So Many Diets Out There!

With so many diets out there, how do you know what to choose to get started? Actually, it’s imperative to avoid choosing a diet, but rather, adopt a regimen that offers a template to get started. Since the key to success is a lifestyle change, instead of starting a (or another?) diet, it’s much more useful to find a plan that offers some useful tools. Well-known diet plans are set up to keep customers dependent on them rather than show them how to live in the real world.

That I love vegetables definitely gives me an advantage to maintain a healthy body. I learned to make all of these veggie dishes at a cooking class in Morocco.

As I mentioned in Start NOW!, it’s best to choose a regimen largely based on the foods you regularly eat (unless it’s all junk food, though I’m sure someone has proposed a junk food diet. Even then, I’m just not sure how successful it could be for long term health…). Along with laying out the science behind nutrition, I discussed the reasons for my regimen choices over the last 15 years in My Food Education, which might offer a useful starting point.

A produce market in Mozambique. Even when I travel, I buy produce to eat in my room, have on the road, and especially so I can try the local fare.

Ultimately, the only important factor in choosing a food plan is that you can stick to it. A group of researchers decided to compare several diets that were popular in 2000 to see which was more effective.  Their main finding was that no one diet proved better than any other, but that the biggest hurdle people encountered in attempting to lose weight was sticking with the diet to reach a healthy weight. Another study looked at the Atkins Diet and found that its effectiveness dropped precipitously after the first six months.

But I also love pizza, so I’ve learned to make concessions to occasionally indulge. I had this pizza in Rome, which is baked on a big tray, sold by weight, and served on butcher paper. This style is very different than in Naples, which is served in pies and has a thicker crust.

The bottom line: Commit to a lifestyle change by choosing a plan that you can realistically stick to and work to implement dietary changes you can live with in the long-run, or you’ll be right back where you started, but even more deflated for having failed yet another time. A lot of people go into weight loss thinking in terms of a diet as a one-off thing, which ultimately sets up failure. Rather, making better food choices and implementing good eating habits is the key to long-term success, which involves more than just losing weight, but maintaining a healthy weight.

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