Don’t focus on weight loss in your New Year’s resolutions, public warned

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People should not focus on losing weight in their New Year’s resolutions, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) has warned.

Dieticians said that getting fixated on shedding the pounds in January could be “psychologically really damaging”.

The BDA, which represents the UK’s 10,500 qualified dietitians, urged people to avoid anything that “claims to offer a quick-fix weight loss solution”.

The BDA said they had been inundated this year with people suggesting fads such as the boiled egg diet and the keto diet.

Restrictive diets cause more harm than good

The organisation said that restrictive diets, often promoted on social media, can bring rapid weight loss at first, but often cause more harm than good.

Nichola Ludlam-Raine, a registered dietitian, said: “Psychologically, it can be really damaging to people’s self-esteem, making people believe that they are not good enough as they are, and that they have to conform to perceived society ‘ideals’ and have to make changes at this time.

“The truth is quite the opposite – and we must work on people’s self-esteems in order to make positive changes to dietary intake, focussing on what we should be eating and doing more of, like increasing fluid and fibre, rather than focussing on restriction.”

New Year diets can lead to weight cycling

The BDA urged the public to be “incredibly critical” of diets and products they see promoted on social media or TV.

Any diets that claim to help people lose dramatic amounts of weight should be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), they said.

Marcela Fiuza, a BDA spokeswoman, said: “For many people the New Year is a good opportunity to set goals and intentions, including to improve health.

“However, New Year’s resolutions that focus on weight loss as a primary outcome can often lead to yo-yo dieting or weight cycling, which can be detrimental to health.

“New Year’s resolution diets can also be triggering for those with eating disorders and can lead to disordered eating.”

Miles Lockwood, director of complaints at the ASA, said: “Our rules make it clear that advertisers need to not be misleading or irresponsible when advertising diet products or systems.

“Any claims should be backed up by robust evidence, not just ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, and ads shouldn’t make claims that people can lose an irresponsible amount of weight or fat.”

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