So your friend is following this new “Keto” diet and has lost 30 pounds in 4 hours and you want in!! Hold on one quick second though, how do you know if this diet is for you?
Just because a diet works for someone else does NOT mean it is right for you. It may be, but there are some definite things you should consider before diving head-first into the detox shakes you bought for $300 online which promised you’ll have abs in 8 days. Do some research! It’s your body and you only get one.
Don’t just do anything that promises to shed a couple extra pounds fast; do something that will work for YOUR body and will be something that keeps the weight off. Here are some things to consider when figuring out what diet is the best for you.
1. Does it match your eating style and lifestyle?
Do you travel for work often? Then you probably will struggle following a strict diet template that requires you to cook all of your food.
Do you have a family of 5? Then either be ready to eat differently than them for every meal, or find a nutrition plan that allows you to please both your family and reach your goals.
Do you work 12 hour shifts at a hospital that don’t allow you any time to eat? Then you probably can’t follow a plan that tells you to eat 8x/day!
Make sure whatever your nutritional plan is, it will fit your schedule and your lifestyle.
- Does the diet intake match your activity level?
There are a lot of diets out there that call for either ZERO carbohydrates or ask you to follow a very low caloric intake. These diets can work temporarily, but if you are working out 5 days a week with high intensity, you cannot be sustaining on zero carbohydrates or 800 calories a day.
Vis-versa, if you aren’t active, or perhaps your activity level is going for a walk each day, you probably shouldn’t be following a plan that has a ton of carbohydrates involved. Check out the type of people who seem to thrive on that plan and see if they appear similar to you in terms of activity level, muscle mass, and body-type.
- Does it include foods you like and can afford?
This is a big one and probably the main reason I see a lot of diets fail for individuals. If you don’t enjoy eating plain chicken, steamed vegetables, and avocado – don’t follow a meal plan that only allows you to eat those foods! If you hate what you eat for every.single.meal – you should know that diet won’t last.
We aren’t saying you’re going to LOVE what you eat every day, every meal, no matter what – but you should be able to make food you enjoy, or else it just isn’t going to be sustainable.
Also – if money is an issue, don’t do something that requires a bunch of expensive supplements or all organic foods! Pick something that is realistic and healthy, but that won’t leave you broke!
- Can you live with this plan forever? Or at least a variation of it?
Dieting should be temporary, especially when weight loss is a goal. You should not diet for the rest of your life, but if your diet is COMPLETELY different than how you normally eat, it might not be the best idea to follow that plan. For example, does this diet plan:
- Completely remove a food group? Zero carbs is tough to follow when you might want a piece of bread again at some point. Or you might want a glass of wine. Or a banana. Be careful if a diet is asking of you to totally remove an entire food group (i.e. protein, carbohydrates, or fats).
- Does it call for supplements, cleanses, or detox formulas? Run away. Run far away – this is a scam. You cannot live life drinking protein shakes and beet juice every day forever and ever. Supplements should be just that…supplemental. Build a good foundational diet and then consider adding in some things to supplement it and make it even better!
- Is it very, very, very little calories? The problem with these is you can only eat so little for so long. Then what? You are going to start eating more again and the weight will come back on. Which leads us to our next point 🙂
- How fast does weight loss happen?
There are some diets that, yes, it is normal to see a good amount of weight loss in the initial week due to water weight shedding from either removing inflammatory foods, or drastically changing poor eating habits, but this should not be continuous week after week.
Losing body-fat vs. losing muscle mass is a big difference you want to pay attention to.
No matter how much weight you think you have to lose, healthy weight loss ranges from about 0.5-1.5 lbs per week. Any faster than that, and you’re heading down a road to zero energy, losing muscle mass, and possibly ending up with a body-composition you aren’t too happy with (i.e. sagging skin, lack of muscle definition, etc.).
- Does it help you tackle bad habits and EDUCATE you on food?
Saved the best one for last! In our opinion, the best diet is the one that transitions into a lifestyle. It helps you identify what some poor habits are that you have, like snacking late at night or under-eating, and it helps you fight to change them.
The best diet for you is also the one that helps you LEARN about food and your body. Everyone’s body is different and everyone responds differently to different foods. Try elimination of certain foods, then reintroduce them (i.e. dairy, gluten, or sugar). Try tracking your food to learn what is in the things you eat and see truly how much you eat. Try timing your food differently around your workouts or throughout your day to help curb hunger levels and maximize energy.
Whatever you do though, don’t follow something just because someone else did. Do some research, experiment, and make a decision on your own. We have a hunch it will most likely lead to a LOT more success, and a lot less time and money wasted!