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Choosing a Diet: 5 Warning Signs to Look For

Updated on March 11, 2010

One of the biggest barriers to weight loss and healthy eating is the process of choosing a diet. There are just so many different choices out there. There are low carb diets and low fat diets and low GI diets. There are diets designed to help you lose weight and diets designed to help you build muscle. There are diets for people with specific health problems and diets that are supposed to work for anyone. There are just too many diets to choose from so making the choice seems tough.

What might help you in choosing a diet is to realize that it can take awhile to find the diet that works best for you. That may sound like a bad thing but it’s important to remember that it’s a process. As you take more and more steps throughout the process, you will gain more information and have a better chance of choosing the right diet in the end.

One of the things that can help you to get started is to know that there are certain diets that are best to avoid. These diets may be unhealthy or they may simply not be effective. Knowing to avoid these diets gives you a great starting point. It allows you to start choosing from diets that are healthy and effective. Eventually, you will be able to choose the right one.

Here are five warning signs that strongly indicate that a diet is not the right diet for you to choose:

1.     The diet promises big rewards with little effort. These are the types of diets that tend to appeal to people the most. They promise that you are going to lose a lot of weight very quickly. They promise that you will lose this weight without exercising too much or having to drastically change your diet. They say that you can eat anything that you want and the pounds will still come off. We get suckered in to trying these diets because the idea is so appealing. We would love to have to do no work at all and to lose weight and feel healthier. But think about it – is that very realistic? If that could happen, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Is there even any common sense to thinking that you can change none of your habits but somehow your results are going to change? If you see a diet that promises big rewards and yet requires little change from you, stay away from it. It won’t work and you will end up feeling frustrated because you chose the wrong diet.

2.     Diets that don’t address the issue of exercise. There are two components to a healthy diet. The component that we always think about is the food itself. We know that we need to change the types and amounts of foods that we consume if we are going to lose weight and feel better. However, that’s only one part of a healthy diet. The other part is that you have to be active. You have to exercise if you want to feel healthy and lose weight. It’s just the way that it is. Although you may lose moderate amounts of weight just from changing your diet, it’s the process of changing both diet and exercise habits that promotes a real change in your life. If you are looking at a diet that doesn’t mention anything about the importance of exercise then it’s probably not the best diet to choose.

3.     The diet is clearly not nutritious. There are a lot of diets out there that may be effective for helping you to lose weight during a short period of time but they are not nutritious enough to sustain you in a healthy way for the rest of your life. For example, a diet that asks you to eat only grapefruit every single day may be one that you lose weight on but this fruit alone wouldn’t give you the nutrition that you need to stay healthy. You want to choose a diet that is healthy for your body even if you stick to the diet for your entire life. If you are unsure whether or not a diet that you’re considering is healthy then you should consult a doctor or nutritionist.

4.     The diet asks you to binge or fast. Although there are some proven benefits to fasting, this isn’t a smart approach to dieting over the course of your lifetime. If a diet asks you not to eat or to fast for certain periods of time then it probably isn’t the best diet for you to choose. Moderation in a diet is something that you want to look for when choosing a diet.

5.     The diet is unrealistic for you. There are some diets out there that are perfectly good diets but they aren’t going to be effective for you. The reason for this is that whatever they require you to do simply isn’t reasonable for you. For example, let’s say that a diet requires you to order prepackaged meals and to have them delivered to your home at a certain cost per month. If it is absolutely impossible for you to be able to afford this monthly fee then the diet is unrealistic for you even if it works for other people. Another example is the diet that asks you to prepare meals for yourself using certain recipes. If you are a terrible cook and unwilling to learn how to prepare complicated meals then this diet is unrealistic for you. Try to imagine doing this diet day in and day out for the next six months. If you recoil from the thought then the diet is probably unrealistic for you and you need to choose a different diet.

Looking out for these five warning signs will help you to avoid the diets that are most likely to cause you problems. After that, you just need to do some research and expect to go through a process of trial and error before finding the right diet. It’s out there; just be patient.


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