How to Avoid Fad Diets and Maintain Wholesome Eating Habits

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Fad diets can be very tempting when you are trying to get healthy, but many of them are far too restrictive. At best, you’re likely to quit them soon after starting and gain any weight that you lost right back. At worst, some fad diets can cause vitamin deficiencies and other health hazards. Here are some ways to avoid fad diets and still lose weight by eating healthy, wholesome foods.

Understand What Vitamins and Nutrients Your Body Needs

Diets that are too restrictive can actually deprive your body of the nutrients and vitamins that it needs in order to function properly. That can lead to you being tired all the time, slower to react or to calculate things in your head and possibly even feeling sick. Vitamins A, B, C, D and E are all essential for your body in the proper quantities. So are minerals like iron and calcium. The amounts of each of those that you need will depend on your gender, your age, your weight and your level of physical activity. You can talk to your doctor about your own personal dietary requirements.

Learn How to Interpret Food Labels

Even most healthy diet plans say that you can only have a certain amount of calories, fat or salt in a day. As long as that amount is reasonable for your body type, there is nothing wrong with that. But, you have to teach yourself to interpret food label information properly in order to follow those instructions. One big mistake that you might make is in thinking that a container of a certain food consists of only one serving. If it contains more servings, then any calculations on the food label will only be based on part of what is in the package, not all of it. That means that it can become very easy to eat too much of a food, even if it is one that is supposedly healthy.

Find Ways to Control Your Portions

An extension of learning how to read food labels properly is learning how to do general portion control in your home. One way to do that is to use smaller plates and bowls. Plates and bowls used a few generations ago were much smaller. As the overeating trend increased, the sizes of serving dishes of all sorts have increased, as well.

Another way to control your portions is to place individual portions of your favorite healthy meals and snacks in containers and in bags ahead of time. Then, you can pull single servings out of the pantry, the fridge or the freezer as you need them. That will discourage you from eating too much at any one time.

Carry Your Own Healthy Snacks

One great healthy eating habit that you can start is carrying your own snacks. Junk food is everywhere these days. You are going to see it in commercials, on billboards and in almost any venue you visit. If you carry healthy snacks, like fresh fruit or bags of nuts with you, then you will already have something to snack on when you find yourself in those situations. A side benefit of that is that you will save money because you will do less impulse shopping.

Find Substitutes for Your Worst Trigger Foods

Each person tends to have specific foods that act as binge triggers. Your trigger food might be a candy bar, ice cream or a cookie. Whatever it is, find things that you can eat, instead that are similar, but healthier. For instance, dark chocolate is healthier than other forms of chocolate. You can use that to your advantage by dipping fresh fruits in dark chocolate instead of having candy bars. If you are craving something frozen, try cutting a banana in half and freezing it. Then you can dip the frozen halves in dark chocolate and have a healthier substitute than most ice cream treats.

Know That Gradual Changes and Occasional Treats Are Fine

One of the most frustrating things about fad diets is that they are very difficult to stick with, in addition to not necessarily being healthy. Weight loss is generally not a one-time goal. Most people want to lose the weight and keep it off for good. If you are one of those people, you have to understand that any diet plan you pick that does work is something that you will have to maintain well into the future in order to stay healthy.

That concept is what makes it much better to make gradual changes to your eating habits, rather than going on some sort of fad or crash diet. You don’t have to lose a lot of weight right away. In fact, it’s healthier if you lose no more than about a pound each week. Make subtle, slow changes to your eating habits, and you should find it easier to make the transition to healthy eating. Also, remember that occasional treats won’t ruin your diet or make you pack on the pounds. In fact, they can help to keep your general cravings for unhealthy foods down by satisfying your sweet tooth or your salty needs from time to time.