Going the Mediterranean Eating Style for 2019

By Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute | What makes this “diet” so great is that it’s a lifestyle, not a traditional weight-loss plan that has you counting calories or measuring portions. It’s all about enjoying meals with friends and loved ones, savoring each flavor, indulging in delicious, quality items like flavorful cheeses and desserts, and making time for plenty of physical activity (ah, to be walking on the beaches of Greece right now!) (Image, Pixabay).

It’s the most popular time of the year to go on a diet. But in my book, better health and weight loss begin not with fad diets but with choices that, over time, become habits — supporting lifelong change through tangible, actionable strategies that you can adapt for any scenario. (Hint: You can start by setting boundaries.)

First, here are my basics for a healthy approach to better eating habits:

  • Pack on the produce: veggies and fruit
  • Prioritize good-for-you fats: plant-based oils and other unsaturated fats
  • Eat more seafood: fatty fish plus crustaceans and mollusks
  • Choose 100% whole grains: farro, buckwheat, bulgur, wheat, and oats
  • Enjoy conscious indulgences: chocolate, sweets, and baked goods in moderation
  • Think inclusive vs. exclusive: full-fat and low-fat dairy, prioritizing quality over quantity
  • Provide enrichment of multiple varieties: cooking with herbs and spices, enjoying favorite restaurants, and trying new flavors

What makes this “diet” so great is that it’s a lifestyle, not a traditional weight-loss plan that has you counting calories or measuring portions. It’s all about enjoying meals with friends and loved ones, savoring each flavor, indulging in delicious, quality items like flavorful cheeses and desserts, and making time for plenty of physical activity (ah, to be walking on the beaches of Greece right now!).

You’ll fill up on tons of veggies, fruit, 100% whole grains, pulses (like beans, chickpeas, peas, and lentils); choose lean protein like seafood, eggs, and some meat; and savor sweets and higher-in-saturated-fat choices (Prosciutto di Parma, anyone?!) in smaller amounts.

While there’s no “restriction” on this plan, the predominant foods in it promote both health and weight loss or management. The idea is to fill up on nutritious items in order to indulge, consciously. This approach naturally limits the amount of ultra-processed foods you’ll eat, which tend to have more sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar. Since the Mediterranean eating style prioritizes enjoyment of your whole dining experience, flavorful ingredients are at the forefront so you’ll never feel deprived.

The Bottom Line
The best diets promote inclusivity over exclusivity and rely heavily on produce. Highly restrictive diets depend on immediate weight loss to motivate you — but some may backfire entirely and others may leave you fully missing out on nutrients and experiences. Think about what works best for you before trying any new approach to eating, and use that as your framework for building healthier eating habits that stick.

For more ideas, tips, tricks, and healthier eating guides that’ll help you stick to your health-focused resolutions, check out our nutrition director’s new book: Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked): 11 Science-Based Ways to Eat More, Stress Less, and Feel Great About Your Body

Jaclyn LondonJaclyn London is a registered dietitian with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, Jaclyn “Jackie” London handles all of Good Housekeeping’s nutrition-related content, testing, and evaluation.



5 Ways to Guarantee Success With Your Diet

Are you going to conquer your diet or let it conquer you? (iStock photo)

by Steve Siebold, author of Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People and Fat Loser! Mental Toughness Training for Dieters.

With an obesity epidemic that is out of control, getting healthy is one of the most important things you can do. Unfortunately, good intentions of trying to eat better and exercise more aren't enough to guarantee success, and most people fall short of their dieting goals.    

Losing weight can be a tough battle to win. Once you've picked a diet and exercise plan, there are five more things you can do to help guarantee success.  

Know Your Why

There's an old saying in the world of peak performance: "Without knowing why you're doing something, the how doesn't matter." This applies especially when you're tackling big goals like becoming fit. My personal why when I was losing weight was to take back my life, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. How about you? You need to know the reason you're engaging in this weight-loss venture and then you'll fight more soundly when it gets rough. Once your why is answered, the how will follow.

Write about Your Body Vision

Just like you would write a business plan to ensure success in your career, you need to write a business plan for your body. It doesn't need to be 50 pages long, but it does need to include the details of the image you want to create. It might include describing the way you want your six-pack abs or legs to look as you shape and sculpt them through exercise, or how big you want your arms to be. Make sure you describe the way you will feel when you reach your goal. This will keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

Embrace The Discipline

Something is fundamentally motivating about being on the path to success. The fulfillment the warrior feels when she is fighting the war is unique and unlike any other form of pleasure. It's a deep psychological satisfaction that accompanies fighting the good fight.

Being successful on your diet is no different. Don't just endure the discipline; embrace it. Stare it down. Look it straight in the eye.  When you feel those late-night hunger pangs and cravings, experience them fully. Think about the way it feels in your stomach and your mind.

That's the feeling of victory telling you if you can do this, you can do anything. Instead of fearing the pain or avoiding it, embrace it and the discipline required to continue. You'll start looking in the mirror and seeing the person you really are and were always meant to be.

Accept Reality

The power of psychological delusion in the weight-loss process is formidable. Looking in the mirror and seeing the image you want to see instead of your real self creates a disassociation between fantasy and reality. It's easy to avoid reality because it can be harsh and even cruel, but that doesn't change the fact that it's real. It all boils down to the way you want to spend your life. Do you want to live in the real world or fantasyland?

Stop pretending you aren't overweight and that being fat doesn't matter. Decide to wake up and see the world as it is and yourself as you actually are, instead of mentally medicating yourself with childish fantasy.

Pay The Price

We all know everything in life has a price, and losing weight is no exception. It's your body and your battle to fight. No one can do it for you. For some, success comes quickly. Others will endure a long, drawn-out battle. Whichever experience you encounter, you'll have to pay the price. Think of it this way: You're already paying the price for being overweight, and if you stay that way you'll be paying for the rest of your life. Pay the price one time to become successful and reap the rewards permanently.

The choice is yours: Continue just dabbling around with your diet or really embark on your weight-loss journey and conquer it once and for all. Start taking responsibility for your habits, actions and behaviors and see how good it feels to finally win this fight.