We live in an era where there are people with anorexia (an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat) and people with orthorexia (an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy). Every day we hear about new diets from media or from our friends and relatives. Almost everyone trying to lose weight is following a dietary theory. Sometimes people get into extreme diets or diets that don’t work for them and get into deprivation and non-satiation. These yo-yo diets put them into a period of starvation and then into a period of binging where their weight keeps fluctuating. You lose 10 lbs in a week or two, and you gain more than that in another one or two weeks.
Here are some tips you should consider when looking for a diet to follow:
1. See if it works for your lifestyle– You as a busy working mom or a student in a dorm may not be interested in cooking every day and may end up ordering from a fast food place if you follow a diet that emphasizes daily cooking. If you and your family are heavy meat eaters, a vegan or raw diet may not work great for you. If you are a social person and if your diet is restricting your social life, you’re on the wrong diet. If you are used to eating certain ethnic food and the diet you are considering is mostly American, try to make it your way by adding your spices to it. Or it may not work for you, so you will have to find diets that are closer to your ethnic eating habits.
(I suggest your best bet is to call your mom and ask what your grandparents and great grandparents ate and that traditional diet would be much better for you than the other popular modern diets out there)
2. Consider your age -That cabbage soup diet or Atkins diet that worked for you 20 years ago may not work for you now. Your body is changing, and your diet may have to be adjusted accordingly.
3. Anything that promises to help you lose weight drastically like a pound a day is not going to be sustainable for you– It is easy to lose weight for a short period of time and gain it back. Anyone can do that. You didn’t gain 10 pounds in one week, and you’re not going to lose them in one week.What you really need is something that will help you to lose weight and maintain weight without much effort.
4. A diet that counts calories – The “calories in-calories out” equation is outdated now and does not give you the whole story. I tried this myself a long time ago by using the app myfitnesspal. I tried to eat 1500 calories a day and included sugary and fried foods for ten days. I gained a few pounds with this approach. Then I focused on eating whole foods that are healthy but kept the calories to 1500 calories a day. I lost the pounds I gained with the same amount of calories! These kind of calorie apps are good to give you an idea of how your body works with certain food. It is good to have a general idea of calories but don’t rely on it too much. Sometimes, you can also learn from these apps if you are eating too less food or too much food.
Just use Calorie counting apps short term to gain an understanding and then focus on nutrient dense foods for long term.
5. You don’t enjoy this diet– It makes you feel miserable. You and your whole family hate it. It makes you feel hungry and cranky. Do not follow that diet! Real food is kinder. It brings you joy. Enjoying your food is important when you follow a diet. Once you master when to eat it, how to eat it and when to stop eating it, you will learn the process of healthy living.
We eat 1100 meals a year. Even if we celebrate 100 meals a year, we still have 1000 meals to eat healthy.
So enjoy those special moments when you celebrate something or go out with your loved ones to a restaurant or for vacation. And when you eat your daily meals focus on sitting down and eating mindfully and if possible in the company of someone. If you eat your food standing or with one hand on steering, you need to reevaluate your eating habits even if you are on a very healthy diet.
Are you on a special diet? Do you do it for short term goals or long term goals? Is it working for you? Share your thoughts with us.