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Why diets don’t work + 10 foods to help you look and feel good!

Every day I come across different tips, tricks and diets that all claim to be excellent for weight loss and the solution to being healthy. But why does dieting always have to be the ‘solution’?

As science has proved over and over again, diets don’t work. Why? They are restrictive, controlling, unsustainable and unrealistic. They dictate what you can eat, what you can’t eat, how to eat, how much to eat and sometimes even WHEN to eat. The dieting culture of our society tells us that we need to be a smaller size to “fit in” and to be a better person. How can this be a positive and healthy way to live your life?

Diets don’t consider you as an individual. They don’t take into consideration your preferences, your schedule, your previous experiences or your personal goals. They disconnect you from listening to your body cues and knowing what your body needs. We are all different, so why would ONE diet be the solution for all of us.

So, what’s the secret to looking good AND feeling good? Removing yourself from the dieting culture and shifting your focus to achieving wellbeing and happiness. By doing this, healthy behaviours will develop. This is essential for long term physical and mental health.

Good nutrition and healthy eating shouldn’t be a chore, it should be an exciting, satisfying and enjoyable part of your day. Nutrition is not about restricting or depriving your body, it is about nourishing your body with fresh and delicious wholefoods to allow you to be satisfied and energised, and live out each day to the fullest. After all, we only get one body – so let’s look after it!

When we ‘diet’, we will inhabit behaviours that are restrictive and unsustainable. So I want to encourage and empower you develop a peaceful and healthy relationship with food and to help redefine society’s definition of health. I want you to focus on developing behaviours and attitudes that support health, rather than believing that health can be achieved by the way you look.

As I mentioned before, everyone is different, so the foods that your friends may enjoy may not satisfy you. Finding the foods that you enjoy and make you feel good is pivotal in achieving good nutrition. So, I had a bit of a think for myself to give you an idea of what I mean. Here are 10 foods that make me feel good which are also good for you:

  1. Oats – my favourite breakfast option. A high fibre choice that is perfect served warm in winter and cold in summer as overnight oats. Add some frozen or fresh fruit to your bowl (bananas, mixed berries, or both!) and oats will keep you satisfied all morning.

  1. Avocado – I love guacamole, avocado dip and fresh avocado on toast and in salads. They are an excellent source of vitamins and mono-unsaturated fats and are an easy way to add flavour and texture to your meal.

  1. Greek yoghurt – A perfect addition to breakfast, as a snack or even dessert. Add some fruit or honey and it’s such a delicious sweet treat that is high in protein.

  1. Bananas – My go to “on the run” snack. When I am running late I grab two bananas and I am all set. Bananas are also perfect for smoothies, adding to yoghurt or oats and even for baking.

  1. Soup – Probably one of my favourite ways to eat extra veggies. Soup makes me feel better when I am sick and warms you up from the inside – the perfect comfort food. My favourite soup would have to be pumpkin and sweet potato!

  1. Blueberries – Packed full of antioxidants, blueberries are another one of my favourite fruits. I add them to smoothies, oats, yoghurt and sometimes just grab a handful when I am feeling peckish. A punnet of blueberries doesn’t last very long in my household!

  1. Salmon – Grilled salmon, smoked salmon or even salmon in a can – I love it all!

  1. Eggs – High in protein, vitamins and minerals and these oval-shaped power houses can be enjoyed in so many delicious ways! My favourite ways have got to be boiled, poached or made into an omelette. Tasty omelette idea: eggs + baby spinach + capsicum and a dash of milk!

  1. Red capsicum – I love the colour, taste and crunch. Packed full of vitamin C, fibre and folate, capsicum is the perfect snack or as a topping on homemade pizzas.

  1. Tea – I am one of those people that always carries around a drink bottle full of water. But, when I am not drinking water, I enjoy drinking a cup of a tea, whether it be black, white, green or mint. Although I do enjoy a hot coffee in the morning, tea is calming and comforting and is my favourite hot drink option.

These foods make me feel good.

I encourage you all to have a think about your answers to the following three questions:

  1. What foods make you feel happy and healthy?

  2. What healthy foods do you enjoy?

  3. What foods make you feel excited every time you eat?

Health shouldn’t be prescriptive, health is not “one size fits all” and an individualised approach should be taken to allow you to connect and tune into your body. I want you to make eating less about what is “good” and what is “bad” - but more about what makes you feel good.

Bio of the author:

My name is Dimity, a student Dietitian in Adelaide, Australia – and food/nutrition has always been a passion of mine. I love all things to do with food: from shopping, cooking, eating, talking about food, learning about food and most importantly, sharing meals with family and friends.

I remember sitting in a lecture theatre as a first-year student, anxiously wondering if dietetics was the degree for me. The lecturer began her introduction by saying “you can’t do Nutrition and Dietetics if you don’t like food”. Well, I definitely like food, and since then my passion and eagerness to learn about food and nutrition has grown exponentially.

I still have a lot to learn about how the body works and the importance of good nutrition, but I will endeavour to keep expanding my knowledge to ensure I consider each and every person’s unique needs for health and wellbeing.

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