When trying to lose weight, too many people act spontaneously, seduced by a new fad diet or a two-week slimming plan in one’s favourite glossy. Predictably, few of these one-size-fits-all weight loss programs target one’s specific nutritional needs, and often do more harm than good.
To stick with a weight loss plan, a dieter has to make sure she can follow it comfortably without disrupting her lifestyle and food habits. Here are five tips to help choose weight loss diet plans that work – and to avoid those that disagree with a dieter’s nutritional and behavioral patterns.
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A Weight Loss Diet Should Agree with a Dieter’s Lifestyle
Losing weight is a wonderful experience, but it has to fit into one’s daily schedule; otherwise, after a brief initial success, she risks gaining more pounds than she’s lost. For example, if big dinners are a ritual in a dieter’s family, her loved ones may reproach her if she munches on a carrot while others celebrate, resulting in a feeling of guilt and deprivation which will soon sabotage her best intentions.
Solution: To stick with a diet plan long term, a dieter has to work around her schedule, not against it. A family dinner is fine as long as she makes healthy food choices and goes easy on everything: after all, nutritionists agree that the amount of calories consumed remains the most important factor in weight loss.
Weight Loss and a Dieter’s Budget
Unfortunately, junk food remains by far the cheapest food choice. Any weight loss program, whether it’s prepared meal plans, weight loss organizations membership or just a decision to eat more organic produce, may threaten to upset a family budget.
Solution: Eating a healthy diet is a major investment, arguably more important than all the other financial choices a dieter’s family can make. Poor diet leads to poor health, resulting in doctor trips and hospital stays, and a great many life-threatening conditions. A miser pays twice: first for all the junk foods piled on one’s shopping trolley, and later, for all the medical bills that result from consuming them.
A Weight Loss Plan Should Include One’s Favorite Foods
As they say, one’s man meat is another man’s poison, and that applies to diet plans more than anything else. That’s why it’s important to choose a weight loss program that answers one’s nutritional preferences and habits. Naturally, a vegan won’t fare well on the Atkins diet, and by the same token, a meat-and-potatoes girl will rebel on poached-fish-and-salad dinners. One should never deny herself her favorite foods completely when going on a diet: if she does, she is likely to quit before she can say “strawberry cheesecake.”
Solution: When choosing a weight loss program, a dieter has to realistically evaluate her nutritional needs and habits and build a diet plan around them. Which means a pasta lover may reconsider going on that low-carb diet plan. This way, she is more likely to stick to her weight loss program choice and eventually may keep those pounds off permanently.
Weight Loss Programs and Personality Type
Some weight loss programs, notably Weight Watchers, are famous for their members’ mutual support and encouragement. At the same time, some dieters feel more comfortable dieting alone, while others join online weight loss communities and keep food diaries. That’s why some dieters fail to lose weight or even go into the vicious yo-yo circle: they force themselves to follow a diet plan that’s against their character.
Solution: Let common sense be one’s guide: as long as a diet plan guarantees an adequate calorie intake (1600 to 2000, most specialists suggest) and offers a balanced choice of healthy foods, providing one with enough vitamins and minerals to conform with their RDI, how one gets there doesn’t really matter. Dieting should be a pleasure trip, not a chore.
Exercise and Weight Loss Programs: Add Some Fun to a Diet Plan
With a plethora of workout programs available, every dieter can enjoy the kind of exercise that appeals to her, whether it’s ballroom dancing or Thai boxing. The latest research shows that previous recommendations of doing at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week for successful weight loss are not cast in stone: as long as a dieter does as little as five minutes of physical activity a day, she may see the first results and build up from there.
Solution: No need to set the bar too high: a few push-ups or dance moves done daily will do more good than a two-hour workout once in a rare while. Weight loss guru Jonny Bowden in his book Shape Up!: The 8-week Program to Transform Your Body, Your Health, and Your Life recommends starting with a five minutes’ walk, adding a minute every day.