Diets can be tricky. Even ones that start well can turn out to be unsustainable or have us wondering if the pain is worth the gain. With so many diet plans and programs around, choosing one to commit to can be an overwhelming task in itself, while others can have us confused with all the calorie counting and portion weighing.
So – how best to find a good diet and then maintain it long-term? First off, rule out fad diets or plans that have suddenly come to prominence as a result of celebrity endorsement. You’re looking for a diet that will work with and for your body and that will keep you healthy, as well as help you to achieve – or maintain – your target weight. With this in mind, keep reading to find out exactly how to pick a diet for you and how to sustain it for the foreseeable future.
Think About Your Lifestyle
It’s important to make sure that the diet plan you pick will fit your lifestyle. This may seem like an obvious step, but a weight loss program can fall at the first hurdle if it requires you to make complicated dishes every evening when you already have a jam-packed schedule. For some ideas about the different options out there, have a look here for details on some of the best weight loss programs around that are easy to incorporate into your life.
Assess not just the practicalities of the different diets but also the one that you have the best chance of remaining motivated and happy on: if you really enjoy snacking on fruit, for example, and don’t eat a lot of meat, the keto diet is unlikely to be enjoyable for you. It’s important to think about a diet holistically in terms of your lifestyle: this is the best way to maintain it.
Choose a Diet That’s Designed for Long Term
As we mentioned above, fad diets should be avoided at all costs: not only are they not designed to be sustainable, but they could also have a detrimental effect on your health. Instead, choose a diet that’s all about the long term; you’re looking for a plan that’s actually a way of life rather than a short-term weight loss plan.
An example of this is the Mediterranean diet; it’s being increasingly adopted as a way of life in the wake of studies that consistently show its link to increased life expectancy, decreased cancer and chronic disease rates, and better heart health. The diet involves eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and pulses, as well as whole grains, nuts, fish, and unsaturated fats like olive oil. Dairy can be eaten in moderate amounts, while the consumption of meat and saturated fats (like butter) is limited. This diet is not just about what you eat, but about how you eat; there’s a focus on enjoying meals slowly in the company of family and friends and trying to alleviate daily stress as much as possible.
Dealing with Cravings
One of the main things that can interfere with your ability to maintain a successful diet is how you deal with cravings, and there are important dos and don’ts to follow on this score that is likely to make a huge difference.
Firstly, it’s vital to keep yourself well-fed and properly nourished to maintain your energy levels: a drop in energy is one of the quickest ways to bring on a craving. Secondly, if you’re able to eat a very small portion of the thing you’re craving, this may actually be a good idea. And lastly: if you end up eating something you really really want to, and more of it than is ideal, don’t let one incident ruin your entire diet. It can be tempting to throw in the towel totally when we’ve given in to a craving (or two), but this doesn’t need to be the case. Remind yourself of what you’ve achieved so far and why your goal is important to you, and then get straight back to your health plan without beating yourself up.
Healthy Eating for Life
Choosing a diet plan that’s a way of life rather than a short-term fix and that fits around your lifestyle will give you the best chance of maintaining the change. Nourishing your body with wholesome food, staying physically active, and taking steps to reduce the amount of stress in your daily life can all combine to create the sort of healthy life that you’re aiming for and that’s well within your reach.