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Will your diet start Monday? Try the 'non-diet diet'

For the new year, if you've been struggling with your weight, you might turn to a new diet for help with shedding pou...

Posted: Dec 28, 2017 4:51 PM
Updated: Dec 28, 2017 4:51 PM

For the new year, if you've been struggling with your weight, you might turn to a new diet for help with shedding pounds.

So what will it be in 2018? Weight Watchers? Paleo? Jenny Craig? Low-carb?

Resolving to lose weight? Maybe it's time to re-think strategy around diets

Registered dietitian: Try "a sustainable eating plan that is balanced and is not restrictive"

Some nutritionists say rather than jumping on the latest diet bandwagon or trend, it's time to consider embracing a "non-diet diet" -- basically a set of guiding principles that can help you lose weight and keep it off for good.

"A non-diet diet is for anyone who has ever said 'The diet starts Monday,' " said Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian and author of "The Diet Detox: Why Your Diet is Making You Fat and What to Do About It." "It's a lifestyle approach to healthy eating."

What's wrong with diets

The problem with most diets, according to Alpert, is that they have an "expiration date."

"Whether it's one day, 10 days, 30 days or 45 days -- with an end date, you are setting yourself up for failure and for the never-ending yo-yo dieting cycle," she said.

For example, if you've been forbidden from eating bread, "even a stale bread basket looks amazing," said Alpert. And once you've been deprived of the foods you love, you are more susceptible to binging and eventually regaining the weight you've lost -- plus a few pounds.

"When you put food on a pedestal, and-only focus on willpower to avoid your favorite foods,-you create an unhealthy relationship with food and are more likely to overeat," said Alpert.

What's more important for success, experts say, is avoiding strict food rules -- something that is typical of many diets.

"A sustainable eating plan that is balanced and is not restrictive is easier to adhere to in the long run," agreed Kelly Pritchett, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Also, most diets that-restrict or eliminate foods are also missing-important-nutrients and this can result in nutrient-deficiencies."

The non-diet diet

Since deprivation sets us up for diet failure, one of the most important aspects of a "non-diet diet" is intentional indulgences -- that is, planned splurges without guilt attached.

"Guilt makes you fat," said Alpert. Feeling guilty about your food choices causes you to make more poor food choices, and so it becomes a cyclical pattern, according to Alpert. "There is a time and a place for French fries and pizza and a piece of cake."

The key, however, is planning ahead. For example, if you're going out for dinner, and you know the restaurant has an amazing chocolate cake, then you can allow some room for it by cutting back on your starches during the day. But the idea is to fully enjoy your treat while you eat it. "It's about eating intentionally ... and saying 'I'm going to have that piece of cake and not feel bad about it.' "

Allowing yourself a small indulgence even on a daily basis can be helpful for weight management, according to Pritchett. "You have to figure out what works for you. I like two daily dark chocolate squares because it's typically satisfying," she said.

Meals and snacks

In terms of food choices, one of the most important principles of a non-diet diet is to include protein and fiber at every meal, and either nutrient for a snack, according to Alpert.

Diets high in protein help to reduce appetite and help you eat fewer calories, while fiber slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which also helps keep hunger in check.

"Fiber and protein are helpful from a satiety standpoint, meaning they keep us full and satisfied longer," said Pritchett.

Alpert recommends an omelet filled with spinach and Cheddar cheese for breakfast; a chopped romaine salad with chicken, cucumbers, and broccoli for lunch, and saut-ed shrimp over zucchini noodles with marinara sauce for dinner.

Limiting refined starches is another key principle of a non-diet plan, since these starches are easy to overeat and get broken down into sugar quickly in the body, which can lead to increased fat storage when they are consumed in large amounts. "If you are trying to lose weight, stick to one starch per day, but once you are closer to your goals, two is fine," said Alpert. Examples of starch servings include a slice of multigrain bread, two-thirds cup of cooked pasta or four pieces of sushi.

Eating a meal or snack every four hours is also important, as it allows your body to be fueled without creating the urge to overeat, and prevents you from becoming "hangry" according to Alpert. She also recommends allowing at least 12 to 14 hours for an overnight fast -- that is, between your dinner and the following day's breakfast, in order to get the benefits of what is known as "early time-restricted feeding" -- a form of intermittent fasting. That's when you don't eat any food for a period of time, then you eat again. It's thought this type of eating pattern may help with weight loss.

"People can't stick to fasting for two days a week or only eating for a couple of hours during the day," said Alpert. By eating an early dinner, you get many of the same benefits of intermittent fasting without the restrictive behavior. "I'm trying to make the early-bird special cool -- can we hashtag that?" asks Alpert in her book.

While portions are important for weight loss, Alpert said the quality of food is more important than the quantity. "I think what you are eating is so much more important than how much you are eating ... and when you are eating the right foods at the right times, you will automatically be eating closer to the right amounts -- and if you are hungry, there's nothing wrong with eating more protein and fiber," she said.

A plan for life

When it comes down to it, an eating plan for long-term weight loss doesn't have to be complicated. "We're really talking about how you are supposed to live every single day for the rest of your life," said Alpert.

And that means flexibility -- including those occasional splurges -- are all part of the plan.

"What makes this so doable is that the right choice is not always kale or spinach but perhaps a bowl of spaghetti and a fudgy brownie," Alpert wrote in "The Diet Detox." "It's these kinds of allowances --- along with a clear, concise, no-BS way of thinking about food -- that will help you make a long-term commitment to this way of eating."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1385749

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1538881574
Cuyahoga1358332341
Hamilton987081326
Montgomery679671161
Summit568451051
Lucas51531869
Butler48000663
Stark42232983
Lorain32046539
Warren30404338
Mahoning27463643
Clermont25990297
Lake24809422
Delaware22566147
Licking20767246
Fairfield20730223
Greene20611275
Trumbull20257516
Medina20074290
Clark18170332
Richland16680236
Portage16389231
Wood15926209
Allen14333261
Miami14018261
Muskingum12927155
Wayne12185244
Columbiana11980242
Tuscarawas11204271
Marion10908150
Pickaway10606129
Scioto10531127
Erie9864171
Ross9612177
Lawrence8934125
Hancock8603143
Ashtabula8474187
Geauga8251156
Belmont8236188
Jefferson7691175
Huron7537131
Union742651
Washington7380126
Athens709365
Sandusky6963135
Darke6875137
Knox6812122
Seneca6519137
Ashland6051115
Auglaize595388
Shelby5820104
Brown575372
Mercer565190
Defiance5564101
Crawford5563117
Madison551071
Highland549282
Fulton542583
Clinton533781
Logan518687
Preble5102111
Putnam4900107
Guernsey484364
Williams468982
Perry462254
Champaign454264
Ottawa442484
Jackson434563
Pike398345
Morrow396451
Coshocton391969
Fayette383753
Adams369275
Hardin366170
Gallia355458
Holmes3321111
Henry329869
Van Wert320771
Hocking310770
Wyandot285458
Carroll266352
Paulding246443
Meigs221742
Monroe192749
Noble174142
Morgan170029
Harrison160741
Vinton141319
Unassigned05
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