There are a TON of nutrition guides out there and knowing which one to go with and spend your money on can be a daunting task. Basically we’re going to be talking about nutrition plans and how to find the perfect one for YOU. There are so many different diets/nutrition guides out there, but how do you know which one to go with? How do you know it’ll work for you? Below I’ll let you in on a few tips.
First, let me start off by saying I won’t actually tell you the perfect diet or that X guide is perfect. I’m going to tell you something many people (especially if they’re in the diet industry) won’t tell you: there is no perfect diet for everyone. It does not exist. There is only a perfect diet for YOU. I go further into this below - so keep reading! ;)
I also want to note before I begin, that a diet or nutrition guide shouldn’t be your sole way of losing weight. It should be a guide to help you learn how to eat better and what to eat. It should be accompanied with exercise and the amount of calories you intake should be based off your age, gender, height and activity level. Fad diets that want you to decrease your calorie intake dramatically won’t help you in the long run. When looking for a nutrition guide, I like to look for one that will offer information about different foods, portion sizes, meal plans, and also give information on how to keep it up.
Okay, now I’m ready to get into the good stuff!
Not one guide works for every one person
First off, it’s important to understand that just because Sally over there is on X diet or nutrition guide and is thriving off of it, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will too. All of our bodies are different and react differently to different foods (that’s a lot of different, I know haha) and just because Sally’s diet doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you and your body - it just means you need a different guide.
But, there are sooo many guides and plans, my head is spinning just thinking about it!
I completely get it, I really do. I mean, where do you start? Well, let’s start here:
Talk to me about special diets
Alright, so special diets are for those who need specific dietary restrictions, such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, those with allergies, etc. Currently, gluten free is popular and no, not because there’s been a huge increase in those with Celiac disease, but because it’s become a fad and “healthy”. I’m not saying being gluten free is unhealthy, but it’s not really necessary unless you have Celiac disease or you have a gluten sensitivity. If you have Hashimotos (an autoimmune disease having to do with the thyroid), going gluten free is usually advised. However, if you don’t feel like you have any sensitivity to certain foods then don’t restrict it. Gluten is actually a protein and isn't bad for you (unless you’re sensitive to it or have Celiac disease), yet it’s made out to be so.
It’s important to not just be gluten free or whatever-free just for the heck of it or because it’s a popular choice. The point of following a diet plan or nutrition guide is NOT to find things to restrict, but rather know the best way to eat food so you are giving your body what it needs.
Okay cool, so what about going vegan or vegetarian?
I think going vegan or vegetarian is a great idea, but make sure you understand what you can substitute certain foods for. Meat has protein in it that can definitely be gotten from plant-based foods. Nuts, beans, tofu, seitan, etc. can be combined to make amazing meals! I had one of the best veggie burgers a few weeks ago that had sunflower seeds, black beans, red onion, carrots, and old fashioned oats - it’s seriously amazing how creative you can get when you’re vegan or vegetarian.
But, is it for me?
That’s something you’ll have to try out for yourself. I’m not going to tell you exactly what diet or nutrition guide to use because like I said above, everyone is different. Most of the time you’ll have to try it out for a few weeks and see if it works for you. If not, then that’s cool, you probably learned something from it and can adjust accordingly.
So, I’ve heard about counting macros…
Macros are pretty cool and it’s associated with flexible dieting and IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). Basically, you track your macros (grams of proteins, carbs and fats - MyFitnessPal can do this for you) and if you want, say a piece of cake, and if it fits your macros - you can eat it. It’s pretty cool and I did it for awhile, but I stopped primarily because I hate tracking things, but again, if you think this sounds good for your body then try it out for yourself and see what you think!
How about diets like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers?
There are probably those who will disagree with me, but I don’t believe these programs are good for long term use and that’s the problem with programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. They restrict your calorie intake a lot and that’s not healthy, especially for someone who is exercising on top of that. The thing with these programs is that they are part of the diet industry, separate from the fitness industry. They know that you won’t keep up with the program and in a few weeks or couple of months you’ll stop with the program, gain the weight back and then start up again because “it worked for you before”. That’s called a yo-yo diet my friends and trust me, it’s not something you should get into. Skip these programs. There are better ones that actually want you to stick with it and want you to keep the weight off and want you to be the healthiest version of yourself!
Sweet, I have an idea of what diet/guide I’d like to try, but how do I know it’ll be good?
Research. Use Google and research the heck out of it and see what people are saying. Look at YouTube videos and find out if there are reviews on it. Then, try it out. See if you like it. If not you can always stop and look for something new. You’ll know if it’s working by how you feel. If you feel really good with it, then stick with it! If you feel tired and less up to exercising… look for another one.
What to take from this
Although it seems like there are a million nutrition plans out there, it's truly not as hard as you may think. Your perfect diet is the one you create. So, here's what you could do:
First, eliminate any foods you are sensitive to or have allergies to (peanuts, gluten, etc.)
Then, decide if you want to try being vegan or vegetarian. If not, then that's cool too.
If you have a certain plan in mind then research it and find out for yourself if it'll be a good fit. Then, try it out! If after a few weeks you don't feel great or you don't think it's a right fit, then stop and try a new one.
If you don't have a certain plan in mind then research plans or research a bit on nutrition and create your own plan. The latter definitely takes time, but is probably your best bet! I don't follow a nutrition plan currently, but i did use one to begin with so I could get my feet wet and understand portion sizes and how to create my own meals better. I now create my own meal plans weekly and LOVE how it makes me feel! It may take some time for you to find your perfect plan or even come up with your own, but you will feel amazing once you do!
I hope this quick guide helped you in some way! I'll see ya next time!