The word “diet” can be quite the turnoff for many. Diets bring to mind deprivation of favorite foods for a certain length of time, with trips to the gym and the scale; sometimes results are seen, and then months later when the diet has ended, the weight is gained back. Have you experienced this in the past? If so, try talking through these five questions to see if a diet is realistic and right for you (brought to you by Cynthia Sass, Registered Dietitian):
1) Is it one size fits all? – Weight loss programs are designed around the height, size and build of an average man or woman. Such as a 5’4 woman who is somewhat active. If you do not match this description, it is important to be able to adapt the diet for you; if not the same results may not be achieved.
2) Does the premise make sense? – You need to ask how and why the diet will work for you. There are many claims that go along with trending diets, and you have to be skeptical of these claims. If the diet says you will lose 5 pounds per week without exercise and continuing to eat all of your favorite foods, then you must ask how and why? If the diet just has you eating less or differently, then weight will be lost. But this may not be the best way to make lifestyle changes, lose body fat and actually benefit you. This is because most diets are not science-based or based on how the human body actually works. If you are unsure of how the diet works and how you go about following it, then more information should be obtained before taking the next step.
3) Is it safe and healthy? – A diet or weight loss program that is too restrictive, imbalanced or severe is not safe or healthy. A dangerous diet could lead to hair loss, depression, bone density loss, organ damage and a weaker immune system. The necessary amount of calories, fat and proteins are needed to keep the cells in your body functioning properly to perform daily tasks.
4) Can I dine out? – If a diet does not allow for eating out, you can either choose not to go out, or go off the diet. Dining out is possible while on a diet, but careful planning may need to be involved. Try and access the menu and nutrition information ahead of time so that you can make the best choice possible without ruining your progress.
5) Can I splurge? - Foods forbidden by the diet can become even more tempting during the diet. You may turn to eating more of other foods to satisfy the craving, or even giving in and binging on the forbidden food. A balance or “everything in moderation” motto would be better to follow, in order to fulfill the urge without becoming stuffed and getting too off track.
Avoid the “sure-to-fail” diets by asking yourself these questions. Realistic lifestyle changes should be involved to ensure the best results that will be long-lasting. Be sure to consult a Registered Dietitian or your physician if you are concerned about consuming the appropriate nutrition and are interested in dieting.