By Yajen Tan
You don’t need to be an expert to know that your diet plays a huge role in your body’s composition, energy levels, and overall health. With all the people out to lose weight this New Year, there’s no doubt that the first question that crosses our minds will be – what is the best diet?. But with thousands of options out there and very few unbiased experiences, here a couple key things to keep in consideration before you dive into your next diet program.
Almost all my clients that I’ve worked with this year has admitted to trying some sort of short term diet program in their pasts, but then dropped off and gained all the weight right back. It doesn’t matter if your program lasts 2 weeks, 3 months, or even a year. If your focus is to tough it out for a short period, then you’re bound to forfeit the diet habits at one point. Before you start making dietary adjustments to your life, think about what’s the real reason you’re doing it – hopefully, it’s for the sake of self-improvement and to boost your quality of life.
Before we get into choosing or building a diet, let’s take a look at what we’re trying to accomplish with the diet. Whether it’s weight loss, weight gain, or just live healthier, it’s more likely than not that you’ll want to continue this trend far past the expiration of any diet programs that you’ll find that come with a price tag. It really disappoints me to see all the money and time that goes into short term diet programs that only last for a few weeks or months, because right after the program ends, we shift back into our old habits and the weight rolls right back in. So remember to keep in mind the goal of building a lasting, sustainable lifestyle for yourself.
When you’re deciding on what foods to include in your diet, this question alone can determine whether your diet is a zero or a hero – do you actually enjoy the foods that are included in your program? If you feel like you’re suffering through your diet, there’s no way that you’ll be able to sustain it for very long. You probably can’t expect to be eating french fries and cheese steaks for every meal, but you also don’t have to be eating a kale salad every meal if that isn’t something you find palatable.
For myself, I like to build all of my meals around a base, and then supplement it with more flavorful ingredients. For example, when I make smoothies, I usually load it up first with arugula and a salad blend, followed by lots of citrus fruits, a banana, and various berries. With something bland such as oats, I like to throw in healthy additions like nut butters, fruits, or yogurts, which can really help elevate the taste of something simple so simple.
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. I cringe every time I hear someone talking about their diet that promises a quick fix. I remember training one of my ladies this year, who seemed extremely winded after her usual workout; after a series of questions, I found out that all she had in the past few days was cayenne, maple syrup, and lemon juice. The unfortunate reality is that there is no healthy way for you to be losing 5 pounds in a week. Weight loss is something that requires long term commitment and consistent self improvement. Any diet that promises to help you lose an attractive amount of weight over a short period of time will most likely come with serious health consequences.
With that being said, I always like to say that the perfect diet is the one that is the right fit for you. Not only should you be able to enjoy the foods that you’re putting in your body, but you should also choose a routine that is sustainable for the long haul, because remember, you’re not making a change to improve the next 3 months; you’re making a change to improve the rest of your life.
Yajen Tan is the founder of local fitness and nutrition brand Gimme Fit, which focuses on helping men and women jump start their way into healthy, sustainable lifestyles. To keep up with the latest updates in the health and fitness world, check out our blog.