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3 questions to ask yourself if you're on a diet

3 questions to ask yourself if you're on a diet

There are many reasons why many health professionals do not recommend a strict diet.

Strict diets reduce calories below one's energy needs or limit the macronutrients a person eats, said Jennifer Rollin, founder of the Eating Disorders Center in Rockville, Maryland.

Such diets are not sustainable, Rollin said. You may not be getting your calorie or nutrient needs and this can lead to unhealthy relationships with food.

If your diet excludes entire food groups, you're likely on a strict diet, said Natalie Mokari, a North Carolina-based dietitian.

How often are you thinking about food?

One way to evaluate your diet is to see how much you are thinking about food. When on a restrictive diet, people tend to obsess about what they've eaten, what they're going to eat and the shame they feel after eating, Mokari said.

How flexible are you?

Another good gauge is your flexibility about the eating style you're following, Rollin said.
"There's a difference between an eating preference versus a rigid set of rules to follow," she said, adding that those mandates often come with guilt and shame.

Can you have some more?

With her clients, Mokari likes to use the 80/20 rule — 80% of the time they focus on eating all the foods needed for a particular diet or health concern, and 20% of the time there's more tolerance, she said.

This approach also helps to break away from a limiting mindset.