Avoid Fad Diets and Choose A Healthy Food Plan
Have you tried and failed to lose weight on various diets in the past? If you have, don't be deterred. Personally, I hate the word ‘diet!' For me, it congers up all sorts of unpleasant thoughts, such as cabbage soup and meal replacement shakes.
Another reason for my disdain of the word is that it seems to suggest that to lose weight and be healthier we must follow some sort of downright complicated plan. This is simply not true, a fact I cannot emphasize enough!
However, it does appear that many of us have become conditioned to thinking that a simple, healthy eating plan will not suffice - however this couldn't be further from the truth.
So, how can you spot a ‘fad' diet?
A fad diet may be described as one that enjoys temporary popularity. Such diets are rampant today, with many of them being extremely restrictive, even to the point of being dangerous.
A diet is likely to be a fad if it:
- Contradicts what most trusted health professionals are saying
- Relies on testimonials and anecdotes, rather than scientific evidence
- Encourages eliminating whole food groups, such as carbohydrates
- Promises rapid weight loss of more than two pounds a week
- Suggests that particular foods have the power to burn fat! Foods do not, can not, and never will be able to burn fat!
- Includes lists of "good" and "bad" foods
- Encourages bizarre quantities of particular foods or types of food, such as eating unlimited bowls of cabbage soup, cereal, or only consuming certain foods on certain days of the week
- Recommends specific food combinations - there is absolutely no scientific evidence for this
- Relies on meal substitutes, such as shakes
- Does not encourage an increase in physical activity
If you've previously tried and failed when following a diet plan, it's very important to remember that you didn't fail, but that the ‘diet' failed you!
What plan should you follow?
It's actually rather simple, and something you've heard over and over again no doubt! However, following a balanced diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meats etc, and trying to avoid foods high in fat and sugar, really does work! Add some regular exercise, and you've got yourself a plan that really works.
Where to start
- Clear out your cupboard - throw out any foods which are likely to be a source of continual temptation - chocolate, chips, fizzy drinks, cookies etc
- Go shopping for healthier foods to stock up your cupboard. It's true that following a healthy eating plan is much easier if you have easy access to healthy foods
- Assess your snacking habits - one major cause of slow-but-sure weight gain is unhealthy snacking. A good exercise is to write down a list of all the snacks you eat for one week. Record your reasons for eating each particular food (e.g. hunger, ease of eating, emotional eating etc), for each of these snacks note down a healthier option. Try to get into the habit of preparing healthy snacks each day, so that you'll have a ready supply to choose from
- Modify your recipes - do you have favorite recipes, which you simply can't imagine doing without? Well, maybe you don't have to, check out my recent post, Making Your Favorite Recipes Heart Healthy
- Also, try to broaden your taste buds by experimenting with a new healthy recipe each week
Read Melanie's recent post about How to be Savvy with Food Labeling.
Melanie Thomassian is the author of Dietriffic.com, an online resource for credible dietary advice, exercise tips, and much more!