Starting a new diet but unsure if it's worth it? Follow these tips to deciphering if the journey you're about to embark on will help you lose weight in the long run.
1. Avoid any diet that eliminates one "enemy." Cutting one single food from your diet isn't going to do you any good in the long run — especially if that one food is a macronutrient (carb, fat or protein). Weight loss is crazy complex and depends on a ton of factors: calories, food quality, hormones, history, genetics, exercise, body type, age, etc. You can't restrict a food that is necessary to your body's survival and expect to see long-term results.
2. Avoid restrictive calorie-based diets. Sticking to a rigid, inflexible number won't get you very far. Listen to your body's hunger cues. Sure, track your calories, proteins, fats and carbs, but don't limit yourself to 1,500 calories a day just for the sake of eating 500 fewer calories. It all depends on the makeup of the foods you eat. Plus, you could be wrecking your metabolism and causing yourself to over-eat later in the day.
3. Liquid diets do not translate to long-term success. Sure, a meal replacement protein shake is great every once in a while, but a purely liquid diet or cleanse is not your friend. First of all, you can't live forever on protein shakes and detox drinks. Second, you'll gain any weight you may have lost right back as soon as you do go back to solid foods. When you do decide to replace the occasional meal with a smoothie or shake, make sure it isn't loaded with sugar; you'll just be even hungrier later!
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4. If you feel tired, hungry or irritable, it's time to make a change. A few weeks into your diet, you should feel energized, focused, satisfied and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. That's what good nutrition is all about, especially when you throw in some workouts!. The weight loss is just an added bonus!
5. Avoid a diet you've tried and given up on in the past. This one's a no-brainer! If you've followed a diet similar to the one you're about to embark on, run away as fast as you can. There's a reason you're going back to that diet. If it worked, you would still be following it!
6. Focus on the big picture. A diet isn't a quick fix. A diet should be a plan that you can follow long term. Just as working out for a week won't transform your body, following a crash diet for a week won't either. You're in it for the long haul!
7. Make sure you can still eat at restaurants. If your new food plan means you can't eat out anymore, chances are you need to make some adjustments. Sure, you'll probably have to choose a different entreé than you typically would, but having to stop eating at restaurants altogether is a bad sign. Eating is fun and social by nature.
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8. Avoid a diet full of "diet foods." Processed foods that are marketed as "low calorie" or "low fat" are hiding the fact that they're still not good for you. It's best to stick to non-processed, whole foods. That way you know exactly what you're consuming!
9. You should be able to eat like this for the rest of your life. If you can't envision yourself eating this way forever, that means it's a bad diet. If all goes well with this diet, you won't need to make a major change like this ever again. Remember: Weight loss is a lifestyle change.
Have you lost weight with a major lifestyle diet change? Share how you did it in the comments below!