You want to lose weight but which diet should you follow? There are plenty of diets that can support weight loss. Any eating plan that results in eating fewer calories than you burn will cause weight loss. However, what you eat is important in terms of meeting nutrient needs as well as promoting health and reducing risk of disease. Some diets are better than others at helping you achieve all of those goals. This article focuses on diet but just a reminder: including physical activity as a part of your weight loss plan is important for overall health, fitness, and especially for maintenance of weight loss.
MyNetDiary encourages you to find the best diet that works for you. If you have been instructed to follow a specific eating plan by your healthcare provider then please follow his/her recommendation and adjust your calories and nutrient goals accordingly. Here are some basic tips for choosing a weight loss eating plan or diet that will help you reach your weight goal safely and effectively.
Tip 1: Variety
Choose a diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and/or legumes (dried beans or peas), nuts or nut oils, seeds or seed oils, and protein foods (from animal and/or plants). Choosing a diet that forces you to eat a limited number of specific foods will become monotonous and unappetizing very quickly. Also, restricting food variety could result in a vitamin and/or mineral intake that is too low to meet your body’s need. Losing weight at the expense of a nutrient deficiency is not a wise decision.
Tip 2: Safety
Safety refers to a number of issues: rate of weight loss, nutrient intake, and safe relative to one’s medical condition or life stage. If you need help deciding what type of weight loss plan is best for you, then ask your healthcare provider or dietitian for guidance.
Rate of weight loss: Choose a plan that allows you to lose weight gradually so that you have energy, can concentrate, and do not feel overly hungry or irritable. A safe rate of weight loss from diet and exercise is an average of 1-2 lbs per week. A slower rate of weight loss might be appropriate if you are closer to your goal weight, are still growing, are breastfeeding, or if you are an athlete trying to gradually change your body composition. A faster rate of weight loss is common after bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery), during the initial phase of a low carb diet, or when a person with a lot of excess weight initially starts to follow a weight loss program.
Nutrient intake: Choose a weight loss plan that allows you to meet your nutrient requirements, especially protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating a variety of foods is a simple way to help you meet your nutritional requirements. If you track with MyNetDiary, then you have the benefit of reviewing your nutrition reports and Dashboard to see if you are meeting nutrient goals. When a plan has you follow an intake of less than 1000 calories (more or less depending upon your age and size), then it should be a medically supervised plan. The lower the calories intake, the lower the nutrient intake unless special attention is paid to food choices and supplementation.
Medical history and age: Weight loss during pregnancy is rarely advised, and the rate of weight loss during breastfeeding might need to be lower. For children and teens, rate of weight loss should be gradual and eating plans should be supervised so that growth, development, and sexual maturation all stay on track. People with diabetes need to work with their diabetes educator to find a weight loss plan that works safely with their medication and does not cause their blood glucose level to swing too high or too low. And people with a history of prior heart attack need to be especially careful to follow their cardiologist’s recommendations concerning diet.
Tip 3: Long term
Choose a plan that you can follow for the long term - one that encourages healthful food choices that are affordable, accessible, and acceptable to you. If the weight loss plan does not help you learn about healthful food choices and portion control, then you might find that you regain weight once you are off the diet. Weight loss is only half of the journey. Weight maintenance is just as important as the initial weight loss. Try to keep the long view in mind when choosing a plan.
Tip 4: Support
What level of support do you need to meet your goals? Diet books and articles will provide information, recipes, and menus but they will not provide companionship or two-way communication with others who have similar goals. If you want significant support and interaction with others, then consider a plan that includes group classes. If you do not feel comfortable sharing issues that you feel are causing you to overeat, then consider private visits with a dietitian and/or behavioral health specialist (e.g. counselor or therapist). MyNetDiary offers Community Forum - an online space where you can share your experiences and interact with other people who are also trying to manage their weight.
There are many weight loss diets available, and there is no perfect diet for weight loss. Keeping these 4 tips in mind will help you explore and experiment with different diets so that you can lose weight safely and effectively. Very low calorie diets that are not medically supervised are not safe for most adults and certainly not for children or teenagers. Just because a diet is out there, doesn’t mean that it is safe, effective, or the right diet for you. As a consumer, have a “buyer beware” mindset when you review and consider which diet to follow. Weight loss is big business and safety may or may not be a part of the equation.
To help you get a sense of the pros and cons of popular or current diets, please be sure to read MyNetDiary’s blog posts on diets, written by registered dietitians. Also, I think these three resources are especially informative about weight loss diets:
- American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: Weight Loss
- U.S. News & World Report: Best Weight Loss Diets
- WebMD: Weight Loss & Diet Plans A - Z
Regardless of diet type, logging food intake will help you discover how your food choices affect your calories and nutrient intake, as well as your weight. Tracking becomes educational as well as functional with MyNetDiary. Take advantage of all the features we offer — online community, a dietitian-moderated forum, a huge food database, and flexible goal setting.
If you have questions about the material covered in this article, please be sure to post them in Community Forum.
Last Updated on May 14, 2018
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