Every year Americans spend more than 40 billion US dollars on diet and weight loss programs/products. If you're looking to change your diet or start a new diet, finding the option that best fits your lifestyle can be confusing. Understanding each type of diet or diet can help so you can choose the one that will help you reach your goals.
Part 1 of 4: Adjusting Yourself for Success
Step 1. Define your long term goals
People adopt different diets or eating patterns for a variety of reasons. The main long-term goals will help you choose which diet program is most suitable. Some of these goals include:
- Weight loss
- Control high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol
- Supports improvement of fitness level
- Become more environmentally conscious
- Improve general health or fitness
Step 2. Recall your past dieting experiences
If you've tried other diets or eating patterns, try to remember how they affected you, what you liked and didn't like about them and whether you felt they fit into your lifestyle.
- For example, if you are trying to follow a vegetarian diet, but miss eating meat. Or if you're trying a low-carb diet, but the program leaves you feeling dizzy and lethargic throughout the day. If a diet program has not worked well in the past, you need to consider other options.
- Sticking to a diet program requires more than determination. The program should be a plan that you can stick to over a long period of time.
Step 3. Determine your diet budget
Each diet or meal program usually costs money. You may need to pay for ready-to-eat meals, protein drinks (also known as protein shakes) or vitamin and mineral supplements. But there are also many diet programs that require a small fee to no extra cost.
- Choose a diet program that will fit within your budget easily so you don't have to give up a new diet because of the high cost.
- Take advantage of "sign up offers" or promotional prices when you can. This step can help you save a little on some of the more popular diets.
Step 4. Design a plan for your lifestyle
Some diets require you to prepare all meals and snacks from scratch, others may be completely web and internet based and others may require face-to-face group or individual meetings. Will these types of activities fit into your current lifestyle? Think about how your lifestyle might change or need to be changed in order for you to be successful on your new diet. If you have to change your lifestyle too drastically, the diet program can be difficult to follow in the long run.
- Some diet programs require time spent cooking, while in others you simply eat prepared foods. If cooking is something that isn't your forte or hobby, think about a diet program that involves meal replacements such as protein drinks, protein bars or ready-to-eat meals.
- Be sure to consider your social life as well. If you like to go out to eat or go out to enjoy the occasional happy hour menu at a restaurant, you will need a diet program that gives you the flexibility to enjoy these activities.
- Also consider things like food allergies or dietary restrictions that relate to sensitivities and culture or religion. Many diets are very general and have nothing to do with things like this.
Step 5. Include regular exercise
Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Create a program that includes both cardio and weight training each week. This type of physical activity can help promote weight loss and help you maintain your target weight over the long term.
- In addition, exercise can help improve mood, improve sleep habits, manage high blood pressure or diabetes and improve heart health.
- If you are new to fitness, try consulting a personal trainer at your local gym or meeting an exercise specialist. These professionals will be able to guide you through a fitness program that is right for you.
- See if there are group classes for beginners at your local gym. Classes like these are a great way to get started and get support from people who are just starting out like you.
Step 6. Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor about your current health, any medical conditions you may have and what medications you are currently taking. Your doctor may be able to give you an idea of what type of diet or diet is best for you and your health. Doctors can also advise about what diets to avoid.
- Many doctors also provide diet and nutrition programs from their own practice for patients. Usually this program includes follow-up with a doctor along with regular weight monitoring.
- Doctors can refer you to a dietitian who can educate you and help design a diet program that's tailored for you.
- In addition, the doctor will also be able to guide you through medical weight loss. This is when the doctor will prescribe medication to help suppress your appetite to make it easier for you to follow a diet program. Not all weight loss medications are suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor for more information.
Part 2 of 4: Choosing Your Diet Program
Step 1. Do research on different diet programs
Spend some quality time on the internet, in a bookstore or talking to friends or family about the different types of diets. It is important that you have as much knowledge as possible when choosing a new diet. That knowledge will ensure you can choose a program that is balanced, safe and enjoyable.
- Compare a few different diets that you feel might work for you. Consider every cost, flexibility and viability of every diet.
- Find reviews about diet programs from other people. Someone who has tried a diet will be able to give you honest and real reviews that can help you make an informed decision.
- Also, use trusted and reliable sources when doing your research. Look for information provided by a weight loss hospital/clinic, doctor, registered dietitian or other licensed healthcare professional.
- Be sure to avoid any "extreme" diets that are potentially harmful and unhealthy.
Step 2. Try a "balanced" diet
These types of diets focus on all food groups and do not restrict certain types of food. Although the calorie count is controlled, a balanced diet includes all food groups: protein, dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This makes a balanced diet program easy to follow, as well as safe for most people.
- Weight watchers, also known as "weight watchers," are popular diet programs that encourage participants to enjoy all kinds of food. This program teaches you how to monitor portion sizes, choose healthy foods and stay in charge of your diet. The program also offers online, face-to-face or individual support groups.
- The Mediterranean diet is usually associated with a "heart healthy" diet. The program covers all food groups, but places a strong emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In addition, this diet program encourages consumption of omega-3 fats found in olive oil, avocados, and cold-water fish such as salmon or mackerel. You can even have a glass of red wine (if you are allowed to have red wine).
- The DASH diet is a balanced diet developed to help people manage high blood pressure outside of their medication. In addition to being lower in sodium, the DASH diet encourages you to eat low-fat protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. In addition, processed foods and sugars are highly discouraged.
Step 3. Try high protein/low carb diet programs
Some diet programs focus on high protein content, moderate fat content and low carbohydrate content. Foods such as whole grains, fibrous vegetables and fruits are higher in carbohydrates and can be limited in these types of diets. Lower carb levels can make you feel dizzy or tired during the first few weeks when you start the program. This is often called the "carb flu" (carb flu). A high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet is often recommended by doctors for women with polycystic ovary syndrome or anyone with insulin resistance.
- The Atkins diet is a very popular diet and emphasizes low-fat protein, healthy fats, dairy, some non-fiber fruits and vegetables while limiting carbohydrates from foods including fibrous vegetables and whole grains. Sugar and other processed foods are also limited.
- The zone diet is another type of low-carb diet that focuses on low-fat protein, less fat and larger amounts of fiber-free vegetables and fruits. Most of your diet should contain fruits and vegetables on this diet program.
- The South Beach diet is based on a three-phase approach. The first phase is designed to eliminate cravings for food and trigger rapid weight loss with a very strict diet. The second phase slowly re-introduces more foods - such as whole grains, fruits and some vegetables. The third phase is designed to maintain your target weight once it has been reached.
Step 4. Try vegetarianism or veganism
This diet focuses solely on protein derived from plants such as whole grains, beans or lentils, fruits and vegetables. This diet limits the consumption of various animal-based foods such as red meat, poultry, eggs, milk and honey.
- Veganism forbids all kinds of animal products including milk, eggs and honey. Veganism is the most restrictive diet in this group and requires careful planning and research to ensure all the nutrients your body needs are met. Veganism is not a very easy diet to follow.
- There are several different types of diets from the vegetarian diet program. The lacto-ovo program is allowed to consume eggs and milk. This program may be easier to start if you've never tried a meat-free diet.
Step 5. Try meal replacements
Many diet programs use protein drinks, protein bars or ready-to-eat foods to aid weight loss. These diets can help you make a big leap in weight loss compared to other diet programs.
- The WRP, SlimFast, NutriSystem and Medifast programs are examples of diet programs that use protein drinks, protein bars or ready-to-eat foods to help you lose weight.
- A diet that uses meal replacements can be more expensive than a balanced diet or a low-carb diet because you have to pay extra for the meal replacement.
- Meal substitutes are also not intended for long-term use. Such foods usually contain far too few calories, vitamins and minerals than natural whole foods.
Part 3 of 4: Running Your Diet Program
Step 1. Write down your plan of action
Each diet program may require you to change some habits, break some of them and maybe start a new habit. Make a list of the things you would like to change and slowly begin to incorporate them into your daily life.
- Provide a set time limit. Having a deadline to follow will help motivate you to get started and stay on track with your new diet program.
- It's easier to make small changes over the long term and you're more likely to stay with the program.
- Writing a journal can also be helpful. You can track your progress, challenges you face and your successes while switching to a new diet plan.
Step 2. Build a healthy environment
No matter which diet program you choose, make sure the environment you live and work in is built to support your new eating plan.
- A good start can be done by emptying the contents of the refrigerator, refrigerator and pant. Be sure to get rid of all non-nutritious foods or snacks so you don't get tempted.
- In addition, also do other activities or hobbies that you like besides food. When the urge to eat hits, having work to do to distract you and keep you on track is helpful.
Step 3. Purchase essential ingredients and food products
If the diet program advises you to focus on certain types of foods (such as low-fat protein or 100% whole grains) or certain products (such as protein drinks or protein bars), visit the grocery store to stock up on those items. If your kitchen is full of healthy options, you will be less tempted to leave your program.
- Buy healthy foods that can be healthy substitutes for your favorite snacks. If you like a sweet after-dinner treat, try stocking up on fruit, quality dark chocolate (80% cocoa and above without artificial ingredients), or low-fat yogurt when cravings arise. This container makes it easier for you to carry your lunch.
- Buying plastic food containers that control portions can also help.
- Some diet programs may also advise you to measure portions with a food scale or measuring cup. Average food scales are inexpensive and are an easy tool for measuring individual portions.
Part 4 of 4: Stay Safe and Healthy
Step 1. Avoid seasonal diets
Diets that claim to "lose five pounds in ten days" or "shrink pants two sizes in one week" are generally unsafe and ineffective. These programs may seem like a great idea, but they have side effects, result in little or no weight loss and are usually not sustainable.
- Many over-the-counter diet pills belong to the seasonal diet. Most of these pills are not regulated by the FDA and can be dangerous for you. These pills can also have side effects and can cause various side effects such as nausea, vomiting, palpitations, loose stools, headaches and insomnia.
- In general, safe weight loss is in the range of 1/4 to 1 kilogram per week. Be patient while you start the new diet program.
- Always make sure your diet program is approved by a health professional, government website or weight loss hospital/clinic. This indicates that the diet program is most likely safe and reliable.
Step 2. Avoid diets that are too restrictive
Diets that advise you to avoid all food groups or certain food groups are usually unhealthy. Programs like this can prevent you from consuming certain essential nutrients such as vitamins or minerals.
- In addition, avoid diet programs that suggest very low levels of calories. Generally you need to consume a minimum of 2000 calories per day so that you can meet all your nutritional needs.
- Be wary of diets that advise you to eat large amounts of certain foods, such as grapefruit or green tea.
- Remember, a healthy diet should contain a variety of foods from all food groups.
Step 3. Avoid excessive consumption of supplements
Some diets may encourage the use of various vitamins, minerals or herbal supplements. BPOM does not monitor the safety of supplements and these additives should be taken with caution.
- Do your research on all supplements before you buy them. You can check information about different types of supplements on the internet.
- Check with your doctor before starting to take any type of supplement. Some supplements interact with many common medications, so it's important to have them checked to make sure they're safe for you.
- Always consult a doctor or registered dietitian before making any major lifestyle or dietary changes.
- Prepare yourself for success by setting realistic and tangible goals that you will be able to achieve successfully.
- Remember, safe weight loss ranges from 1/4 to 1 kilogram per week. Be patient on this journey to lose weight.
- Joining a support group or finding a friend, family member or coworker can help cheer you on as you make the transition to a new diet.
- If you're planning to go vegetarian and on a low-carb diet, make sure you're consuming enough protein, vitamins and minerals from other food groups. Source: Low Carb Vegetarian