Lose weight, improve your health, and get fit with these tips on diets.
Diets are designed to either facilitate weight loss or control other health conditions. Typically, diets focus on calorie-counting, sugar and/or fat reduction, portion control and lifestyle changes. Many specialty diets claim to help people lose weight in a certain amount of time or by eating only certain kinds of foods -- cutting out carbohydrates, for example, or by eating grapefruits. While they may show results in the short term, these types of diets are not always the most well-balanced or beneficial for one's health. Diets should be carefully planned and healthy in order to be a useful tool for anyone struggling with a weight problem or managing other health issues.
According to the Mayo Clinic, person should predetermine his or her willingness to make the necessary changes required to be successful with a diet plan. An individual who is ready to begin a diet:
The next step in planning a healthy diet is to decide the meal plan that best fits with one's lifestyle and tastes. Choosing a diet rich in the proper nutrients and low in unnecessary calories is the basic rule of thumb.
When it comes to weight loss efforts, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends that individuals who wish to begin a diet consult a healthcare professional first in order to select a safe and responsible weight-loss plan. This means the diet should focus on an eating plan that is healthy and easy to follow. It also means that physical activity should be an adjunct to the plan. Healthy and safe diets include:
The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid Tool is a free, online interactive instrument that individuals may find helpful during the course of dieting. By entering one's age, weight and height, the weight pyramid tool will show proper amounts of each food in the pyramid, including sweets, carbohydrates, dairy, grains, fats and fruits. It also indicates the number of calories a person should eat daily, as well as the amount of daily exercise needed to lose weight. Foods that should be eaten most often are at the bottom of the pyramid, while foods that should be indulged in less are at the top.
Many people find diets difficult to maintain due to the general requirements of staying away from certain foods, feeling forced to load up on other less-appealing options, and feeling continually hungry. Consequently, diets are often temporary, and the weight returns as soon as the diet is discontinued. Selecting the strategy that best fits the dieter's lifestyle, tastes and goals may be the key to weight loss success. Specialty diets offer a variety of approaches to weight loss:
Success with any of these diets requires sustained lifestyle changes in terms of food consumption and activity level. This means dieters will usually achieve better results by selecting a strategy to which he or she can make a life-long commitment.
People who have certain health conditions benefit from diets targeted toward their medical needs. Diabetes meal plans must balance food choices with insulin levels and medications. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH Diet, has been scientifically proven to lower high blood pressure. The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women follow a nutritious diet that includes 300 extra calories per day to sustain healthy fetal development.
Whether it is used to improve one's overall health or to lose weight, a carefully planned and healthy diet can be a powerful tool. With a little patience and a lot of commitment to change, a person can select the diet that fits his or her lifestyle and achieves results that last.