Fitness & Wellness at the J: Are Diets Dead?

by Susan Donovan, Director of Fitness & Wellness Services, JCC of Greater New Haven

Time and time again, we search for that ideal diet, that magic formula guaranteed to bring us to our perfect weight. And, time and time again, we succeed, only to eventually fail. Not only do we usually gain back whatever weight loss has been achieved, but this “yo-yo” cycle eventually affects our metabolism. When you lose by drastically cutting calories, it comes from fat, water and muscle tissue. When you gain it back, those calories get stored as body fat. Since muscle tissue is metabolically active and fat is not, this will eventually affect the rate your body burns calories—plus the psychological effects it has on your confidence and willpower!

So, as we approach the end of 2020, ask yourself this: is it time to get real about your wellness goals and wake up to the fact that following a regimen of temporary deprivation to achieve a health or aesthetic goal is not the answer? If healthy eating is for life, shouldn’t building lifelong habits be the focus?


1. Shift your focus on what you want to gain instead of what you want to lose. Let go of determining success being measured by the bathroom scale. Instead, look at what will you gain: physical and mental health, more energy, stronger immune system, and feeling better in mind and body, to name a few.

2. Define your “why.” Target a deeper motivation as to why you want to lose weight in the first place; let this steer you in your behavior change.

3. Set small steps and realistic goals as you work toward self-improvement. Focus on one new habit at a time, such as tuning into your true hunger and satiety signals, choosing nutrition over empty calories, and replacing negative self-talk with kind and positive thoughts.

Close the year of 2020 with a commitment to get real and stop kidding yourself. Get off the dieting “merry-go-round” and commit to a healthier mind, body and spirit. Let your attitude be one of self-care, body acceptance, and lifestyle changes for a healthier and stronger body. Think of exercise as activity for your body; after all our bodies were designed to move!


Get the support you need with in-person or virtual personal training, health coaching or nutrition guidance at the JCC. For more information, contact

Subscribe to posts