Are you one of the 32% of the population who made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Or maybe, you’re one of the 38% who plan to exercise more. Either way it suggests you would like to improve your lifestyle.
All good … but with all the diet plans floating around, how would you know which diet plan works best for you?
Fad diets come and go – celebrity diets, blood type diets, the new Atkins diet, Rosemary Conley, Whole Food Plant-based diet (WFPB) – the list is endless. A number of them are supported by sound marketing plans and are pretty expensive, too. No surprise it all gets so confusing.
Which diet is best for you?
The best diet for you is called “Moderation”.
It is true that if you follow a diet low in carbs, you lose weight. Likewise if you eliminate fat from you diet. If you’re a gym fanatic and workout 6-7 days a week, you are also likely to lose weight.
If you eliminate a food group (carbohydrates, fat or protein) from your diet, you will lose weight (unless you replace the calories with a different food). But how sound and sustainable will your diet or lifestyle be?
If a healthy lifestyle was one of your New Year’s resolutions, moderation is key. If you are aiming at weight loss, portion size matters.
What do you understand by a “balanced diet”?
The word “diet” has become synonymous with food restriction. This is not the case. The primary definition of the word “diet” is: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
A balanced diet is a plan that is sound and sustainable. It is sociable and you do not “come off” a balanced diet after a number of weeks.
- A balanced diet provides you with the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
- It also provides you with the right amount of energy. If your energy intake is greater than your expenditure, you will gain weight and vice versa.
- Sufficient fluids (not alcohol) are an integral part of a balanced diet.
- A balanced diet is low in refined sugar and salt.
What foods make up a balanced diet?
In order to function properly your body needs both macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) as well as micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Carbohydrates are the main source of food for the brain and must be available in constant supply for the brain to function properly. Carbs are found in foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that 50-55% of your energy intake comes from unprocessed whole grains, pulses and vegetables.
Eliminating fat or following a low fat diet can have serious consequences. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) cannot be transported round the body in the absence of fat. Besides, fat provides the body with energy, insulation, cell construction and prevents evaporation. Good sources of fat are oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fat is 33% of your energy (calorie) intake.
Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes (to mention but a few sources). It is an essential food group, however, contrary to popular belief, your body does not require huge amounts. The RDA is 1g / kg of body weight – which equates to approximately 10% of your energy intake. The body cannot store excess protein. When intake exceeds requirements, it is either eliminated in urea or stored as fat.
Vitamins and minerals
Your body’s requirements of vitamins and minerals is tiny when compared to carbs, fat and protein. If you are eating a variety of unprocessed foods, especially fruit, vegetables and legumes, your intake of vitamins and minerals should be sufficient.
A healthy lifestyle is achievable and sustainable. It’s certainly not as overwhelming as it sounds. If you manage a balanced diet (in the right portions), keep yourself hydrated and include 30 minutes of activity every day, you’re guaranteed quality of life.
Contact me for help with your weight loss programme.
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