Now that the warmer months of the year have rolled around, swimsuit season is upon us. For this reason, many of us are already planning to go on a diet so that our summer bodies are ready to embrace everything this time of year has to offer. However, dieting isn’t as simple as you think. In fact, it involves some serious decision making.
Asking the Right Questions
Transitioning towards a new meal plan should be considered carefully. This is not something that you can just jump into. Some of the trendy programs nowadays might not suit you and your needs to the fullest extent. Thus, you need to assess some details beforehand. Here are the three questions you need to answer prior to starting a diet.
What Is Your Weight Loss Personality?
Did you know that being aware of your mealtime behavior is the safest way to defeat the predispositions that led to weight gain in the first place? According to Thomas R. Przybeck, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine’s assistant professor of psychiatry, a person’s personality heavily influences his or her attitude towards food.
He described three main archetypes whose specific tendencies influence dietary choices. First of all, there are the impulsive ones among us. This trait becomes evident in many aspects of one’s life, including the way in which the person eats. Thus, impulse eaters are born, and they are prone to hit the fridge every time the smallest trigger makes an appearance.
Other people tend to be oblivious eaters. They sit down to enjoy their meal, and the next thing they know is that the plate is empty and they’re already reaching for seconds. Finally, there are those who find comfort in food and use it as a way to relieve anxiety. Przybeck describes them as uptight eaters that can be spotted nibbling on something when in a difficult situation.
For each one of these personality types, an approach exists. Eliminating temptation, distractors, or stress should thus be an essential part of your diet once you identify which typology you belong to. By doing so, you will make it easier for both the body and the mind to become accustomed to the new nutritional régime.
Is the Diet Balanced and Sustainable?
Figuring out how to tweak your personality is just the beginning. It’s no secret that the most important part of the diet is represented by the actual meal plan. Is it a balanced and sustainable one? The answer to this question should be yes, otherwise it is not recommended to proceed with it.
Limiting caloric intake is essential for weight loss, but it should be done in such a way so that your health is not impaired. Starving yourself is not the answer, as it can lead to serious complications in the long run. what is more, the pounds you drop like this will find their way right back on your hips and tummy when they first get the chance.
Cutting out entire nutritional groups, such as avoiding carbohydrates, or eating just one type of food like it is the case with the cabbage soup diet is thus undesirable. Instead, focus on well-adjusted programs that promote clean eating and portion control. The Fat Diminisher Diet, the 3 Week Diet Plan, or the Project Shred Diet are some viable options in this case.
What Are Your Realistic Fitness Goals?
The final detail to keep in mind before trying to lose weight is represented by your fitness goals. Are they realistic? There is a high chance that they aren’t. Overachieving is almost a given in this situation, but you need to take a step back and assess whether or not dropping ten pounds in a month is doable for you.
If it isn’t, it’s best to reconsider the endgame. Resorting to extreme diets to meet unrealistic objectives affects mental health, leading to isolation and obsessive behavior. Furthermore, research conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association, people who follow strict meal plans are five times more likely to develop an eating disorder.
The best way to determine what is achievable for you considering your personality, eating habits, and current weight is to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist. He or she can point you in the right direction and help you reassess the objectives you had set previously. When it comes to health matters, an expert opinion is the most appropriate one.
The Bottom Line
Prior to adopting a new meal plan, you need to determine your weight loss personality. Based on it, you will be able to remove temptations, distractors, and stress from your daily life. After doing this, make sure to choose a balanced and sustainable diet based on realistic fitness expectations. In this way, the pounds you drop will stay off, and you will be healthier for it.
About the Author
Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of Defend Your Healthcare. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.