Every year 66% of people go on a diet to control and maintain their weight. There are many different sorts of diets that you can try, some focus on reducing calories, and some diets adjust the proportions of carbohydrates and proteins you intake. Whatever sort of diet you choose however, scientific research has shown us that if you go on a strict diet, you will only lose weight for the short term. Maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult for many, and the majority of people put weight back on as soon as they return to old eating habits. So how can we stop this yo-yo effect and maintain a healthy weight for good?
Don’t cut out food groups
Diets will quite often focus on cutting out a particular food group in its entirety. Some diets limit the intake of carbohydrates, others take fats off the menu. Foods containing “too much fat” or “too many calories” are considered to be bad, however, this is far from the case. Our bodies need a good balance of all of the food groups to function well. The scientific journal Appetite published a study which found that banning foods or certain food groups from your diet psychologically causes us to rebel. Participants in the study were asked to abstain from eating their favorite snacks over a set period of time. Instead of cutting out the snacks, they ate 133% more. This is one of the reasons why cutting out a certain food group from your diet is likely to be ineffective in the long term.
Focus on healthy living
The vast majority of people that lose weight quickly on a strict diet put the weight back on when they come off the diet, and 33% of people actually put on more than they have lost. Research has also found that the more diet attempts that you make, the more weight you are more likely to gain. The best solution to this is to simply focus on healthy living, and you will soon find that getting your eating habits under control is much easier. Get into the habit of exercising regularly and make sure that you get enough sleep. This will help to lower your stress levels, and in turn you will be less likely to reach for the candy bar when life presents you with a challenging situation.
Eating in moderation
Smaller lifestyle changes are easier to keep up for the long term, so if you are looking to change your diet, don’t take the drastic route. Instead make simple substitutions that don’t make you feel that you are constantly missing out. Swap the white pasta for some wholemeal pasta instead. Have a glass of wine, just don’t drink the whole bottle. The alternative to dieting is making long-term lifestyle changes that are sustainable.
Strict diets and crash diets are generally unsuccessful, you may lose weight quickly, but it is likely that you will put the weight back on. Eating in moderation and making small changes is a better way of sustaining a healthy diet for the future.