There’s an old saying in the world of diet and nutrition that suggests that the best diet for you is…..the one that works. It’s all fine and dandy to read the latest headlines that shout a new diet trend, or to hear celebrities dish on what has worked for them – who knew that a corset helped Jessica Alba and other new celebrity moms look slimmer and “eat less” because of the tight fit?? The bottom line is that each of us is an individual, so the diet has to address our personal issues in order for it to be a program that can be sustained for a significant period of time, with a payoff that fits our individual goal.
Good Core Values
Certainly there are some core components that you should find in a healthy, balanced diet program, even if certain nuances of the eating program are specific to your personal needs. You need a daily calorie count that takes into account your weight loss goals, your fitness regimen (or not), your current age, height and weight. Portion control, regardless of your total daily calories, frequency of meals and snacks (if you include snacks) are typical to most diet plans, though the variables may differ. In terms of food choices, you’ve got to like the food you eat or you will just abandon the plan at some point. Problem is that if you don’t happen to like fruits and vegetables, you will be missing some important low calorie, high fiber possibilities that can help you to fill up without filling out. And proteins naturally satiate, so if you are a “carb lover,” you are going to struggle with feeling full for sustained periods of time and with keeping your blood sugar stable. You can fill up with fats, but the problem is that even healthy fats are dense and high in calories, so you really have to control how much fat or fat-laden foods you eat. Hence the importance of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
Tricks and Tips
So what then? How do you create a healthy and satisfying eating program that will guarantee weight loss, better health, or both? Here are some tips and ideas to help you construct that diet plan, or choose one that’s already available:
- If you struggle to control the amounts of grain-based carbs you inhale, meaning bread, rice, pasta, cereals, then a diet that is higher in protein (but not exclusively high protein), with very specific choices, portion control, and timing of carbohydrates may be necessary. Some people with this issue often decide to only eat 1-3 servings of grain carbs until a certain time of day, in order to avert cravings and binges at night. You may also want to emphasize high protein cereal and pasta, and grains like quinoa and freekah, to help you manage your carb cravings.
- If you need structure, then map out a program that sets up 3 meals and 2 snacks, or 5 small mini-meals per day, to help you manage your calories. Planning ahead with portion control are key elements.
- If you don’t know how to cook and you are eating too many processed foods, then a program that supplies meals like Jenny Craig or Nutri-System or a home delivery service that delivers daily fresh meals may be the answer. You can still integrate daily calorie counts and “foods you like” into this kind of a program.
- If you hate calorie counting, then a points system like Weight Watchers may help you to navigate daily decisions that still fit a certain total daily calorie count
- If you have really specific food issues and consider yourself an emotional eater, then a nutritionist combined with a therapist who specializes in food behaviors may be the 1-2 punch you need to tackle your weight issues.
- If you are obese and have diabetes, then you may want to consider bariatric surgery, which seems to have an excellent success rate in quickly modifying your diabetes, while also helping you to lose a significant amount of weight, if you are a good candidate for the behavior modification that has to occur before and after the surgery.
Don’t Forget Exercise and Support
Exercise can help nudge weight loss and especially help to prevent plateaus in weight loss, while you’re on a long term diet. It can also help you to build muscle mass which will help you to look leaner and sleeker and nudge your metabolism. Support groups can also help, and if you have the financial means, a working relationship with a dietician or nutritionist, and a personal trainer, can offer ongoing support plus the diet and exercise modifications that need to take place, during the journey called weight loss.
Next up: Some specific foods and tips to nudge weight loss
Amy Hendel is a health professional, journalist and host of Food Rescue, Simple Smoothies and What’s for Lunch? Author of Fat Families, Thin Families and The 4 Habits of Healthy Families, she tweets health headlines daily @HealthGal1103. Catch her guest appearances on Marie! on Hallmark and other local and national news and talk shows.
Published On: May 01, 2013