If you are a living, breathing person, chances are your New Year resolution has something to do with losing weight, eating healthy or exercising. Any fitness expert will say that physical exercise and diet control are the two main ingredients of weight loss. Exercising for most might probably be a task that depresses you and one you really don’t want to do. The only alternative is dieting - which is one step ahead of diet control.
A diet need not be just for weight loss. Depending on your purpose, dieting can make you lose fat, gain mass or build muscle. It can help you overcome ailments such as diabetes and cholesterol issues, but for those who take it to an extreme, dieting can turn into a disease itself. Dangerous eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, along with other conditions, can be credited to a habit of abstaining from food. There are hundreds of thousands of documented diets that one may follow.
Depending on what you want to and can achieve you can actually attain your goals. The overall best diet is the DASH diet. Not only does it help in weight loss but it also reduces blood pressure and cholesterol.
The American Heart Association and The American College of Cardiology recommend the DASH diet, which “emphasises fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts.” It is also considered the best way to control diabetes. The website www.dashdiet.org has links to how you can start and you can fill out a questionnaire to create a food plan for yourself that suits your budget.
A diet shouldn’t have to mean that you starve yourself. Surprisingly, if you do the research, you will find out that you actually eat more while on a good diet than you would eat otherwise. What most people assume is that if they stop eating all together they are ‘dieting’ and that’s when health problems arise.
Before starting an eating regimen either a nutritionist should be consulted or a good amount of study should be undertaken. The Internet is full of reliable sources to figure out which diet is the best for you.
The protein heavy Atkins diet is another popular one that people follow without knowing all the facts. The basic theory of this diet is that carbohydrates are the fuel that help our body run. If we do not ingest any carbs externally, the body is forced to look for that fuel internally.
The best alternative available is stored fat. Hence, if you stop having carbs like potatoes, rice, bread and other fats you will burn the stored fat and eventually lose weight. This diet is exceptionally difficult for vegetarians as the protein that one requires to fill the stomach comes in the form of chicken, fish and eggs.
Then there are some diets that are actually effort free. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Slim-Fast diets actually have pre-packaged, portion controlled food items that manage your calorie intake and that is how your weight is managed. You can also get their cook books. The only downside is you will get obsessed with counting calories.
There are some very funky diets that sound really attractive - for instance the Cookie Diet. You have to keep snacking on specially made low fat cookies throughout the day and have a low calorie dinner at night. Also the three-day-diet promises that you will lose about five kg in three days, a good quick fix if you have to fit into a dress for a special event. This one is an ultra-restrictive diet that works on minimal calorie intake. The good thing is it is just for three days, so before you get tired of it, you are done with it!
There is the vegetarian diet and the vegan diet for non-meat eaters. It focuses on protein rich grains and meat substitutes. One must know that veggies have a lot of raw power in the form of vitamins and minerals.
So before you go on your journey into healthy eating, decide what you want and what you feel is something you can accommodate in your lifestyle. Food should not dictate your life - be it in the form of eating rubbish or eating healthy food.