Diets don’t work, but this simple strategy does. Learn how to cut back on unhealthy foods without feeling deprived in today’s Wellness Wednesday post.
Happy Wednesday! Dropping in with a quick post to share one of my favorite non-diet strategies for weight loss. These new few days are packed with clients, classes and meetings before I go out of town for a sponsored trip with California Almonds. Very excited to reconnect with some of my RD blogger friends and meet new ones, all while learning about (and eating!) my favorite nut!
One of the fun things I’ve got going on today is a class I’m leading for Colonial Life on one of my favorite topics – how to lose weight without dieting. So, I thought I’d share one of the strategies with you lovely readers!
Unless this is the first post you’ve read of mine, you’re probably well aware of the fact that I’m just not that into diets. I honestly can’t think of a more miserable way of living than by dieting all the time.
Dieting isn’t just grueling, exhausting and the exact opposite of fun. As a means of weight control, it doesn’t work. At all! In fact, studies have shown dieting is a predictor of future weight gain.
There are many reasons diets don’t work, but perhaps the main reason is that diets are based on restriction and deprivation. By telling yourself that you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat something, it simply makes that food more tempting. You might be able to muster up the willpower to avoid it for a short time, but eventually, you’ll give in and binge or overeat.
Of course, some foods contribute (a lot) more to weight gain than others. To lose weight, most people need to cut back on sugary food, rich food and processed foods. But as soon as you tell yourself that you need to cut back or that these foods are “bad” or “fattening”, it’ll backfire.
Sounds like we’re in quite the pickle.
Luckily, there is a way to cut back without actually trying to cut back. It’s one of my favorite weight loss strategies and I call it “crowding out.” Rather than telling yourself you can’t or shouldn’t eat a certain food, you simply crowd it out by eating as many nutritious, whole foods as possible, leaving less room on your plate (and stomach) for the unhealthy stuff.
Neat little Jedi mind trick, huh? Here’s a few examples of crowding out in action:
THE PARTY: You’re at a party and there are tons of rich appetizers – chips with cheesy dips, mini-quiches, and desserts galore. Instead of starving, you pile your plate high with the veggie platter, help yourself to some tortilla chips and hummus for filling fiber-rich carbs, throw on a few slices of cheese for protein, and enjoy smaller amounts of the other appetizers you truly love.
THE SWEET TOOTH: You’ve got a sweet tooth – who doesn’t? Knowing you crave sweets most nights, during your Sunday meal prep, you whip up a naturally sweetened or low sugar treat to enjoy during the week. Having a nutritious treat around the house, you likely won’t feel the need to pick up packaged treats. Here’s a list of my favorite healthy treats.
THE NON-COOK: Cook is a four letter word and recipes might as well be written in Swahili. As a result, most of your dinners come from the microwave or Steve, the pizza delivery guy. Instead of overwhelming yourself by jumping straight into clean eating,, you prepare a big batch of a couple simple and nutritious vegetable sides to fill up 50% of your plate. Maybe this simple Asian slaw, simple braised greens or a big dish of roasted vegetables. Or hey, maybe just pick up some salads from the deli at Whole Foods.
THE RESTAURANT: You’re going out to eat with friends and you really want a big bowl of pasta carbonara. So, you start with a bowl of broth based soup, order a side of roasted vegetables for the table and then enjoy your pasta, which you probably won’t have room to finish.
As you can see, you’re still reducing caloric intake by practicing basic portion control. The main difference is the mindset behind it. Instead of eating less of something because you “have to,” you’re eating less because there’s simply less room for it.
Now, I would love to hear from you! Take a look at some of the areas in your eating habits that you struggle with. How could the principle of crowding out help? Leave a comment below!