The book stores and Internet today are filled with an overwhelming number of diet plans for weight loss. Diets that promise you the earth and flash to your inner thin person, "pick me, pick me", but do they deliver?
You will probably find that most diets will help somebody, but you need to be able to work out if they are going to help you. I know three people who lost a heap of weight on the Atkins diet, but when I tried it I almost passed out on the sixth day. So all diet plans will not suit all people.
Here are my tips for choosing a diet plan that will work for you.
Tip # 1 Flexibility
First of all your diet plan must be flexible. You should be able to follow the program whether you are a meat lover, a vegetarian or somebody with special dietary needs. Your diet plan should be flexible enough to allow for those times when you will eat a little extra and should allow you to factor that in. It will also allow for the occasional treats so that you don't have to sit there feeling glum while everybody else is eating cake.
Tip #2 Weight loss should be slow and steady
If your weight loss plan is promising that you will lose 10 lbs in 10 days, it is probably not going to be a great program. You may lose that much by starving yourself, drinking shakes or swallowing a handful of supplements, but there is a high likelihood that you will put it all back on again plus a bit more.
Fast weight loss diets do not teach you what you should be eating, and do not train you to get back in touch with feeling full and knowing when to stop eating naturally. If your diet is too strict, you will most likely suffer a rebound effect at some stage and break out by motoring through the fridge until you have eaten everything worth eating.
The best plans aim for a loss of 1-2.2 lbs (0.5-1.0 kg) a week.
Tip #3 Your weight loss plan should be healthy
This really goes without saying. No weight loss program should ban healthy foods - fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, chicken, meat, fish, pork, legumes, nuts and seeds for example. You should be able to incorporate all of your favourite healthy foods into your diet plan.
Tip #4 You should have access to support
A much underestimated factor in weight loss is support, and hopefully you will have supportive family and friends. Programs like Weight Watchers are excellent because of the support provided at the weekly meetings from your leader and other people who attend the meetings. However, if you find a weight loss plan online, it is important that support is offered through regular emails from the provider, online tools and perhaps a forum that members can join to talk about their challenges and to help each other.
Tip # 5 Sustainability
Another really important aspect of a weight loss plan is that it should be sustainable after the initial losing weight phase. You don't want to reach your goal weight and be left wondering what do I do now? The best plans will enable you to lose weight, and maintain it for the rest of your life because you are following a way of eating that suits you.
Tip #6 Affordability
You may think that affordability is an odd tip, however if you are on a budget, you will need to factor in the cost of joining a program that has weekly or monthly fees. If you need to attend for a long period of time, this can be quite a considerable drain on the budget. Joining online programs can cut the cost considerably, and there are some good programs available online that you can buy for a one-off fee and receive life time support through emails and forums.
Follow my tips to help you find a healthy eating plan for weight loss, and you will have no trouble finding a plan to follow for the rest of your life.