Making any kind of change to your diet is difficult. Especially if it involves cutting back on some of the foods you love. But many times, what’s even harder is to find the right diet for you.
First, there’s a ton of options to choose from. You can select a plan or program that is low in fat, high in fat, low carb, high protein, and more.
While choices are typically good, when it comes to diet, this can make it incredibly difficult to know which one to select. Specifically, which one will give you the results you so desperately want?
To complicate matters further, despite what many dietary programs and creators would like you to believe, there is no one-size-fits-all plan that works for everyone.
The One-Size-Fits-All Diet Myth
Have you ever had a friend be super successful on a particular diet, only to try it yourself and experience less than stellar results? If so, you’ve already seen this for yourself.
Admittedly, some diets are based on better foundational advice than others but, overall, just because a specific plan works for one person doesn’t mean that it will also work for someone else.
As human beings, we are fairly complex. This means that we all tolerate and process foods in slightly different ways, just like we store fat in different ways, with some people being more top or bottom heavy and others carrying it all over.
Before you get frustrated because this means that there is no one diet plan that is guaranteed to work for you, there is a silver lining here. That lining is, if you have ever tried a diet and it didn’t provide the results you want, the problem could be that it simply wasn’t the right diet for you. How do you know which one is?
Tips for Finding a Diet That Works for You
Other than trying each diet out individually to see if it works, there are a few things you can do that will narrow your options tremendously. They are:
- Consider your lifestyle. If you want to set yourself up for dietary success, the plan you choose has to work with your lifestyle. For instance, if you absolutely despise cooking, you likely won’t do well on a diet that requires that you prepare three meals a day. Yes, you’ll have to make some dietary changes if you want to achieve your goals, but the better these changes fit into your life, the more likely it is they’ll stick.
- Use common sense. Just because a diet exists doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy (or safe) option. To keep from becoming the victim of someone else’s ill-devised plan, use common sense when picking your diet. If it requires that you cut out entire food groups or restricts your calories to the point where a prisoner on a starvation diet eats more, then it’s probably not a healthy diet for you.
- Think long term. One problem with the word “diet” is that it implies that this is a temporary change. However, temporary changes bring about temporary results. Instead, choose a dietary plan you can stick with long-term (preferably forever). If you don’t, you risk gaining all of the weight back you initially lose, and then some.
- Talk to your doctor. People with certain medical conditions can actually make their health worse by following certain diets. For example, if you have just one kidney—whether being born with only one, donating one, or having one removed due to illness or disease—the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America recommends avoiding high-protein diets since excessive consumption of this macronutrient can strain the remaining kidney. Talking with your doctor before starting a new eating plan can help you select one that isn’t going to make you feel worse instead of better.
- Work with a nutritionist. What would you think of having a diet created solely for you? Well, that’s exactly what you get when you work with a nutritionist. Not only does this person have a good foundational knowledge of different foods and how they may affect you specifically, but it also means that you have someone to go to if your diet needs to be tweaked, giving you better results in the end. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers an online search you can do to find one close to you.
Finding the right diet often takes some time. So, if you try one and don’t get the results, tweak it and try it again or try another one. As long as you keep going, you’ll find the best one for you in the end.