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Dieting is the conscious control or regulation of the food we take in, to maintain our weight, or to have it move it up or down a few kilos! However, the ideal diet plan varies from person to person, which is why you need to understand how to choose the right diet for you.
Why Am I Not Able to Lose Weight Despite Dieting?
You may have begun to religiously follow a diet filled with vegetables you couldn’t stand earlier; mustering every ounce of effort to say no to that delicious chocolate tart your colleague is offering you; massaging away aches and pains in muscles you didn’t know existed until after your first workout; only to discover that at the end of the week, the needle on the weighing scale refuses to tilt in your favour. But hold your horses before giving up! There may be simple mistakes that you’re doing, correcting which can help you achieve that hard-to-reach goal of losing weight.
Watch: 8 Mistakes You May Be Making on Your Weight-Loss Journey
The following 8 mistakes you’re making could be preventing you from reaching your weight-loss goal.
- You’re eating too little which causes your body to go into starvation mode and hoard up on fats and calories.
- You may be eating more than you think.
- You could be making the wrong food choices.
- You’re not sleeping enough, which increases the production of stress hormone ‘cortisol’ in your body, which in turn increases your appetite.
- You’re not involved in any physical activity.
- You’re not hydrated enough.
- Skipping meals has the same effect on the body as eating too little does.
- Hitting a weight-loss plateau means that you may have to change a part of your diet or workout to get the body to shed extra kilos.
15 Ways to Figure Out the Perfect Diet Plan for Weight Loss
The perfect diet plan for weight loss is not universal. It changes according to each person’s individual requirements and the way they would like to pursue the aim of weight loss. Before you embark upon your weight loss journey, keep in mind these tips and guidelines to derive successful results from your personalised diet plan.
1. Check if it Matches Your Schedules and Habits
If your job requires extensive travel or client meetings over lunch, then chances are that a sit-down meal at the right intervals may not work out for you for a long period. You should choose a diet plan that accommodates your daily eating habits, timings, cooking habits (frequent or rare), and if the diet is one that can be accommodating of your family’s needs as well. A diet plan that can’t be incorporated into your daily life without causing inconvenience will fizzle out soon.
2. Follow Healthy Eating Patterns
When you’re eager to shed those extra kilos, the resolutions you make in the beginning may seem like punishments a few days down the line. Ensure that you make healthy choices and don’t push yourself to extremes, like eliminating food groups, satiating hunger with juices only, and so on. Instead, go for a balanced diet that covers all the required nutrients, and allows wiggle room for your favourite snacks too. Moderation is key to a healthy, happy diet.
3. Set Realistic Goals
This doesn’t just apply to how much weight you want to lose, but also how you want to lose it. Don’t like the taste of broccoli? Go for spinach! Not a fan of cooking? Commit to 2 nights in front of the stove and source healthy meals from restaurants. Aim to lose 0.5 to 1 kg in a week, because anything more than that cannot be considered safe or sustainable.
4. Ensure that it Doesn’t Ask to Avoid A Particular Food Group
If you have to go without an intake of fat or dairy or sugar throughout your entire diet, chances are that it will place restrictions on certain foods you like, thereby making you fall out of sticking to the diet plan. This, however, also depends on your health conditions; if the dietitian has prescribed to go without something for a health reason, then ensure that you follow through.
5. Do What Works for You
Your friend may not have given sweet treats a second glance once she was asked to reduce them in her diet, but that may not sit well with you. Something that works wonders for someone else may not be right for you. Get your preferences in order so that you don’t end up resenting your diet plan. Slight, personalised adjustments can make you look forward to dieting.
6. Check if it Suits Your Exercise Levels
It’s possible that your busy lifestyle cannot accommodate 2 hours at the gym daily. Therefore, select a diet plan that incorporates your level of exercise into it – which is basically any activity like dancing or even cleaning the house, that gets your whole body moving. Good for your mind, body, and soul, promotes better sleep, increases your energy levels, promotes better sleep, helps maintain your weight – need we go on about the benefits of exercise?
7. Find a Plan That Helps You Eliminate Bad Food Habits
Eating while feeling bored, while cooking, finishing food off your child’s plate because you can’t see it go to waste – these are mindless little things that is adding to your weight gain. Look for a plan that helps you slowly move out of these old ways.
8. Take a Call on Whether the Plan Should Be Structured or Flexible
This, again, is a personal preference; some people may want strict instructions on timings, foods, and portions, while some would enjoy a little freedom. As long as the plan is healthy and doesn’t fall short of food or calories, either type is fine.
9. Listen to What Your Body Has to Say
Your body will give you plenty of clues regarding its response to your diet. If it reacts negatively to any aspect of your new diet, you have to make changes accordingly. This can range from abnormal bodily functions, mood swings, low levels of energy, sleep, or appetite, and so on. It’s important not to dismiss these symptoms as continuing on the wrong diet can cause harm too.
10. Take Lifestyle Factors into Account
Another reason why one formula won’t work for all is because, everyone lives a different life! Your nutritional needs may differ from that of a regular athlete, or from that of someone who is prone to obesity. If your own life has changed (for example, you’ve just had a baby, or you’ve moved to a new city), you may need a diet that considers these new factors.
11. Check if it Includes a Post-Diet Maintenance Plan
A diet plan that has worked well for you shouldn’t fall through all of a sudden. It should consist of the things that you need to follow once your weight-loss goals have been achieved as well. Once you’ve attained your ideal weight, it may suddenly seem like there is nothing to look forward to, to keep up with dieting. But giving up on the healthy lifestyle you’ve maintained over the past few months is not ideal, just because you’ve achieved one goal. Instead, find new fitness challenges to try, that can motivate you to continue on the right path.
12. Understand How Soon You Can Lose Weight with the Plan
If you’re looking to lose weight quickly, but in a healthy manner, the diet has to be tailored to this specific need. However, keep in mind that a rapid weight loss can be accounted to a loss of fluid than a loss of fat. It is recommended to take the slow-and-steady approach to losing weight, as this is both safe and provides more long-lasting results.
13. Get Enough Sleep
As mentioned earlier, losing sleep makes you prone to weight gain. Get into the habit of sleeping for 7 to 8 hours a night. Avoid caffeinated drinks, wine, dark chocolate, high-fat and/or spicy foods; instead, go for cherries, leafy greens, warm milk, and whole grains.
14. Remind Yourself of Your Aim Everyday
Are you losing weight to fit into those pair of jeans that you couldn’t leave behind at the shop? Is losing weight necessary to improve your health? Whatever your reason is, keep it in mind every time you feel like giving up. Nothing like a strong aim to keep you on track!
15. Beware of the Weight-Loss Plateau
There may come a point when you don’t seem to losing any weight, despite your best efforts. Don’t worry if this happens. Since losing weight is a major process for the body, it takes a break to ensure that all systems are in healthy working order, before shedding any more kilos. Changing your diet or the physical activity you’re currently doing can help restart the process.
How to Know if Your Diet is Working for You
Losing weight is not the only sign that can tell you if yours is the perfect diet for weight loss. You can judge if the diet you are following is doing you good or not with other parameters as well. Read on to find out if you’re on the right diet!
1. You Feel Energized
This is a given, and one of the best advantages of a good diet. You’ll notice this when you wake up refreshed at 5 in the morning, or when working out makes you feel more happier than tired; and especially when you pass up on ordering a sugary treat to make yourself feel better two hours after your lunch.
2. You Love What You’re Eating
A study by Dr Meredith David on the attitudes of dieters, showed that those who are sticking to their diet (high self-control dieters) focused more on the foods that they liked in the diet. This meant that they chose healthy foods they enjoyed eating – eg: choosing strawberries over Brussel sprouts – while low self-control individuals tend to do the opposite.
3. You Are Sleeping Better
The right amount and type of nutrients in your diet encourage better sleep patterns. Foods that are fresh, rich in fibre, and packed with healthy fats take longer to be processed by the body, which keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. It also stabilises your blood sugar and creates the right hormone balance for good sleep.
4. You Don’t Fall Ill Often
If you’re on the right diet, your body will be supplied with all the essential nutrients it needs, keeping your health on track. But if you notice that you’ve been falling ill more after starting off on a diet, it is best to reconsider what you’re eating.
5. You’re Experiencing Good Digestion
Changes in food habits can affect your digestive patterns too. But as long as you’re following the right diet, your body can perform elimination functions properly, which means good bowel movements.
6. Your Cravings, If Any, Are Minimal
A craving is usually a signal by your body telling you that you’re lacking in a certain nutrient. The right diet ensures that you do not suddenly have the urge to gorge on a bag of salty, crunchy chips!
7. You Can Consume Treats Minus the Guilt!
When you follow the right diet, it feels more like a lifestyle change than following a boring food plan. You are able to enjoy the occasional candy bar without freaking out over the calories going into your body, because you know a healthy salad awaits you later anyway!
8. You Feel Happy
With boundless energy, lesser instances of falling ill, and the physical benefits imparted by a good diet, your mental state improves as well. You feel nourished, satisfied, and much more body-positive!
Losing weight the healthy way can seem like a difficult challenge, and can test your patience further when you see no visible changes in the mirror or the weighing scale. Remember, however, all good things take time; and in the case of weight loss, slow and steady definitely wins the race! Pick the right diet, get some exercise and adequate sleep, and watch as the results unfold!