Health Insider Update


Find your Perfect (Diet) Match

Find your Perfect (Diet) Match
December 04
15:07 2015

Dieting is one of the most difficult things in life. And not every diet works for every person; heck, most diets don’t work at all! When you’ve made a decision to lose weight, whether it’s 10 pounds or 200 pounds, it’s important to find the diet that’s right for you.

Make it Last

Instead of thinking about the word “diet” as a temporary thing, think about it as a lifestyle change. You want these changes to last, so you need to find a diet you can live with. But with limitless diet options out there, it can be more than frustrating to decide. While trying one diet this week and another next week may be tempting, it doesn’t usually work out that way.

Trial and Error

Finding a diet that meshes with your lifestyle is key. Doctors recommend experimenting until you find something that works. “Some of my patients don’t cook anything, while others want to cook everything organic,” says Dr. Caroline Cederquist, MD. “Trying to get either of them to become the other isn’t realistic.”

Caroline specializes in weight management and is the founder of bistroMD. “Getting to what works for an individual – that’s key,” she says.

Unfortunately it takes time to discover whether or not a particular diet works for you. If you aren’t willing to put in the time and the effort, you aren’t going to see results. According to Caroline, it takes a couple of weeks to notice changes. And those changes can be fluid. “You might feel great one week and your weight might be up another week,” she says.

Experts recommend sticking with a diet for at least one month before deciding to switch to another one. Keep track of the diet’s effects on your ability to sleep, your energy level, your mental clarity, whether or not you were able to stick to the diet’s “rules,” and your weight.

Four Questions

Caroline advises anyone looking to lose weight to ask themselves these four questions before committing to a diet plan:

#1 “What’s my cooking style?” When looking at a diet, consider factors such as:
• Do you enjoy cooking?
• Are you responsible for feeding others?
• Do you like to eat out?
• How much time can you spend cooking each day?

#2 “What are my eating patterns?” Identifying your eating habits will help you identify potential obstacles before you start. For example, do you snack late at night? Do you eat three meals each day? When you know your eating habits, you are better able to find a plan that can help with those particular challenges and help you establish healthier eating habits in the future.

#3 “Does the plan provide enough protein?” Swapping meals for salads and juice may help you lose weight, but without enough protein your long-term health will suffer. You will feel lethargic and your body will not be able to build or maintain muscle. Even worse, a decrease in muscle mass can slow down your metabolism. On the other hand, a diet rich in protein can help reduce your appetite.

#4 “Are the promised results reasonable?” If the diet you’re considering looks too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is. Steer clear of diets that promise ridiculous results like “30 pounds in 30 days.” Be wary of diets that focus on one specific food (like cabbage) or rely on pills. This type of diet is unhealthy and impossible to maintain for long.

Check the diet for validity (where was it published, etc.) and look for a plan that includes advice on making healthy choices when eating out. “Anyone can lose weight in the short-term,” says Caroline. “But what can help you keep that weight off? That’s the only diet you really want to find. And it’s not going to be a diet at all. It’s got to be a lifestyle change.”


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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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