Nutrition: Rethink that diet for your New Year’s resolution

Bri Edwards PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Bri Edwards PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Bri Edwards PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Bri Edwards PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Bri Edwards PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Just because it has worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it is best for you.

Often, we’re influenced into starting new diets or workout programs because we have heard from others that it “changed their life” or helped them lose weight.

The truth about diets is they often are very restrictive. This presents (at least) two problems:

1. Restriction often means restricting nutrients. Whether it is skipping a meal, reducing calories or cutting out certain macronutrients, we’re depriving our bodies of opportunities for nourishment.

When these opportunities are missed, it can send out stress signals to other systems in the body that can lead to the depletion of nutrient stores and an imbalance of how well these other systems are working.

Simply put, restriction can lead to bigger health issues that are much harder to fix, and for those who are looking to lose weight, it can make that task much harder. This is why many women feel as though it gets harder to lose weight throughout the years. It’s probably not your age. It’s probably that years of dieting have depleted crucial nutrients, and your body can no longer keep up.

2. Restriction leads to overconsumption or feelings of loss of control around food. Our bodies are extremely intelligent. They know when they are missing out on crucial macronutrients (hello, carbohydrates) and will send out very strong signals to get you to consume them. When this happens, we usually are drawn toward foods that will get us the biggest bang for our buck. This can be why when we restrict, we end up binging on processed foods and simple carbohydrates like baked goods, breads and pastas.

So, how do we increase our health and avoid the downfalls of restrictive dieting? It’s important to first rebuild the foundations of your health. And how do we do that? By incorporating lots of nutrient-dense, whole foods in our daily nutrition, while balancing macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) to promote balanced blood sugar.

When we take this approach, — whether it be for weight loss, helping with certain health conditions or trying to optimize our health — we’re rebuilding our health foundations to bring our bodies back into homeostasis and make our bodies more resilient. When our bodies can maintain homeostasis, they are better able to release excess weight, have balanced energy (even the 3 p.m. slump) and respond better to stress.

If rebuilding your health foundations feels daunting to you or you’re just not sure how to start, there is a lot of help out there. Start by enlisting a health professional that is educated in what nutrient-dense, whole foods are and how to incorporate them into your daily nutrition.

Bri Edwards is a holistic health coach at Healthy Foundations in Dubuque.

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