You've been eating holiday sweets for what feels like 92 years. The assembly line of cookies, cakes, spirited cocktails, and Christmas ham has been working at an all-time high and you have been more than happy to partake. It's the holidays, right? You wait all year for those sugar cookies that Aunt Ruthie brings to the White Elephant gift exchange!
Then the new year comes along and, as you've done for years, you take a look at your resolution options. Learn to knit? Unnecessary. Run a marathon? LOL you aren't that motivated. Join the cult that is a trendy diet? That you can do! Your Instagram followers are sure to love your new, inspiring step-by-step replay in this health journey. And you've probably got friends that are doing it, too! Everyone knows SOMEONE who's joined the Keto, Whole 30, paleo, intermittent fasting, or whatever cult-like diet trend is the hottest today.
While this may seem like the perfect resolution, so many individuals make a resolution for health that turns into a chore that cuts corners. Have you actually looked into these diets? The rules, the counting, the meal times, the protein powders! If you actually "obey" what the diet commands, your entire day can easily become overwhelmed by macros, dos and don'ts, and that one cookie that you can't eat but also can't stop thinking about. Fad diets, while necessary and helpful for some who may medically need a kickstart, rarely create sustainable habits that have long-term benefits for your health.
Many of these diets, when not discussed with a certified nutritionist, shock your body into submission, causing the immediate loss of water weight (the "easy" weight to lose). It's a short-term fix that can be really motivating when you're looking for those fast results. Of course, you want to lose nine pounds in three weeks!
The flip side of this is that most individuals lose more than their water weight while participating in fad diets. Muscle mass is also seen to decrease during many fads diets, since the diet's requirements often ask you to drastically lower your calorie intake, leaving you weak or even dehydrated. Depriving your body of nutrients that it needs may help the number on the scale go down, but it may not help your overall health and muscle growth.
The biggest issue that many nutritionists see with fad diets is that they almost always experience some sort of regression upon completion. If you are eating very little for a month and then feel a certain "I'm free!" sensation once your diet's end date has come, you'll probably welcome those restricted foods back with open arms! You're down a couple of pounds, you've earned it! Right? Wrong. Your body is not going to appreciate being jolted up and down like it's an enthusiastic five year old on a teeter-totter. It needs consistency to grow and learn new habits. Going from a fad diet back to whatever you were doing before is only showing your body that health is one or the other, all-in or not at all.
If you really want to make a healthy resolution in 2020, you need something you can commit to for the long haul. Something that asks you to circle your life around what is on your dinner plate will not last long, trust me. Have you met someone who is doing Whole 30 for the rest of their life? Doubtful. But someone who incorporates veggies, believes in the power of a long walk, and makes the conscious decision to drink plenty of water? That you can do until you're old and gray. Looking at small, realistic habits that can be formed will go farther (and longer) for your health than any internet-crazed fad ever will.