Diets are a big thing in the health world, and there’s all kinds of thoughts and opinions about them depending on who you’re talking to. Some people believe they’re the best for getting your shape back down to size, and there’s some who know certain diets are good at controlling the symptoms of certain disorders, and use them from a strictly medical viewpoint. And then there’s the people who hate the idea of diets, and use the amount of fads that pass through the media as proof they’re the worst things in the world!
But all in all, there’s some truth to both sides of this equation. Your diet is what you eat on a daily basis, and thus, it’s what you live off of and how your body takes nutrition from the world. Sure, you can change your diet whenever you need to, but you need to be sure that what you’re eating is healthy for you, and gives you what you need.
So with all that in mind, there’s a good chance you’ve got some learning to do. After all, the more you know about the foods that go into your body, the better you’ll be at feeding yourself properly.
Get your plate out and cut it into five, and then use a meal planner to allocate the food groups you need to each sector - it’s simple! (Image)
What Could You Stick To?
A quick point to start, but an important one nonetheless! Diets need to be plans you can commit to, no matter your current relationship with food. After all, if you only go a couple weeks or so on a 6 month long plan, you’re never going to shred the weight you’ve wanted to lose for a couple of years now.
But more than that - if you can’t commit to a diet, it means it’s not satisfying. That can really sour your perception of meal time.
What Do You Like to Eat?
What does your current diet look like? What kind of foods are never in short supply in your household? Maybe your eating habits have recently changed, thanks to the addition of kids in your life, and you want to encourage them to always chow down on something green and good for you?
Because if you’re looking to change your diet to one that’s best for you, you’re going to have to do so slowly, to make sure your body gets used to it. Otherwise all kinds of cravings, and waking up in the middle of the night to go on a secret midnight feast in the kitchen, is going to become a regular occurance for you! And if the kids catch you, it’s going to be very hard to explain!
So make sure the diet you’re thinking of trying is one that promotes the foods you already like to eat, except cooked or presented in healthy ways. Say, roasting your vegetables instead of boiling them, to help them keep more of the nutrients packed inside them, and to also give them a little more flavour. A bit of salt and pepper on the broccoli and even the kids won’t complain anymore!
Where and When Do You Eat?
The diet that’s going to work best for you needs to be one that focuses on you, not anyone else. It needs to be a plan that takes into account your eating habits, and particularly, when you like to eat, and where you like to eat. It’s no good trying to stick to one that just focuses on what you’re cooking up in the kitchen at home - your best diet plan has to consider the night’s out at restaurants, the midday cafe meetings with your besties, and the takeaways you order in on a semi-regular basis when you just can’t be bothered to cook.
Sure, maybe you’re someone who keeps all of these things to a minimum anyway, so they won’t be too much trouble to cut out of a meal plan that you’re comfortable with following and excited to try. But when it comes down to it, we wouldn’t be living a fun and enriching life if we didn’t eat out every now and then!
So find yourself a diet that allows you to eat at your own frequency; if you don’t eat three square meals per day, and the plan you’re thinking of requires this, it’ll be a real struggle for you to adjust. Similarly, if you can’t get by without lunch at a certain time, and your new diet is asking you to either skip or delay your midday meal, throw it out of the window!
And then factor in the extraneous variables. Those takeaways you have maybe once every couple of weeks - does the diet plan actually note that you’re likely to still eat like this? Or does it ask you to cut them out completely, and forgot all about the wonders of fast food? All in all, it’s just not realistic for you to ask yourself to do this!
Why Not Get an Education?
Knowing the foods that are good for you, what amounts to have them in, and how you can weave all your favourite tricks and treats back into your diet, is invaluable. It’s a great way to take control over your life, and allow yourself to combat bad eating habits and cravings that everyone else you know absolutely struggles with. It’s a kind of knowledge that a lot of people out there don’t have, or rely on others to know for them, and that’s when nutrition can get a little dangerous. After all, your body works in a different way to anybody else’s, no matter how subtle that difference is, and you need to know for yourself what’s good for you.
How many times in your life have you relied on someone older, or someone who seems more knowledgeable, to tell you what to eat? Of course, as a child, you had to listen to your parents and gobble up the food they put on the table. But as a late teenager, and an early adult, did you still look to others, particularly on social media? Those platforms don’t usually have your best interests at heart, not unless the person is truly qualified in the nutritional advantages of the diet they’re advertising!
So let’s try and balance that kind of pressure a little more; why not think about how to Become a Nutrition adviser yourself? You’re interested in food, and you’re interested in what it does for you, so why not go all the way with a real qualification? Then you can really put your relative nutritional knowledge and your meal ideas to the test! If you’ve got the time to dedicate to some studies, maybe on the weekends or when the kids have gone to bed, this could be a winning combination for you.
Can You Exercise as Well?
A good diet isn’t just one that focuses on what you eat. It’s one that takes into account your physical activity level as well, and just how beneficial the foods you're intaking are when it comes to giving you the right energy, and the right nutrients, to fix your body up and keep you going. For example, you need plenty of proteins if you’re someone who’s trying to put on muscle mass, and you need plenty of carbs if you’re going on 10k runs every morning.
It’s not going to feel very healthy if you’re eating a diet that either tells you don’t need to exercise, or cuts out the very food groups that a working body needs in its life. You need a diet that encourages you to eat before and after a workout, and details exactly what foods to eat depending on the activity you’ve done that day, whether that was weight lifting, or doing burpees for half an hour.
Particularly, you need something high energy, if you’re going to be exercising on a regular (and often daily) basis. You’ll probably be needing to eat in higher amounts than you usually do, but if you’re looking to shred fat and put on healthier weight, this is going to be an essential foundation for you to start off with.
So, What is the Best Diet for You?
As we noted above, only you can and should decide that, with the help of a medical professional of course. But ultimately, you need a diet that works for you, and not the other way around.
You’ve got to be sure that what you’re eating is filling you up and leaving you satisfied with your meals. You’ve got to be certain you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals at the same time. And then you’ve got to have some flavourful foods on your plate, to make sure you’re always enjoying eating, and that you’re going to want to come back for more tomorrow. After all, you’ve got to have a diet that you can commit to, so make it easier for yourself!
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