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Before You Go on Another Diet

Trying to lose weight this year? Don’t go on a diet. Research shows that most diets don’t work if you want to achieve long-term sustainable weight loss. Your body has what’s called a “set point weight,” which is controlled by your brain. Try to go below it and your brain and body fight back. As you diet and lose weight, you notice food more, your metabolism slows down, and the levels of hormones that make you feel hungry increase just as the levels of the hormones that make you feel full decrease. Instead of following the latest fad diet, focus on the quality of foods you eat. Studies show that people lose weight when they limit processed foods, opt for healthy fats over unhealthy ones, and eat an abundance of plant foods. You may also want to eat according to your circadian rhythms—your body’s natural cues for when to sleep, eat, and fall asleep. Studies show that continually disrupting this cycle by eating a late dinner, snacking at bedtime, or eating for too many hours can lead to weight gain. Instead, you want to eat the bulk of your calories early in the day, and limit the time you spend eating to an 8-10-hour window. Overall, the best “diet” for you is one that allows you to not feel hungry or deprived, and allows you to appreciate and enjoy food.