Diets, Diets, Everywhere…
Want to lose 5 kg in just five days?
Who of us wouldn’t? I have been prey of this sort of diets that promise quick fixes. I willingly ate a single food for days at a time, selected foods based on special fat-burning qualities, consumed odd combinations at specific times of day, I ate more fat in a day than I ever imagined trying to enjoy the benefits that the ketogenic diet claims.
Most diets, no matter how outlandish, will promote weight loss because they reduce energy intake.
Even diets that focus on modifying fat or carbohydrate intake or promise to allow unlimited amounts of certain foods likely work because intake is reduced. The true test of the effectiveness of a weight-loss diet is whether those who follow it maintain their weight loss over the long term. This rarely happens unless the diet includes some of permanent changes in lifestyle and food choices.
Selecting a Diet Program for Weight loss
An ideal diet for weight loss is one that is part of a weight-management program that promotes weight loss at a reasonable rate and then maintenance of that loss over the long term. To be successful, the program needs to encourage changes in the lifestyle patterns that led to weight gain.
When selecting a program, set yourself up for success by following the recommendations below:
1.- look for one that is based on sound nutrition and exercise principles, and not on personal opinions.
Learn about the Author of the diet or program in question, what are their credentials, expertise, and story? Their story is important because as humans we all have biases that are formed with our experiences, and influences in life. Even experienced, and highly educated people in the field hold strong biases and beliefs that make them favor certain nutritional practices, which highly influence the information they put out in the public.
These biases are not necessarily bad in themselves, but we as consumers need to be aware of our own body, and adjust any program or diet to our own needs, as opposed to forcing our body into a specific plan because of the claims made by the diet or program in question or based on its popularity in the mass media.
Generalized diets and Programs targeted to a large population can be valuable, depending on how we apply them to ourselves, and provided that we exercise caution and make those diets and programs work for us in an individual level.
However, it is preferable to work with a practitioner to develop a personalized diet that you know it is based on your own needs, and preferences, especially if you have a specific health condition or concern.
2.- Suits your individual food preferences.
This will increase the chances that you will stick to the program or diet. For example, if you are interested in a Ketogenic Diet, because it seems to be popular at the moment, and it promises rapid fat loss, but you know that you enjoy eating carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, legumes, bread etc.); you might have a much harder time following this type of diet.
It will likely add massive amounts of stress in your life, and you will be more likely to give it up sooner than later, often times getting back all the weight lost. In this case a more balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein and fat in adequate proportions to your body will be much more enjoyable, and more effective in the long term.
It is very important to acknowledge our own preferences, and to be aware of how our body feels with those preferences. Listening to your body and your symptoms will help you find out the best foods for your needs. This is so important, that I have developed a short course on how to get attuned to your body, it is free and you can get it HERE
3.- Promotes long-term lifestyle changes.
Quick fixes are tempting but they never work in the long term. It is much more valuable to be slow but consistent. A good weight loss rate is about 1/2 lbs per week. Anything that promises more than that might be questionable. Our physiology as humans is more supportive of weight gain than of weight loss, so slow weight loss is much more long lasting.
4.- Meets your needs in terms of cost, convenience, and time commitment.
This again will just make it so much easier for you to follow, both emotionally, economically and will relieve stress, which can in itself hinder weight loss efforts.
While quick fixes are tempting, if the program’s approach is not one that can be followed for a lifetime with some adjustments, it is unlikely to promote successful weight management.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a weight loss diet, here are some comparisons, which will help you distinguish between a Healthy diet and a Fad diet
Healthy Weight Loss Diet:
- Promotes a healthy dietary patter that meets nutrient needs, includes a variety of foods, suits food preferences, and can be maintained throughout life.
- Promotes a reasonable weight loss of 0.5 to 1 kg per week and does not restrict calories to less than 1,200 a day
- Promotes or includes physical activity
- Is flexible enough to be followed when eating out, and includes foods that are easily obtained.
- Does not require costly supplements.
- Promotes a change in behavior. Teaches new eating habits. Provides social support.
- Is based on sound scientific principles and may include monitoring by a qualified health professional.
- Limits food selections to a few food groups or promotes rituals such as eating only specific food combinations.
- Promotes rapid weight loss of much more than 1kg per week
- Advertises weight loss without the need to exercise.
- May require a rigid menu or avoidance of certain foods or may include “magic” foods that promise to burn fat or speed up metabolism.
- May require the purchase of special foods, weight loss patches, expensive supplements, creams or other products.
- Does not recommend changes in activity and eating habits, recommends an eating pattern that is difficult to follow for life, provides little social support.
- Makes outlandish and unscientific claims, claims that it is new and improved based on some scientific discovery, or relies on testimonials from celebrities or connects the diet to trendy places such as Beverly Hills.
Whatever diet you choose should be nutritionally balanced, meet the current needs of your body, and be flexible enough to adjustments as your lifestyle, and preferences change with the passage of time.
If you need support choosing a diet to meet your goal, I am here to help you out! Book a complimentary 30 minute coaching session HERE
IF you prefer to figure things out on your own, my two favorite weight loss guides and programs for women that I have tried myself are:
This one gives the option of a high fat, or high carbohydrate diet, as they both can work for weight loss. It also comes with tons of tricks, and suggestions to boost your weight loss potential.
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