Fad diets can seem incredibly alluring. Whether you're team Paleo, intermittent fasting, or have sworn off sugar for good, there's something reassuring about diets that offer clear rules. If you can just resist that sugar-laden snack or stick to the restrictions on a "fasting" day, you'll succeed, right? Not quite. UCLA researchers have concluded that put simply, diets don't work. Drawing on 31 long-term studies, they found that diets encourage short-term weight loss, followed by inevitable gain.
"When you decide to stick to a diet, it's simple. You have a list of things you are allowed to eat—and a list you are not," writes practicing dietitian Lyndi Cohen. "The problem is that dieting doesn't actually work. Well, not in the long term, anyway." In an article for Body+Soul, Cohen chronicles the fuss-free habits that allowed her to lose 44 pounds—and keep them off.
Adopt these 11 life-changing healthy habits for good health that lasts beyond a diet.
- When you make vegetables, cook twice as much to set aside for a healthy lunch the next day.
- Stop eating in front of the TV.
- Find reasons to walk. Walk to buy your groceries, get off the subway one stop earlier, or take a brief lunch break outside rather than at your desk.
- Eat according to what's in season. Your meals will be naturally varied, nutrient-packed, and have more flavor.
- Don't keep treats in the house "just in case." Write a shopping list and buy with purpose.
- Aim to eat two pieces of fruit per day. No fruit is off-limits.
- Stop weighing yourself and focus, instead, on how you feel.
- Eat when you feel hungry—not by the clock.
- Buy one new healthy ingredient per week and Google how to incorporate it in your cooking.
- Sign up for exercise classes you enjoy, not just the ones you think will yield the best results.
- Make a conscious effort to stop criticizing other people's eating habits or bodies. Apply the same rule to yourself and show kindness.