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Lori Loughlin's secret for looking amazing at 53: No dieting

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Lori Loughlin is ageless. The 53-year-old television actress, best known as Aunt Becky on Full House, recently shared a number of her beauty and wellness secrets with Entertainment Tonight. When it comes to maintaining her youthful figure, the star of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart reveals that it begins with banning the word “diet” from her vocabulary.

“I can’t say the word ‘diet,’” says the mother of two daughters. “Honestly, if you say I have to be on a diet, I want to eat the door!”

Instead, the actress focuses on portion control, healthy eating, and enjoying her favorite sweets on occasion.

“But I think everything in moderation, honestly,” continues Loughlin. “You know, do I like to have cookies? Yeah, I do. Do I eat them every day? No. If I do have a cookie, do I eat 10 of them? No, I’ll probably have two. It’s just being smart like that. It’s finding the balance.”

 

Her nondieting approach is a winning one. “We agree with Lori Loughlin that diets are generally not recommended, especially the diet fads, which are currently keto, paleo, and IFFYM [If It Fits Your Macros],” says Julie Upton, co-founder of Appetite for Health. “These restrictive, non-lifestyle-based options generally just set people up for long-term failure.”

She points out that the majority of dietitians and health professionals use the term “diet” to define someone’s eating pattern or style. “If we say follow a heart-healthy diet, that means follow a heart-healthy lifestyle,” adds Upton. In fact, she says, “overwhelming evidence” shows that lifestyle changes— like eating takeout or prepackaged meals less often, eating more fresh foods from the produce aisle, getting more sleep, drinking less alcohol — lead to long-term weight loss, as opposed to a temporary “diet” plan.

Another one of Loughlin’s strategies — taking a 20-minute break after consuming a smaller portion in order to determine if she wants seconds — is also based on science. “I’ll eat that and I’ll walk away for 20 minutes because you’ll be amazed if you do that you might feel full. You haven’t given your brain time to, like, register to your stomach that, ‘OK, you’re good,'” Loughlin says. 

 

“We often eat out of subconscious patterns, ingrained behaviors, or for psychological reasons, not because we are physiologically hungry,” agrees Upton. “When you eat a small portion and then wait 20 minutes, you eat more mindfully. It gives your brain and gastrointestinal tract the time to determine if you really are hungry or if you’re stressed, bored, tired, or angry.”

And while a “healthy eating” regimen varies from person to person, Upton says it should be defined according to someone’s individual preferences.

“If a client of mine loves savory foods, they may do better on an eating plan that allows for more healthy fat and protein and less low-quality carbohydrates,” she says. “Personally, I opt for a more Mediterranean-style eating plan that is rich in wholesome, high-quality carbs and fats [extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds] and fairly low in animal-based products. I will often go for periods of time where I eat an entirely plant-based style as well.”

Under the “healthy eating” umbrella is also establishing a healthy relationship with food, says Katherine Brooking, Upton’s partner at Appetite for Health. “This means knowing that there is no ‘perfect’ way of eating, along with not obsessing about every food item and meal choice,” she states. “So if you are making healthy choices most of the time but have an occasional sweet treat or decadent meal, it’s OK to enjoy it without feeling guilty. Balance and moderation are key.”

Upton stresses the importance of knowing your limits, however. “Some people can have a healthy eating pattern and eat a cookie or chocolate every day,” she concludes. “Personally, I can’t have chocolate or cookies around me as I will overindulge — and most people do. But if you can eat just one or two cookies [like Loughlin] or about 1 ounce of chocolate, these small treats can easily fit into an overall healthy eating pattern that promotes keeping your weight in check.”

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