How to Choose the Right Diet

This original article by Helen Mitas was 
previously published in Woman With Drive
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I was on a ‘diet’ on and off from the age of 14 to 40. There was the Zone Diet, Alkaline Diet, No Carb Diet, High Metabolism Diet, Juicing Diet, 5:2 Diet and so many more! Yet from the dozens of diets that I followed, only a couple actually resulted in weight loss.

Many of my clients, some of whom have also tried practically every diet out there, share this experience. They have asked me why certain diets work for some people and not for others. This is my answer – a diet will be successful for the person who can easily adapt to its guidelines. If those guidelines are too difficult, at some point the “diet” comes to an end and so does the weight loss.

So here are some of my notes on a handful of the more popular diets at the moment:

The Paleo diet is based on the types of foods that early humans were presumed to have eaten. This is pretty much anything that could be hunted or foraged like meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. Today, the Paleo diet is very popular amongst people that do crossfit, a strength and conditioning program.

Great for: Meat lovers. If you are one of those who enjoy a slice of pizza with a glass of wine then this diet will not be ideal as a long-term eating plan.

A diet that involves significantly restricting the amount of calories consumed on two of the seven days and eating normally for the rest of the week. The expectation is that people would naturally consume less calories than normal on the remaining five days as they would be accustomed to eating a lot less on the two low-calorie days.

Great for: People who really do not mind restricting their food intake on the two days and who are disciplined enough to not increase their food intake on the other five days.

The juicing diet is where all or most of your calorie intake is consumed in the form of juices.

Great for: People who enjoy vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies. Be aware, though, that for some people the initial weight loss may be very encouraging but it could slowly return once you resume eating solids.

This diet advocates that you only eat during an eight-hour period each day so that the body has an opportunity to burn fat during its 16-hour fast.

Great for: People who do not enjoy eating breakfast and those who will still be mindful to what they consume during the eight-hour period. This diet is also pretty hard work!

Creating permanent changes in your life is not about depriving yourself of food or being acutely conscious that you are on a diet. The eating plan that will help you achieve your weight loss goals is one that is realistic and in line with your lifestyle with guidelines that are achievable and that deliver the results you need.

To help you choose the right diet for yourself, here are my three non-negotiable rules

1. Stay away from fad diets that cannot be sustained. You will likely pack the weight back on (and more) once you stop. Follow a healthy eating plan that suits your lifestyle. If you are not sure which way to go, make an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician.

2. Hydrate! Water is fundamental to a healthy body no matter what diet you are on, even if it is the juicing diet.

3. Exercise daily. A healthy eating plan alone is not enough. A good diet should not leave you too weak or fatigued to put in an hour’s workout.

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