3 questions you should ask yourself about your diet

Calista Alma
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April 03, 2024

Many health professionals caution against adopting restrictive diets due to their potential drawbacks. Such diets, characterized by calorie reduction below energy needs or limiting specific macronutrients or food groups, are often unsustainable and may lead to nutritional deficiencies, bingeing behaviors, and unhealthy relationships with food and body image, according to Jennifer Rollin, founder of The Eating Disorder Center in Rockville, Maryland.

So, how can you discern whether your diet is overly restrictive or simply health-conscious? Here are three questions to ponder, suggested by Rollin and dietitian Natalie Mokari:

Evaluate the frequency of thoughts about food. While a health-conscious lifestyle allows for mindful eating, restrictive diets often foster obsession over food choices, leading to guilt and shame.

Consider your adaptability regarding your eating style. Embrace a balanced approach rather than rigid rules, allowing occasional indulgences without guilt.

Assess your ability to consume certain foods in moderation. Struggling to control intake of “forbidden” foods may signal excessive dietary restrictions, both physically and mentally.

To pursue health-conscious dietary decisions without falling into restrictive patterns, Rollin and Mokari advise seeking guidance from healthcare professionals. Collaborate with doctors, dietitians, and eating disorder therapists to establish healthy eating habits tailored to your needs. Additionally, consider practitioners who adopt a Health at Every Size approach, prioritizing overall well-being over body size.

By navigating away from restrictive dieting and embracing balanced eating practices, you can foster a healthier relationship with food and enhance your overall well-being.

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