Is there such a thing as the right diet? How about a perfect diet? Read on for helpful information about how to choose the right diet for you.
Are You Searching for the Fairy Tale?
The “perfect” diet.
It is what women who are looking to lose weight and gain control of their health are searching for.
The scene plays out almost like a fairytale. The fair maiden anxiously awaits to be rescued from her imprisonment (of extra body weight). Searching the horizon for hope (Google!), she sees a charming prince coming to her rescue (the diet).
She anticipates being whisked away by this rider on a white horse. He will stoically battle for her and deliver her to a beautiful palace where she will enjoy the finest foods and most exquisite clothing (she will finally be THIN!). Her life will be a dream come true (because being skinny makes everything better).
Then, much to her surprise, the prince is swallowed up by a mote of quicksand. Her hopes and dreams, gone.
While this story is a little silly, I feel that it sums up the emotional ups and downs that so many women experience when they are looking for a diet to help them lose weight. We read the cover of the latest diet book and its promises give us hope. We expect so much from the plan and then from ourselves in flawless adherence to the plan.
It all sounds wonderful but, in the end, it’s fairy-tale thinking.
When we think of diets we tend to think of plans or programs that restrict certain types of foods or the amounts of food that we eat. They have a start and an end. Defined, the word diet simply means a “food and drink regularly provided or consumed.”
Plainly put, diets are a way of eating. So, technically, no matter what you eat, you are still on a “diet”.
What Are You Looking For in a Diet?
When you say that you are looking for a diet to follow, what are you actually saying?
- Would you like to see a change in your weight and/or health?
- Are you looking for a way to eat that will improve those areas of your life?
Examine your “why” so that you can choose your “what” with full understanding.
For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds before a big event and you are completely unconcerned about gaining it back, you would choose a diet that is somewhat extreme and unsustainable.
However, if you are looking to reach a healthy weight in a way that you can live with now and in the long-term, your search criteria will be much, much different.
Before you decide what’s next, determine what you want.
What You Need From a Diet
Popular diets fail us because they don’t take into account our own personal preferences and priorities or our available time and resources. These 4 areas represent the ins and outs of your life. If the diet cannot help you in the way that you need or it cannot fit into your daily life, it’s not a good fit.
Ask yourself these questions to determine what type of plan you would be motivated to follow and capable of sticking with long enough to get results.
- What types of food do you enjoy eating?
- Are there certain foods that make you feel your best?
- What types of exercise do you enjoy most?
- What are your top 3 values in life? Will the plan support these values?
- Would you like to lose body fat, gain muscle, or boost performance?
- Are there any specific health issues that you would like to improve?
- How much time do you have to menu plan and shop?
- What is your schedule like for food prep and cooking?
- How much time do you have to train and workout?
- How much can you afford to spend on food?
- What is your budget for training equipment, gym memberships, etc?
- How much emotional energy do you have available to invest into the plan?
Yes, that is a lot of questions and, no, you don’t need to have a clear answer for each one. Reading through the list is simply a way to clear the clutter and help you knock any diet contenders that won’t fit into your life, out of the ring!
Draw Upon Your Experience
If you have been on one or more diets in the past, you already have some pretty good data about what works for you and what doesn’t. Our experiences, positive or not, hold nuggets of information about what helps us and what doesn’t work for us. It’s not personal, it’s factual.
Grab a sheet of paper. Divide that sheet into 3 columns. On the left write the name of the diet you tried. In the middle column describe what about that particular eating plan worked for you. Then, in the third column, write what didn’t fit so well into your life
Review the list keeping an eye out for trends. This, my friend, is the basis of your healthy eating and lifestyle plan.
Create Your Roadmap
Now that you have an idea about which dietary habits will fit into your life, and you have seen an overview of what has worked and what hasn’t, it’s time to create your own personal diet roadmap.
First things first, let’s look at where you are now. Take a moment to describe your current state of health and fitness. How is your overall quality of life? How are your health markers? Note any praises and problems you have.
Next, envision where you want to be in one year. Dream, but also keep it attainable. How will you look, feel, and live? Are you confident and fit to be used by God?
Now, imagine these two on a continuum. If there are 12 steps from point A to point B, what are they? As you create your list, you won’t cover every single area prime for change, but you will gather a collection of some important habits that you can begin to work on one at a time.
This is your road map. Take the first step and practice that habit until it is your new normal. Once it feels easy, add another. Imagine the progress that you can make in just a year’s time!
A Guide to Get You There
I hope that this overview has helped you to see that the diet selection process is about more than which celebrity is on the cover of the latest diet book. Choosing how you want to eat and move is a personal decision that you don’t want to take lightly.
If you would like a guide for this process, we have an answer for you. The Ultimate 12-Week Healthy Habit Goal Setting Planner will walk you step-by-step through this process of assessment and habit selection.
This planner will help you set your sights on where you want to go all while getting you there in a sustainable way.
Brandice blogs about ditching diets, eating well, and letting your light shine at Grace Filled Plate.