If you want to eat healthily and lose weight without starving yourself, this article will show you the secrets to a healthy diet plan.
The nutrition industry is filled with conflicting advice which can lead to confusion rather than being helpful. Especially when it comes to diets, you don’t know who to trust because most people are pushing their own agendas.
You may be wondering; should I go paleo or should I go vegan or should I go low carb? I can’t answer that but I’ll give you a better solution.
Don’t buy into the idea that there is a diet that works for all. Our bodies are not the same and they react differently to different foods. So following a diet just because it worked for someone else won’t guarantee weight loss.
The good news is that all healthy diet plans share common principles which make them work. So instead of following any diet just incorporate these principles into your eating habits and you’ll be able to lose weight.
I think it’s impossible to find a diet that works for all people. There are many needs that can’t be addressed in one diet, like health conditions, different budgets, allergies, level of activity and food preferences. The best diet for you is what works for you and what you can eat long term. It’s impossible to eat foods you don’t like long term.
So what do these healthy diet plans have in common? What makes them work? Let’s look into the key principles of a good diet.
1. They encourage you to eat enough nutrients
All healthy diet plans tell you to eat nutrient-dense meals. And not just when eating main meals but also when snacking. Here are some nutrient-dense foods you can add to your diet.
2. They promote lifetime eating habits
Good diets are realistic and ask you to adapt healthy eating habits that you can maintain long term. Most fad diets are not realistic and want you to make changes which you won’t be able to keep up with. Fad diets can help you achieve short term success but chances are you’ll end up gaining the weight back.
Avoid diets with foods which you can’t eat long term.
3. They tell you to eat vegetables in every meal
Vegetables have fiber which is filling and they are also rich in antioxidants, as well as minerals and vitamins.
Always include veggies in your meals; you can even eat them as your snack meal.
4. They discourage eating processed foods
Let’s face it, processed foods are everywhere and they are easy to prepare. This convenience makes it easy for many people opt for them, which is not a good thing! All successful weight loss programs tell you to avoid foods made in the factories.
You never know what chemicals have been added to these foods during processing. This rule also applies for beverages as well, not just solid foods.
5. They focus on whole foods
Healthy diet plans tell you to eat meals from whole foods. Almost all your calories should come from whole foods; sometimes you may need supplements and shakes (they are not necessary for successful weight loss though).
All your meals should consist of whole foods.
6. They tell you to exercise regularly
All good diets encourage regular exercise and increased physical activity as part of the weight loss journey.
Exercise improves the ability of the body to turn the food you eat into energy instead of fat. The other great thing about exercising regularly is you’ll be more conscious of what you eat.
7. They tell you to ditch sugar and products with added sugar
Our bodies store excess sugar found in fruits, starchy carbs, sodas and energy drinks as fat. The problem is that added sugars are in so many foods nowadays that you may consume them without knowing.
Here is everything you ought to know about sugar and the effects it has on your body.
Avoid all foods with added sugar – sugar means extra calories.
8. They tell you to cook your own meals
The only way to eat exactly what you want is by cooking the food yourself. Eating out few times is fine but make sure most of the times you eat food made at home.
And I highly doubt you will want to take your time to prepare an unhealthy meal. Chances are if you cook your meals you will eat healthily.
#9. They are flexible
You don’t need 100% nutritional discipline in order to lose weight. 90% adherence to nutrition is enough for a successful weight loss. It’s okay to have cheat meals 2 or 3 times a week, this can be any food you like or a drink, as long as you don’t overindulge.
Healthy diets don’t ask you to adhere to nutritional habits 100% because it’s not realistic and most people can’t do it. Truth is, 2 or 3 cheat meals per week will have a negligible effect on your progress.
10. They encourage patience
All healthy diet plans encourage you to take it easy on weight loss; they promote weight loss of one to two pounds per week.
Rapid weight loss is not healthy because it leads to loss of muscles. Any program that promises you will lose 10 pounds in a week is not healthy and you should avoid it by all means.
11. They encourage eating healthy fats
Fats help fill you up and are essential for good health. Eating all three kinds of healthy fats, that is saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats will improve your health and can also help you lose fat.
Saturated fats come from animal products and coconut oil while monounsaturated fats come from nuts, olives and olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats come from fish oil, mixed nuts, and flax-seed oil.
12. They tell you to eat lean protein every meal
This rule applies to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. You should eat lean protein, especially from animal products every time you eat. If you are a vegetarian find non-animal proteins which you can eat in every meal.
13. They discourage calorie containing drinks
Healthy diet plans tell you to avoid any drinks that contain calories; this includes alcohol, soda, energy drinks and even fruit juice. The beverages you should drink every day are water and green tea.
The problem with calorie containing drinks is that they have a high percentage of sugar and they are easy to digest.
14. The tell you to eat breakfast
I’m sure you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast will keep your energy levels up through the day and increase your satiety.
Start your day with quality proteins, healthy carbs, and sufficient fat.
15. They help control food intake and appetite
When you eat regularly and eat quality food your satiety level goes up and you stay full for longer. This helps prevent overeating and there will be no need for calorie counting, which brings me to the next point.
16#. They don’t advocate for calorie counting
As you and I know, calorie counting can be annoying and time-consuming. Good diets don’t ask you to count calories but I still believe it’s something you need to do if you are not able to estimate your portions well. But it’s not something you should obsess over; once you are able to eyeball the portions you should stop counting calories.
17. They have a variety of foods and are nutritionally balanced
Eating the same meal over and over can be boring, a good diet has a variety of foods and they are nutritionally balanced.
Avoid diets which promote the consumption of a certain food considering it the “magic bullet”. We need all the macronutrients and no one single food can give us that.
18. They don’t go to extremes
Healthy diet plans don’t encourage you to go to extremes of any form. Extreme diets are not healthy and you can’t maintain them for long.
Successful diets don’t also encourage deprivation of any nutrients, as long as a food is healthy and natural there is no need to avoid it unless you have an allergy.
19. The tell you to eat carbs when you deserve to
Carbs are a very controversial food and have been demonized a lot of late. The fact that there is so much added sugar in processed carbs led to the demonization of all carbs.
You need to eat carbs regularly, especially vegetables and fruits, don’t eat many fruits though.
Also, eat carbs from whole grains. The amount of carbs your body needs will vary from person to person. If you exercise regularly you should eat a moderate amount of carbs if not high, I’m talking 30-50% of your daily calorie intake.
20. They help you lose weight
If you follow all the above principles of a healthy diet plan you will lose weight. It is possible to lose weight without following these principles but chances are it won’t be a healthy weight loss.
All successful healthy diets are not that different. They may have different approaches but they all share the same principles.
You don’t have to be on any diet to lose weight. Just apply these principles to your eating habits and you will start seeing results. There is no superior diet which works magic and just because a diet works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. The best diet for you is what works for you!
I would like to hear from you. Have you been applying these principles to your eating habits?[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]