Why Diet Trends Don’t Work and What to Do Instead

alex tran running in apl shoes lululemon leggings
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Diet Trends Don’t Work!

I’ve never been one to follow diet trends due to a few reasons. Where my fellow anti-dieters at?

They’re tedious to maintain and I have a really hard time eliminating my favorite foods. Elimination diets never work (unless you have a medically diagnosed disease or allergy that requires it). Diet trends can also create disordered eating (not eating disorders). And for someone like me who LOVES the flavor and experiences that come with eating food, elimination diets make me miserable.

There are people out there (tons of bloggers and influencers) profiting off diet fads. There are 100s of diet fads. Here are just some that make me go WTH:

  • Juice Diet
  • Protein Shake Diet (soylent, SlimFast, protein powder, etc.)
  • Keto Diet (All protein? No whey!)
  • Master Cleanse
  • Tapeworm Diet (eww no.)

Dieting is a huge waste of time that I could be using to pursue my goals, strengthening my relationships or healing my relationship with food AND my body.

I’m from a culture (Vietnamese) where we’re often greeted by family with a comment about our weight. There’s a word for “hello,” but we don’t use it. I began to practice an anti-diet, eating what I wanted and eventually it caught up with me. My metabolism slowed down and I could feel my clothes becoming constricting.

I developed a negative eating habit by wanting to rebel against my family and their ideas about beauty should look like rather than what it should feel like. This emotional eating made me realize that I was eating from dissent, rather than from having a positive relationship with food.

Without having to change up my entire closet, I decided a long time ago that I would adopt some easy practices to eat healthily…and fit into all my clothes again!

What to Do Instead of a Diet Trend

If you want to lose weight or eat healthier, it’s a combination of behaviors that will get you there. Here are my practices that have helped keep my weight at bay and oftentimes even lose weight. At the same time, these practices also help keep my mind and heart happy. Try implementing a few practices at a time and give it a few weeks to see a shift in your mind and body.

#1 Listen to Your Body and Mind

This is a core component of intuitive eating.

Eating should be like meditation. Listen to your body and mind after you take that first few bites. How does this food feel moving down your esophagus and into your stomach? See if you can be present with how food interacts with your body. Notice what emotions come up as you take that first bite. Revisit your emotions and physical feelings with every bite. 

Diets teach you not to listen.

#2 Choose Healthy Options

Whether you’re eating out or at the grocery store, commit to choosing healthy options. I could easily go for a frozen meal for the sake of time, but it’s not difficult to whip something similar up. Look for easy and healthy meal options on the internet. There are plenty of them. Try a few recipes out first and then get creative on your own.

If counting calories is your thing, download the Lose It! App to see the nutrition values for common food items.

Related: Imperfect Produce Review + $20 Off Coupon Code

#3 Split Meals

Sharing your food not only saves you money. It also prevents you from consuming unnecessary calories. You also get to continue eating your favorite foods!

You can share meals with friends or save the other half for later.

At restaurants where I know I won’t finish my meals, I ask the server to place half of my meal in a to-go container, or if the restaurants allow it, I bring my own reusable containers to take my leftovers home.

I always call beforehand to ask about the use of reusable containers because some states ban this practice due to health regulations.

#4 Portion Control

My rule of thumb for each meal is to eat two fists worth of what’s in front of me. If it’s an airy salad, by all means, eat the entire thing. If it’s a dense meal, consider eating up to two fists full of food and then finishing with a glass of water. Not only do you have food for later, but you’re also eating fewer calories and most likely feeling satiated after your pause.

If you need to eat more, you’re welcome to go back for seconds…ONLY IF you need to. Otherwise, pack it up for later.

healthy green salad should be part of every meal

#5 Find Alternatives

Is pizza your favorite food? Instead of eating a flour crust, consider making a cauliflower crust. There’s also jicama toast, which makes for great mini pizzas. Thinking out of the box can allow you to still eat your favorite foods but in a more healthy way.

If you need to eat your favorite foods as they are, refer back to #3 or #4.

Also, meal replacement shakes are a bad idea. Just get a dense smoothie. Yum!

#5 Meal Plan

Plan out your meals for the week. Make a huge batch and then separate the meals into smaller containers. Not only is a home cooked meal healthier (because you know what went in it), you don’t have to worry about cooking for the remainder of the week. Yay time!

Meal planning should take a few hours of your time at the start of the week, but it’s worth it.

Related: What to Eat in Your Meal Plan and Lose Weight

#6 Be Comfortable With Saying “No”

Co-workers may want to drag you out to happy hour. Or your friends want you to go to a food festival with them. It’s OK to say “No.” As I get older, saying “No” gets easier. Trust me, I use to be a “yes” gal from my 20s to my early 30s. 

Saying “No” has allowed me to make time for other things in my life which may include eating healtier, losing weight, reading or working on projects.

Here are some phrases you can say to politely decline someone’s offer:

A. “Thank you for thinking of me! I appreciate your invite but I’m currently trying to spend less money. Please think of me next time you decide to meet up.”

You can replace the underlined text with anything you are trying to achieve. Make sure it is honest.

B. “Sounds like a fun event. Unfortunately, I cannot make it. Please let me know the next time you go out. I’d love to see if I can join.”

#7 MOVE!

Find a way to move that you love. It can be running, hiking, climbing, HIIT, CrossFit, etc. If you currently drive or take the bus to work, consider walking. Make sure you move a few times a week so that your body stays limber and you build strength.

It’s recommended that you incorporate movement for at least 150 minutes each week.

Personally, I love to do yoga, strength training and hiking. I use apps such as ALO Yoga Moves and YogaWorks and cultivate a home yoga practice.

alex tran lifting weights in lululemon leggings and apl shoes

Final Thoughts

Having an emotional attachment to food is not always a bad thing. It’s possible to create healthy habits around food where your emotions will feel intentional, healthy and satisfying. Learn how to approach food from a healthy angle and your body will thank you for it in the long run.

Are you ready to join the anti-diet movement with me?

 

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