New Year Diet Don’ts

by Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D.

New Year Diet Don’ts

Let’s be real: If you see another stalk of celery, you’ll scream. Your eagerness to lose weight in the New Year often causes you to make dieting mistakes that can do more harm than good. If you’ve already fallen victim to these four common flubs, use our easy fixes to recover.

Diet Don’t: The Food Boycott
You swore off your favorites—alcohol, chocolate, potato chips—for three months, six months, or even one year. Realistically, how long do you think you can keep this up? When you vilify a food or food group (for you no-carbers out there!), you often end up binging on the very fare you prohibit.

Your Recovery Plan
Do yourself a favor: Allow room for your favorite treats once a week, so you won’t feel deprived. By removing the “don’t-go-there” allure of certain foods, you may actually crave them less.

Diet Don’t: The Fancy Feast
Your best friend’s been gushing about her new gluten-free, raw, vegan diet. Of course, you had to try it. Problem is the food’s expensive; it’s extremely tough to follow while you’re traveling, and you’re starving all the time. It’s a mistake to view any particular fad diet as a weight-loss technique. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may miss out on key nutrients.

Your Recovery Plan
Your healthy eating plan should make sense for your budget and lifestyle. What works for others may not be suitable for you. Find a registered dietitian in your area who can design an individual eating plan that’s fit for you.

Diet Don’t: The Meal-Optional Method
Skipping meals is not a quick fix. You’ll likely end up hungry, cranky, and unhappy because you’re not losing weight. If you don’t eat at least around 1,200 calories daily, your body thinks it’s in starvation mode, and it holds on to your body fat as a way to protect itself.

Your Recovery Plan
What’s the rush? Weight-loss (at least the kind that lasts) takes time. Eat balanced meals that amount to at least 1,200 calories daily, exercise regularly, and you’ll steadily drop unwanted pounds gradually. Besides, it’s not about how fast you lose it—it’s how long you can keep it off.

Diet Don’t: The Numbers Obsession
Stepping on the scale three times a day to see if you overate during your last meal will drive you mad. Your body will reflect the weight of the food you just consumed, rather than your actual weight. Conversely, stepping on the scale after a workout to see if you’ve lost any weight is also a ruse. Post-exercise, your weight often mirrors water-loss, as opposed to fat loss.

Your Recovery Plan
Aim to lose one to two pounds weekly—that’s a safe rate of weight-loss, according to the National Institute of Health. A good rule of thumb is to check your weight once a week during the same time of day, wearing similar clothing. And your birthday suit counts!

Toby Amidor is a registered dietician and the owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition. She holds a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University. You can follow her on Twitter at @tobyamidor.