When it comes to eating and diet, there are hundreds even thousands of paths that you could choose. It can be touch to know which diet choices are right for you. Some diets favor restricting certain type of food, while others would allow you all foods in moderation. Many diets focus on controlling a certain number of dietary calories, which is essentially the amount of heat produced if we were to burn the food item. A more recent popular diet style is based off of controlling a certain number of macronutrients in your diet. Macronutrients (or Macros) are grouped into three main categories: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each of these diet styles would outline a general plan for the user, which then helps you to create your grocery shopping list & meal plans.
Dieting is not a one-size fits all sport. People will diet for many different reasons, and others put little thought to their diet choices. A properly customized diet should be set for a user based off of many factors including age, gender, and individual goals. The first step is to commit to yourself that you will be embarking on a new diet plan. The question then becomes: Why are you dieting in the first place?
Dieting for Weight Loss
When you are dieting specifically with the goal to lose weight, your diet plan must be very specific. Your diet will likely include a certain number of calories or certain number of macros from each category. A weight loss diet will create a balance between food intake and the energy that you burn during your day and your workout regimen. This balance is a delicate thing. Most would say that it is equally a failure to take in too much as not enough food in a given day. Remember, food is the fuel that your body needs to keep operating in top shape! Weight loss diet plans are tailored to your lifestyle and help to work you towards shedding those pounds!
Dieting for Health
This type of diet is one that is probably the most debatable. Health experts will often disagree on what is the “perfect” diet to be using for one’s health. The basis for healthy diets is that of getting enough of the right kinds of fuels for your body. The goal of this type of diet would be to improve health, increase longevity of life, and to keep your internal organs healthy. I would advocate for a whole food-based diet. This means that you would be cooking/preparing your own food, and not incorporating processed foods into your diet. If we consume more natural/whole foods, we get access to much more of the nutrients in the foods that we consume. Dieting for your health means that you are getting the right mixture of nutrients, vitamins, and macronutrients. This is important to keep yourself healthy for today and tomorrow.
Dieting for your health and for weight loss are both admirable goals. As I said earlier, there are a multitude of options when it comes to “diets”. The key is to set a goal and find a plan that is sustainable for your lifestyle. Things that you should take into account are cost, your exercise/fitness regimen, and your social/work schedule. Embarking on a diet that is too costly or takes more time than your schedule allows for meal preparation is not something that will likely be sustainable. The key to success with any diet plan is that you actually stick to it!
Not sure which diet path to go down? Start with talking with your health care professional, they can usually steer you in the right direction to start your diet plan. “Good diet choices” cannot be universally applied. It is important to make sure that the diet plan that you start on is safe for you…at a bare minimum!