especially carbohydrates) and without adequate amounts of either, you’re not likely to do very well. If you’re a junk food junkie, then yes, cutting back on the sweet/fatty stuff is a good idea. Just don’t restrict your calories so much that you have no energy to train properly.
• Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the strongest women I know are “women of size”. Be proud of your body and what it can do regardless of what the scale says.
• Lastly, many diets are not nutritionally-balanced. They are usually lacking in vitamins or minerals, such as calcium, iron, and zinc. High protein diets are usually low in B vitamins which play a key role in energy production. Sure, you can take a supplement but did you know that many supplements do not contain the amount of nutrient it claims to have on the label? (More on that one in a future article!)
Resolution #2 – Try a new food each week (or month)
Most people eat the same foods over and over again. Resolve to buy one new food (preferably something from the produce section) each week and experiment with different ways of serving it. How about trying chopped yellow peppers (high in vitamin C) on your homemade pizza? Or stir-frying some tofu with your favorite veggies for a high protein, low fat meal? Or serving up some couscous or quinoa with your grilled chicken? Be adventurous and your body will love you for it.
Resolution #3 – Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is not about eating less, it’s about self-care. When you eat mindfully, you are more aware of internal cues for hunger and fullness, making it easier to eat when you are physically hungry and stopping when you’re comfortably full. This takes some practice but it’s well worth the effort. Mindful eating also helps you to savor each bite and truly enjoy the taste of the food you are eating. By slowing down and savoring each bite, it’s easier to stop when you’re full and feel satisfied. Have you ever ate a food so fast that you didn’t even taste what you were eating? That’s mindless eating which almost always leads to excess calories and negative feelings about food (or yourself).
Taking small steps to improve your diet (or your relationship with food) is the best way to make lasting changes to the way you eat. Resolve to make these changes now and make 2012 a banner year for a healthy mind, body, and soul!