Every January we're bombarded with advertisements for fad diets, weightloss programmes and healthy eating alternatives as companies make the most of people's New Year's Resolutions. After over-indulging at Christmas, many of us are tempted to search for a quick fix to lose weight or get into shape, but the truth is it rarely works.
So Tamara Willner, nutritionist for Second Nature, is urging people to ditch the fad diets this year and try something a bit different.
She explains: "This year we are taking a stand against unhealthy, unrealistic fad diets, because they don’t work. Although they usually result in fast weight loss, we know that fad diets don’t last in the long term. Research shows two-thirds of people regain all the weight they lost and then some following a highly restrictive diet."
Tamara claims that it's much better to look at your health holistically, focusing on the bigger picture including sleep, stress, movement as well as nutrition. She says it's the "most effective way to lose weight and prevent regaining the pounds in the future."
"Plus, learning to enjoy the things we love mindfully, whether that’s chocolate or wine, rather than restrict ourselves and then binge on these items, is much more likely to result in long-term results", she adds.
She says: "Our movement asks people to stop opting for solutions that don’t work and advice that isn’t legitimate. Instead, we suggest sustainable changes you can make to improve your health and lose weight in the long term.
"There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make healthy changes. The issue is when we make unrealistic goals, inevitably fail to achieve those goals, and then feel as though we aren’t good enough or we’ve ‘failed’.
"Plus, it’s common to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and see food as ‘the enemy’. Losing weight and making healthy changes to our lifestyle doesn’t need to feel like a punishment.
As part of their #stopfaddiets campaign, Second Nature has put together a list of things you can do instead.
15 things you can do instead of trying a fad diet in 2021
- Adding extra vegetables to every meal I have
- Having a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink
- Starting each morning with a 10-minute walk.
- Planning my meals ahead of time
- Avoiding screen time for 1 hour before bed - E.g. laptops, phones, TV
- Swapping fruit juices, squash, or sugary beverages to water, tea, coffee, or milk
- Avoiding low-fat products so that I feel more satisfied
- Snacking on whole foods rather than processed alternatives - E.g choosing cheese, nuts, fruit, boiled eggs, natural yoghurt with berries rather than crisps, biscuits, chocolate bars, or sugary cereal bars
- Being kinder to myself and focusing on positive self-talk.
- Standing up from my desk every hour to do 1 minute of activity - E.g. squats, star jumps, stretching, or running on the spot.
- Allowing myself to eat a certain food when I really feel like it (e.g. chocolate), but eating it slowly and distraction-free.
- Spending 10 minutes every day outside in nature, or near my window looking at nature.
- Taking at least 15 minutes to eat my meals
- Limiting takeaways to once every 2 weeks
- Replacing any negative thoughts about my appearance with positive ones.
They've also come up with an alternative meal plan, filled with delicious and healthy ideas that will allow you to enjoy your dinner while still being healthy.