There are many effective and ineffective diet plans around. As I have covered previously on this blog fad diets do not work and I believe the best way to lose weight is to exercise regularly and eat more healthily. I do not think you need to follow a pre-determined diet plan as long as you stick to relatively healthy foods most of the time. However, I understand that some people do not have the self discipline to eat healthy all the time and for these people a structured diet plan can be the answer. In this article I discuss three criteria your chosen diet plan MUST contain if you want it to succeed.
1) NO FORBIDDEN FOODS:- Many diet plans do not allow you to eat your favourite foods. However, by creating ‘forbidden foods’ these diet plans simply makes you want them even more. Ultimately, you are likely to give in to these ‘forbidden foods’ which can lead to over eating and make you gain weight.
The best diet plans will restrict your food intake, reduce the number of calories you consume and make you eat more healthily BUT it will not ban any foods outright. To lose weight you will have to change your eating habits in the long term but you should still be able to enjoy your favourite foods from time to time.
2) NO CALORIE COUNTING:- Whilst it is important to have a general understanding of your daily caloric intake, any diet plan which requires you to count the exact calories in every piece of food you consume is likely to end in disaster. Having to count the calories in every individual meal, snack and drink you consume is frustrating and very inconvenient. For example, every time you go out for a restaurant meal you will have to calculate the calories in whatever you order. Usually, all this calorie counting will lead to you becoming discouraged with your diet plan and giving up.
A good diet plan will recommend that you eat healthy foods most of the time and give you a good understanding of the general amount of calories in the various types of food. In doing this it should educate you and allow you to reduce your daily caloric intake in the long term. However, it should not be so rigid and inflexible that you have to count the calories for every single thing you eat in order to stick to an exact number of daily calories.
3) IT IS AFFORDABLE:- It is all well and good if you find a diet plan which does not ban your favourite foods and which does not require you to count calories religiously. However, if you cannot afford the diet plan all these benefits are lost.
With the huge variety of diet plans now available affordability should not be an issue. If you are really struggling to find a diet plan within your price range do some research online, ask friends or colleagues who have used diet plans in the past, take advantage of a dietitian’s services or even consult your doctor. Remember, a good diet plan should burn calories, not your wallet.
The best diet plan should be flexible and affordable. It should not impose direct restrictions on the foods you eat and the calories you take in. Instead, it should teach you how to eat healthily so that you can improve your overall diet in the long term. As I stated at the beginning of this article I do not think that you need to follow a diet plan to lose weight but if you decide to do so make sure it fulfills the three criteria outlined in this article.