At the end of last year, right before thousands of New Year's resolutions were about to kick into high gear, Women's Health magazine made a surprising announcement: they were banning the phrase "bikini body" on their covers for good.
Editors made the decision after results from a reader survey revealed that women strongly disliked words like "shrink" and "diet" on the cover.
In the past, diets have long been seen as a necessary evil to achieve weight loss, but research continues to show their long-term failings.
Finally, consumers are taking notice, too.
Though weight loss is still a goal for many, methods of achieving it are changing. Diet fads are being replaced by intuitive eating, an approach that emphasizes honoring the body's natural hunger signals as a more effective way of attaining a healthy weight.
Once strict views on body size are being replaced with self-love.
And a focus on overall health and wellness is taking center stage.
No More Extreme Deprivation
A cornerstone of this new movement is removing the low-calorie, low-fat, low-anything part of dieting. Instead of living on a strict 1,100 calories a day or a no carbs regimen, experts are recommending that you do away with the obsessive counting and instead focus on whole, satisfying foods.
Why the change?
Aside from deprivation-based diets being miserable for most people, they also don't work long-term. Research has shown that within three years, most dieters—usually a whopping 95 to 97 percent—will regain all the weight they lost (and then some).
The reason? Quite simply, the human body is evolutionarily programmed to rebel against deprivation. From storing extra body fat to introducing new, obsessive thoughts about food, your body will actually work against you in these "famine" scenarios.
As you make decisions about how to achieve your health goals, one of the best questions to ask yourself is, "Could I do this for the rest of my life?" If the answer is no, try implementing a smaller change that feels more realistic.
Focus on How You Feel
Focusing solely on weight loss often backfires for many people when they don't see results.
Instead, focus on decreasing your cholesterol or lowering your blood pressure. Not only are these worthy indicators of your overall health, these numbers aren't usually tied to poor self-image, body loathing and self-hate, making the experience of getting healthier a positive one—and therefore more lasting.