Recently in a slow-moving checkout line, I learned that there was one super food I MUST eat for a flat belly, that a detox could help me lose 15 pounds in one week and a food I've been eating every day is going to kill me.
All those headlines led to one thought — it is time to dust off and update my SANE diet approach. You won't lose 15 pounds in a week if you follow this but you also won't be driving yourself crazy trying to jump on every nutrition headline. Let’s get SANE — sustainable, approachable, nutrition, enjoyment.
Sustainable means finding a style of eating that you can maintain. This is an individual decision. Some people are healthy and happy with higher protein-low carb intake and others choose a vegetarian or flexitarian route. You can be a lifelong member of Weight Watchers or choose a once-a-day meal replacement. Find what fits your lifestyle and taste buds. Stick with a plan and it will work.
There are helpful books available with sample menus and recipes as well as behavioral tips. I suggest ones written by a registered dietitian. Take your time and pick the plan that appeals to you.
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The next step to SANE eating is to recognize that this is an Approach, not the 11th commandment. Stay on your path to healthy eating without becoming a zealot. Enjoying an occasional or even weekly treat does not mean diet doom. In fact, giving yourself permission to splurge once in a while will probably lead to improved compliance with whatever plan you follow.
The N stands for Nutrition. No matter what style of eating you follow, whole, natural, minimally processed foods should be the centerpiece.
I ended SANE with an E for Enjoyment since that is what brings us back to good food. Fresh tastes fabulous. This might be the time to cook a few new recipes and find flavorful ways to introduce fresh vegetables or grains into your diet. Stay SANE and eating well becomes a lot easier.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow @sheahrarback on Twitter.