Keto or intermittent fasting? Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig? Maybe Paleo? The grapefruit diet? What about South Beach, Aitkins or vegan? Low carb or low fat?
This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the many diet plans out there. No wonder everyone is confused about what diet to follow. With so many options, how do we know which one(s) we should actually listen to?? Before beginning any new diet, I recommend asking yourself a couple of questions:
Why this diet? What is it about this diet that makes me want to try it?
Be honest with yourself. Is it because there’s some real draw from a nutritional perspective that speaks to you? Or is it the latest craze all the celebrities are talking about?
Is this diet sustainable?
How long can you reasonably stay on this diet? Can I afford this diet? Is this diet missing major food groups; if so, how is my body going to react?
Does this diet make unrealistic claims?
Healthy weight loss is not something that happens in a matter of days or weeks. If it the claim is too big, it’s worth questioning.
Does this diet include an exercise plan?
Exercise helps not only to burn calories, but also to alleviate stress and build metabolism.
The basic principles of good nutrition are the veins that run through all of the most popular diets: whole foods, tons of veggies, and healthy fats.
Think of those veins as the backbone of healthy eating. These principles are the most common among all the diets out there:
Remove (or at least reduce) processed foods: processed foods are filled with empty calories and void of actual nutrition, leaving your body riddled with extra weight and nutrient-deficient (read: unable to run properly.)
Reduce sugar consumption: white refined sugar causes havoc on the body and sets you into a perpetual sugar cycle. Look at ingredients and choose foods without added sugar.
Limit saturated fat intake: replace high-inflammatory vegetable oils with healthier fats like olive and avocado oils, nuts and seeds.
But the number one commonality in all diets is to:
Eat more plant-based foods: this doesn’t mean you have to become vegan or give up meat entirely. Simply add more plants to your diet and let the meat be the condiment.
The key is that when we eat whole, clean food, we don’t need to count calories, or weigh our foods or log every bite into an app.
When we stop looking for a diet to be over in a week or in a month, that’s when real change starts. It’s about making small, long-term changes that are sustainable over time.
Healthy doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to follow any diet plan. Just apply the above healthy basic principles and watch the needle move over time.