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Overcoming dieting frustrations: Navigating common struggles

Diet overwhelm is all too common: the lack of results, the difficulty of adhering to restricted eating plans, social pressures (welcome summer!), and emotional eating struggles all play a role in your success. With the rise of social media influencers and celebrities touting the latest diet trends, it's easy to get swept up in the frenzy of quick fixes and promises of dramatic weight loss.

However, as a registered dietitian, I urge you to approach these trends with caution and skepticism. Many of these diets are not based on sound scientific principles and can be harmful to your health in the long run.

Instead of jumping from one fad diet to the next, I encourage you to focus on making sustainable changes to your eating habits that promote overall health and well-being. Let’s quiet the noise and focus on healthy balanced eating to bring you abundant health and vitality!

First and foremost, hydration is key. Aim to drink mostly water, as other beverages often contain hidden sugars and additives that can derail your weight loss efforts. Remember to tailor your water intake to your body weight and activity level. Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water is usually a great start!

Second, prioritize whole, unprocessed foods. While supplements and specialty powders seem like a quick fix or magic bullet to achieve health, remember that they can’t and will never replace real food. Focus on getting your nutrients from whole foods as much as possible. Think of these foods as closest to the earth: vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, and pasture raised chicken and pork.

Third, cooking at home is essential for avoiding processed ingredients and ensuring you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive and heal. No time or energy to cook, look for a meal delivery service that offers clean, whole-food, and balanced meal options!

Fourth, reduce refined sugar, sugar alcohols, and artificial sweeteners. Refined sugar causes an inflammatory response in our body. However, don’t overlook artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. While these sweeteners have zero calories and don’t raise blood sugar like refined sugar, the sweetness still causes a brain response that may keep your addiction to sweets hanging on by a thread.

Finally, choose one small, manageable goal from above for the week while setting a measurable target, such as drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Break it down into manageable steps, like always keeping a water bottle with you or swapping out sugary drinks for water at mealtimes.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to listen to your body and seek guidance from a qualified health care professional that specializes in nutrition.

While fad diets may offer short-term results, they are not a sustainable or healthy way to achieve long-term weight loss and overall health. Instead, focus on making gradual, sustainable changes to your eating habits that promote a healthy lifestyle for years to come.

Fran Sutherlin, RD, MS is a local registered dietitian, specializing in using digestive wellness to prevent or manage chronic disease. She has a master’s degree in nutrition, is a personal health coach, speaker, and owner of Sustainable Nutrition. She can be reached at 970-444-2122 or fran@fransutherlin.com.