With social media keeping us in control, we have entered a massive diet culture. Either we are comfortable or uncomfortable with our bodies, and so, we end up trying to take up diets to maintain our body or change it completely. While losing weight or looking your best is completely reasonable, researching before you take up a diet is important. There are so many diets out there, like vegan, keto, paleo, etc., which one do you think is suitable for you? It’s a given that not all diets are for everyone. So, the question is: which one should you pick?
WHAT ARE YOUR HEALTH GOALS?
Before you go for a keto or paleo diet, it is necessary to understand what you want from a diet. First of all, do a physical examination and complete blood tests. Then, imagine that you are at the peak of your health, what are the things that you want? For example, I should have glowing skin, be able to fit in my teenage dresses, or won’t have bloating issues.
You have to think from two perspectives when you are deciding on your health goals:
- Are you willing to change your entire lifestyle?
- Are you sure you are not giving in to societal pressures?
There can be many other motives too, but you have to be clear about it.
CAN YOU TAKE UP HEALTH GOALS?
The next important thing to look after is are you capable of taking up health goals. Don’t go by people saying, “you got to make it work somehow.” There are obligations that all of us have and we can’t get rid of it. Decide on the following:
Can you take up the extra expenses that a diet comes with? Does your religion influence your diet and may affect it? If you and your family have different diets, can you sustain the double grocery bills? Are you allergic to something essential to your diet? Does your body require certain food which your diet might restrict and there are no substitutes to it?
STRICTNESS OF DIET
Taking up a diet is not easy. It is hard work and can make social groups exclude you. There are certain diets like keto diet which does not allow any flexibility and so, you cannot gobble up even the smallest piece of cake. Plus, if you are a vegan, you will end up checking all the labels to see if any animal products are used, but you cannot ever be quite sure of the hidden ingredients.
Admittedly, it is wrong to judge people on their food habits, but when you demand some kind of extra food according to your diet, then you are bound to get some glares. Many people bring in their own food in a party according to their diet. Somehow, they have to work, but that also means that they are excluded from certain parties too.
ARE YOU GOING TO STICK TO IT FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFETIME?
Diet is a lifestyle choice. You cannot have a 30-day challenge, as research shows, that if you stop your diet, you gain back double the weight. It’s going to be a long time for your body to adjust and to maintain your health, you have to continue. So, if you don’t want this diet for your entire life, don’t do it. It will just harm your health further.
WILL YOUR DIET EXCLUDE A LARGE NUMBER OF FOODS?
Yes, some will. Keto diets are strict and only allow a very little amount of carbs. Plan it out with your dietician.
Diets actually take some investment especially if you enter a program. However, you should not enter a program which provides meal replacements for every alternate day. If you can’t go completely natural and have to go for meal replacements, then it’s the same as having unprocessed food. Go against it.
DON’T LET IT CONSUME YOU
Due to the rise of social media and body image issues, many people are getting obsessed with diets. Orthorexia is real. Orthorexia is when you become obsessed about avoiding certain foods and about diet in general. Don’t let it take you over. Diets have somehow become a trend but since it is related to the mental and physical states of your body, don’t go overboard with it. Studies have shown that this can lead to disordered eating.
WHAT IS THE BEST DIET?
There cannot be the best diet for everyone. We have unique bodies with unique metabolism and so, you have to understand your body type and base your diet accordingly. Here are some pointers on when diets work:
- When there is room for flexibility and variation.
- There is no shortage of necessary calories.
- Food can be added
- No expiry date
- Must be under the supervision of a dietician.
Diet doesn’t work when:
- Very little room for flexibility.
- Too much calorie restriction.
- Many foods are forbidden.
- There are categories of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ food.
- Lots of money required.
- Anyone unprofessional recommends it.
- It does not require professional advice from nutritionists.
- It says that it will deliver within a short period of time.
- It takes up a lot of your time.
Remember, most diets will help you lose weight but you have to stick to it. If you don’t, you gain a lot more weight than what you had. It’s hard work, but if you really want to do something about your body, you can do it. Just research well and make small changes. Get better and start seeing major body changes. Best of luck!