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Wellness Wednesday

Making a Non-Diet Diet Work for You

fruit and berries spell out 2020

TANICHE/ISTOCK

A new year brings with it opportunity for growth, change—and a fresh batch of eating trends. Fortunately, one growing trend* in 2020 is a non-restrictive method of eating: the “non-diet diet.” While fad diets and “Lose X Pounds in Just X Days!” schemes aren’t going away any time soon, they are beginning to lose steam.

There’s no one official definition of the non-diet, but part of the concept involves shifting from rigid rules and learning to pay more attention to fullness and hunger cues. This allows us to slowly cultivate a healthier relationship with food. Of course, this is by no means easy, as many of us are battling with decades of diet culture and the idea of “good” and “bad” foods. At TOPS, we encourage members to think beyond what they’re eating and focus a little more on the why and how. Chapter Four of the TOPS lifestyle book, Real Life: The Hands-on Pounds-off Guide, takes a deep dive into mindful eating with practical tips and guidance. Journaling your mood along with food is one simple way to gain a better understanding of whether or not certain situations or emotions are triggering cravings. For example, if you’re typically exhausted and famished at the end of the work day, plan one weekday to prepare a few simple meals for the week that you can easily grab, heat and eat.

A non-diet approach also moves beyond the number on the scale and factors in non-scale victories, like reaching a fitness goal or keeping a food journal. After a depressing encounter with the scale this morning, I personally find non-scale victories to be a more motivating way to stay (or get back on) track. Find something big or small that motivates you, and remember that it’s different for everyone.

If you’re looking for a more mindful way to approach healthier eating, rather than cutting out specific food groups or only eating at certain times of day, for example—then the non-diet diet may be right for you. Does this latest trend sound good to you, or do you prefer something with more structure? Let me know in the comments!

*Source: International Food Information Council Foundation

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