There are a lot of different diets out there at the moment. Some seem fairly sensible while others are completely outlandish and maybe even dangerous. With all that noise and information, it can be difficult to choose the right diet for you.
When it comes to diets, there is no one right way. Your unique body chemistry, your lifestyle, your habits, even your mental and emotional health will all impact how you react to a diet and whether it works for you.
So, if you want to achieve your perfect shape, you need these 6 tips for choosing the best diet for you.
1. Listen to yourself first
The latest hot celebrity, the hairdresser down the road, your best, friend, and your sister. There is one thing that all these people have in common. They are not you. And they don’t know what diet is best for you either.
You need a diet that will fit in with your weight loss goals, your preferences, your body, and your lifestyle. For example, there’s no point in going on a cabbage only diet if you hate cabbage. That’s a diet that’s doomed to failure.
So, consult yourself first before you go to another person or a magazine. This will help you identify why diets didn’t work for you in the past and what the best diet for you might look like. Here are some factors to consider before starting any weight loss program:
Your support needs
Social support can be essential to your success, particularly if you can’t get the support you need at home. So, think about this carefully before you choose your best diet. Do you want a group of likeminded people around you, travelling on the same journey? There’s nothing like helping, being helped, and learning from people who are on the same path as you.
If you do want support, then go out there and find it. There are lots of groups for people who want to lose weight in general, for different diets, and for men or women. And having that support system can be key to sticking to your new diet even when you don’t feel like it.
Your diet history
If you’re like most people, then you’ve been on other diets. And then quit them, with no results at best and weighing more than before at worst. This is when you take into account the old adage about how not understanding the past dooms you to failure.
You need to understand why your previous diets failed if you’re going to succeed this time. Ask yourself:
- What you liked about previous diets you tried
- What you didn’t like
- How you felt on these diets
- What worked and what didn’t
- How the diet affected you physically, mentally, and emotionally
- How the people around you reacted to your diet time
Choosing the best diet for your lifestyle is important. More than that, it’s absolutely essential. If you choose a complicated diet, filled with unusual foods, and you have a busy job, a hectic family life, and so many commitments that you struggle to keep up with them all, then that diet will fail.
This is about finding the best diet for you, which means you need to answer these questions honestly:
- How much time are you willing to spend on your diet?
How much time do you actually have to spend cooking, sourcing ingredients, and going to diet meetings?
- Are there other people in your life who need to be onboard for your diet to work?
- If not, are you willing to cook two separate meals?
- How much money do you have to spend on your new regime?
- Do you have cultural or ethnic requirements or preferences about food?
2. Talk to your doctor
Your doctor is the best source for unbiased information on your weight loss effects and what could be causing your weight problems. They will be able to help you identify safe and effective programs as well as any barriers to your weight loss efforts such as medications that encourage weight gain.
A doctor will also be able to help you overcome some of the excuses you might make about losing weight. For example, if you’re reluctant to exercise because of pain or health conditions, they will be able to suggest alternatives.
3. Safety first
Your first consideration when choosing the best diet for you shouldn’t be how much weight someone else lost on it. And it shouldn’t be how much weight you’ll lose according to some expert.
Yo-yo dieting, when you lose and gain weight all the time, is incredibly bad for your body. Unfortunately, this is a common experience for people who go on and off lots of different diets.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, some mainstream diets are outright dangerous. There are diets that are so restrictive that you risk malnutrition and others that encourage you to eat or drink things that are downright unhealthy.
The whole point of going on a diet is to improve your health. So, you need to be careful that you aren’t actually damaging it instead. The best way to do this is by avoiding diets that:
- Drastically cut down on the calories you eat
- Cut out entire food groups
- Include large quantities of certain foods and not much else
- Are nutritionally unbalanced or inadequate
Basically, if you need to take lots of supplements on your diet, then it’s a bad diet no matter how much weight it promises to help you shed.
4. Aim for flexibility
Life is complicated. You think you have it under control and then something happens and it’s completely out of control again. The best diet for you will reflect this basic truth and be flexible enough to adapt to your life. Because the truth is, the only diet that really works is the one that you stick to long term.
Diets that last six weeks, a month, or even a year won’t work. Eventually you’ll go off them, go back to your old way of eating, and put the weight back on again. This is a truth that most celebrity magazines fail to admit to. People who lose weight and keep it off don’t go on diets. Instead, they create a whole new and healthier way of eating.
This is what you need to do. You need to create a new eating plan for the long term. That means you need flexibility. You need to be able to include indulgences once in a while. You need to be able to whip up a meal at a moment’s notice. And you need to be able to stick to your diet in almost any restaurant because the food you eat are commonplace.
5. The best diet is one you like
This goes back to the previous point. The best diet is one that becomes the way you eat. Eventually, you want to automatically reach for a banana rather than a cake when you’re tired in the afternoon. You want cheese-ladened pizza to be a once-in-a-while treat rather than a staple. And that means that you need to focus on foods that you like.
If you try to force yourself to eat foods you dislike, then the diet will fail. And that doesn’t mean that you can avoid all vegetables because you didn’t like them as a kid and haven’t tried them since. It just means that if you really dislike a food, and you’ve tried it multiple times, then definitely don’t choose a diet that’s based on that food.
This also impacts restrictive diets that focus on a small group of foods. Diets like that are not only unhealthy, they’re also incredibly boring. Can you imagine eating lots of grapefruit and not much else for the rest of your life? Doesn’t sound very appetising, does it?
You need to enjoy your diet and the foods you eat. That way, you won’t have to force yourself to stick to it. You’ll actually enjoy the foods that you’re eating and be happy to keep eating them.
6. Rethink failure
You will have weak moments when you’re on a diet. Moments when you’re exhausted or upset and angry and end up eating a whole pizza. And in winter, some nights you just won’t be able to resist those warm, creamy soups that so often lead to winter weight gain.
These kinds of failure are inevitable. But what doesn’t have to be inevitable is the effects these events will have on your entire weight loss efforts.
Too often, people on a diet have these moments of weakness, punish themselves, and then quit. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the best diet or the worst, this guarantees that your efforts will be in vain. The truth is that failure is natural. Even the thinnest celebrity doesn’t stay on their diet all the time. Or, if they do, then they must have a very boring and narrow life.
What’s important isn’t the failure. It’s what you do afterwards. If you use it for an excuse for a year-long binge, then yes, failure is a bad thing. But if you see the failure for what it is, a natural side effect of being human and having a life, and get back on your diet afterwards, then it’s nothing but a bump in the road and a lesson for the future.
And only one of these will benefit your weight loss efforts.
The best diet is one that lasts a lifetime. It’s flexible enough to fit with your life under almost any circumstance and varied enough that it doesn’t become boring. And it’s unique to you.
Your body, your life, your mind, and your preferences are different to everyone else’s. So, the next time you see the ‘latest miracle diet’ in a magazine, stop and remember that you respect yourself too much to force the wrong diet on your body and on your life. And keep going with the eating plan that suits you best.
If you’d like to add more healthy, delectable recipes to your repertoire, check out the collection on our blog.