In the past, diets were viewed as quick ways to lose weight. These days, that idea is changing. People are realizing that they need to take a holistic view of their diets and consider their overall health and wellbeing, not just their weight. A diet that’s right for you will be sustainable in the long term so that you can meet your weight loss goals and build a healthy lifestyle.
Your Health Needs
When choosing a diet, you’ll need to consider your individual health needs. Many diets are based on eliminating or severely restricting certain foods such as carbs or fats or drastically cutting calories. This kind of extreme can be harmful if you have health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or digestive problems. Intermittent fasting is especially dangerous for people with diabetes because it could trigger dangerously low blood sugar.
Even if you are completely healthy, a diet based on restricting entire categories of foods will not work in the long run. You may be missing out on key nutrients your body needs. You could also fall prey to the “yo-yo diet” syndrome, where you fluctuate between periods of deprivation and binging. This plays havoc with your metabolism and can stress your cardiovascular system and your mental health.
An effective diet will work with your lifestyle. While you will need to make some lifestyle changes—avoiding late-night snacking, for example—you will not be willing or able to completely change your routine or your food preferences. If a diet requires you to do too much work or use ingredients that are difficult to find, you won’t be following it for long.
Instead, review when and how often you usually eat, what kinds of foods you prefer, and how much fuss you want to make in preparing your meals. The most successful diets will give you a range of choices and be adaptable to your reality. These diets tend to be well-balanced and based on an increase of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Finally, before you settle on a diet, take some time to clearly define your weight loss goals. Consider why you want to lose weight, how quickly you want to lose it, and how you intend to maintain it. Dieticians and physicians are beginning to stress the importance of the psychological aspects of dieting; understanding your motivation in eating and weight can guide you, no matter what diet you choose.
Most critically, make sure your goals are realistic. You can lose 10 pounds quickly with just about any diet, but you will almost always gain it back immediately when you stop following it. One to two pounds a week usually leads to a more sustainable weight loss because it gives you time to integrate the changes into your lifestyle.
You’re constantly bombarded with advertisements about weight-loss programs and products, and everyone from celebrities to talk show hosts pose as experts on the right way to eat and lose weight. But the truth is, there is no ideal diet that works for everyone. To choose a diet that you can be successful with, spend some time reflecting on your individual needs and goals, and discuss your choices with your healthcare provider or a registered dietician.
If you’re ready to make positive changes in your diet, click here to learn more about how to find a dietician near you at Premier Family Medical.