What is the best diet?
As a trainer I am always being asked:
“What diet should I follow to lose weight?” “What do you think about paleo?” “Do you think the 5:2 diet would work?”
The simple answer is that there is NO best diet. What might work really well for one person might be a complete failure for someone else. The small genetic differences in individuals and our different tastes and preferences as well as different limiting factors for each of us (family, culture, budget, work) mean that it is not possible to find one size to fit all. You need to eat in a way that makes YOU FEEL AND PERFORM AT YOUR BEST.
Even if you can decide which method you will choose calling it a “diet” is setting yourself up to fail. You might lose weight in the short term but it’s highly likely that if you see the regime as a “diet” ( an eating plan you are going to do for a set period of time before reverting back to “normal”) you will ultimately not succeed in maintaining your weight loss. The way you eat must be sustainable – and not feel like a period of deprivation with an end in sight if you are “good”.
The approach I recommend is to record what you eat every day for a period of about 2 weeks – and you must be totally honest and record every bite. Then sit down and have a good hard look to see if there are any habits you might think about changing. Some of the habits you might see that you think you might want to change are:
- skipping meals which results in snacks later on that are not high in nutrients (or eating too much the next day);
- not eating enough at meal time – again leaving us open to snacking or over eating later;
- eating too much – portion sizes have crept up and you have lost sight of what a normal portion should look like;
- mindless snacking – finishing kids’ meals off, late night snacks in front of the tv, eating while you work on the computer;
- not planning ahead and getting caught feeling really hungry without any nutritious options being available;
- “giving up” following a binge – eg you accidentally hoover down a whole pack of biscuits so you decide to wait until next week to “start”
- drinking too much alcohol which results in you losing sight of how much you are eating and whether you are really hungry;
- eating when you are bored – not actually hungry at all;
- not eating enough protein so that you miss out on feeling full;
- not eating enough vegetables – and missing out on a whole lot of nutrients you should be getting;
- not drinking enough water.
Once you have worked out what habits you would like to change – take them on one by one. Don’t try to do it all in one go. I recommend at least one week (maybe more) for every new habit. Changing your habits is hard work – but the aim is to make a permanent change and one that you can live with. For example, if you eat for comfort you will need to find something else to comfort you and that might not be easy. Or you will need to identify the kinds of foods you can eat for comfort which are not inconsistent with desire to eat better.
At Dellafit whenever we do a program with a set period of weeks designed to deliver real results we take it week by week. Week one might be drink more water – try to get your 2 litres a day. Week 2 will be focusing on protein. Week 3 will be more vegetables.
I know it is not a quick fix but if you do things this way it is more likely to be a permanent fix and a fix that will keep on keeping on.