- Steer clear of diets with black and white rules
- Eat more natural foods
- Cut back vs. cut out
Ellen Himelfarb shares an anti-diet approach to weight loss in Fashion Magazine. Instead of going for sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free or doing other popular diets like Paleo, Ellen simply wanted to normalize her relationship with food. Her goal was to get healthy, without making everyday situations complicated.
Here are her top 3 takeaways from Fashion Magazine’s cover story: The Anti-Diet Diet.
Anti-Diet #1: No absolutes
Most people end up gaining more weight than they lose when they follow a set diet. Ignoring your body’s needs will make you eventually give up. Ditching your diet is often due to nutrient hunger, which happens when you’re full but not satisfied. You need to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full; something rigid diets don’t allow.
A good enough diet over five years is better than a perfect diet for three weeks.
– Rhaya Jordan, Naturopath
I was 30 pounds over weight until I applied principles (vs. absolutes) to my choices. When I let go of rules, tips and tricks (that felt unnatural) and listened to my body, I could start working with it. Taking baby steps toward better options meant my body began craving healthier choices (see #3 below). Soon healthy choices were habits.
Anti-Diet #2: Cut down processed foods
Food that is no longer in a natural state often has sugar, salt and fat added. This type of food is considered processed. It’s usually packaged in boxes or bags. For all the mixed messages the weight-loss world sends, everyone agrees processed foods should be avoided. Even if they’re deemed low-fat. Low-fat generally means added sugar. Nutritionist Michelle Lall sums it up nicely: “It <sugar> acts as a drug in your brain…” Sugar is often compared to cocaine and that’s why foods with added sugar trigger overeating. Cutting back on convenience foods by eating more fruit and vegetables is key. (How do you do this? See point #3 below.)
I wouldn’t eat anything that wasn’t low-fat. Now that I understand processed foods actually work against your body’s ability to know when you’ve eaten enough, it makes sense that I was overweight but always felt unsatisfied. Now I reach for foods in their natural state. And if I want something sweet, I’ll choose food made with whole ingredients like butter, sugar, flour, eggs, etc. I’ll buy a cookie from the bakery section of the grocery store rather than a processed, low-fat alternative (found in a package with an expiry date that’s months away.)
Anti-Diet #3: Reduce vs. restrict
Make change slowly. For example, Himelfarb added wild rice to her regular white rice dinner, rather than cutting out white rice altogether. When you make small changes toward healthier, more natural foods there is no withdrawal. You aren’t shocking your body.
I was all about dramatic change. I thought being determined to stick to something new meant I was trying my best to lose weight. When I reached out to other people because my random and rigid weight-loss practices were preoccupying, I learned to work smarter not harder. Small changes that focus on improvement helped me build healthy habits. Now I’ve been a healthy weight for the past 18 years and anything to do with eating is a non-issue.
We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.
– Steven Pressfield, author
Ellen Himelfarb concludes The Anti-Diet diet in Fashion Magazine beautifully, by asking: “Have I slipped?” The answer is no! There is no such thing as slipping up with the anti-diet because there are no restrictions or absolutes.
The documentary Fed Up explains why we should eat real food rather than processed.
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
Have you tried any anti-diet approaches to weight loss?