A diet is generally described as the total food and drink, consumed by a person during a day. The National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases considers that the word “diet” should not necessarily include a food restriction of any kind. There are many types of diets available.
Some of them are needed for health related issues and some are simply designed to help you lose weight. The Zone diet, the Atkins diet, or the South Beach diet, are just a few of the many “lose weight” diets, available on the internet.
However, most of them have many things in common, as they promote the same principles. For example, many nutritional therapies exclude certain products from your daily diet or limit the portions to a very small size. However, this approach turned to be wrong and even if you will lose weight at first, you will gain it back on the long run. Instead, you should alternate a diet with the foods that you like and don’t like. Also, you have to make sure that you consume the necessarily amount of calories and nutrients, for health reasons.
The first rule of every diet is that you have to customize it, to fit your own needs. In order to achieve that, you have to make sure that the calorie level is suited for you and that it will offer a proper nutritional balance. Bellow, we will tell you more about it and we will also present you the things that you should know before starting any diet.
1) Calorie level
The low calorie diets usually limit the consumption of calories to 1000-1500 a day. However, this depends on a series of factors like your current weight and your daily activity. A low calorie diet guide will not impose you a certain calorie restriction. Instead, it will offer you a proper diet plan and an effective weight-loss program. Usually, a diet plan should not let you lose more than 1 pound per week.
The first 2 weeks of the diet don’t count, because that’s when you’re eliminating the water surplus. Based on your current calorie consumption, you can create your own diet, which will allow you to lose around 1 pound every week. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can work with a specialized nutritionist or choose one of the standard existing diets.
2) Common types of diets
– A fixed-menu diet
As the name suggests it, a fixed menu diet contains a list with all the foods that you’re allowed to eat. This type of diet is very effective if you don’t have time to find new recipes or new foods for your diet. The diets are selected for you and all you need to do is follow the diet accordingly. However, this type of diet doesn’t have many food alternatives and it can be pretty boring to eat the same kind of food, over and over again. If you never followed a diet before, you should consider starting with a fixed-menu diet. This way, you will learn what you have to eat in order to lose weight, and you can improvise later.
– Exchange-type diet
This is a more permissive type of diet and it allows you to eat a number of servings from some predetermined food groups. The creators of these diets consider that all foods from a certain food group are equal in calories and they can be switched as you wish. Let’s take for example the “starch” category. Every slice of bread that you eat, equals 1/2 cup of oatmeal. They have the same number of calories and the same nutritional value. You can adjust this type of diet as you wish, depending on your preferences. The flexibility of a diet is a very important factor, for psychological reasons. Many people give up on a certain diet, because they get bored of the same foods. The exchange-type diet solves this problem and it offers you diversity.
– Prepackaged-meal diet
This type of diet is the simplest. All you need to do is buy prepackaged meals. The meals are already portioned and have the appropriate number of calories. This diet can be costly and such foods can be hard to find. Before starting this diet, find a place which sells the prepackaged meals and find out how much they will cost.
– Formula diet
A formula diet is another type of weight-loss diet. However, this diet replaces one or many meals, with a liquid formula. These are some very balanced diets and the formula contains a mix of nutritional substances like protein, carbohydrates or fats. Still, a lot of people start gaining weight again, as soon as they stop the diet. Considering this, the formula diet is not very effective for a long term plan.
3) What diets should you avoid?
Any diet that promotes a certain food, nutrient or a specific combination of foods should be avoided at all costs. This kind of diets might prove effective for a few weeks and you will even lose some pounds using them. Still, they don’t offer a proper nutritional balance and they might cause you some serious deficiencies. You don’t need that! You need a diet which teaches some eating habits for a long term weight management.
4) Flexible diets.
A flexible diet is not necessarily a diet. What you need to do is monitor your calories or fat income, and to adjust your meals based on them. This approach proved very effective for a lot of people and it taught them how to eat properly. However, this type of diet has a small issue. Some programs don’t include the calorie monitoring and people tend to ignore that. They take care of the fats in their body but they totally forget about the calorie income. In order to avoid that, a total diet is required.
Remember that there is no perfect diet. You have to choose a food plan that is perfect for you. The diet should be able to teach you how to eat balanced and healthy meals, which will help you lose, and than maintain your new weight. A nutritious diet, combined with some physical activities, will help you keep your new weight, in a healthy and effective way.