Let’s face it: we are surrounded by fad diets. We are so surrounded, that it simply becomes too much. It’s becoming harder and harder to choose which one to use to go for. Do you go for the Atkins diet diet? Jenny Craig? Every Other Day Diet? All of these fad diets come with big claims. Claims of velocity, ease and consistency. But how do you know what diet to trust?

In his book, “The Paradox of Choice”, Barry Schwartz claims that too many choices hurt our lives. We can’t handle too many of them being thrown at us. We are afraid to make the wrong choice. What are the proper criteria we should employ when trying to choose a diet?

These 4 criteria are meant to be realistic and healthy criteria to use when choosing your new eating habits:ProteinProtein is an important component of every cell in the body.

  • Your hair and your nails are made primarily of protein
  • Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues
  • Enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals all need protein- Mucles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood have this in common: protein is a basic element of all of them
  • Another benefit of protein is that foods high in protein are also full with zinc, iron and B vitamins

You can see why protein is so important to your body… but what does it do to help your diet? For one, protein builds your muscles. Not by itself, of course. You still need to exercise, but by eating high in protein foods or drinking protein shakes, you build more muscle A good rule of thumb is to eat 0.15-0.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works and the less fat you store.

Carbohydrates

It’s very important that you understand that you can’t have a long term weight loss plan the doesn’t include carbohydrates. Don’t go for diets low on carbohydrates – they will not get the job done for the long term.

Don’t fall for diets that have you eating too little Carbohydrates a day (anything under 30 grams per day). These diets are unhealthy, and will only help you lose weight in the short run. Needless to say, any diet that only loses weight in the short term is ineffective, because it can’t last long and your will just end up gaining the weight back once you go off the diet.

Where should your Carbohydrate intake come from?

“Whole grains”. They are a great source of energy, B vitamins and fiber. Refined grain products are not as good as whole grain foods.

Dairy

Remember protein? Well, dairy products contain quite a nice amount of it. Dairy foods are also a good source for calcium and vitamin D. Science recently discovered something interesting about calcium. It works on the cellular level to break down fat in the cell. That results in faster metabolism and a slimmer you!

Fats

Try not eating saturated fats, if you can manage it. Heart diseases and high cholesterol levels await those that eat too much saturated fats. On top of that, saturated fat contains extra calories that will make you gain weight. Monounsaturated fats are the “good” fats. Try eating those while cutting down on saturated fats.

I hope these guidelines were helpful for you. I have one last advice: Try staying positive and motivated. It’s really important Visualize the end result you want to achieve. Think of the reasons you are trying to lose weight.

Maybe you’re a parent trying to lose weight and get healthy to live long enough to enjoy life with your kids, and maybe you just want to feel proud of yourself when you look at the mirror. Whatever the case may be, keep your reasons and goals in mind, and stay motivated. It’s important to set realistic long term and short term goals.

You need an ultimate vision of how you want to look and feel in the end, as well as milestones in the way. Then, when you get to one of these milestones, you will feel proud of yourself, and that proud feeling will keep you motivated.

 

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