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Creating the perfect weight loss diet ... for yourself | Balance

The biggest secret of the dieting industry? That there is no “big secret”; all diets essentially work the same way. They help you achieve a calorie deficit which results in weight loss.

Whatever way it’s dressed up, all “diets” aim to achieve that same goal. Some will do it more aggressively than others. Some will ask you to cut out certain foods or add in certain foods. Some will use a supplement / product to create a calorie deficit. Some will even ask you to restrict when you can eat.

The end product? A calorie deficit.

“Ok, well if that’s the case why didn’t I achieve my goals?” because your body changes whilst the diet remains the same; what is required for change (specifically weight loss) will change as you become more successful and time progresses.

It’s this reason why many people have such a cyclical relationship with dieting. They believe they’ve failed in some way when, in reality, it’s the generic dietary approach which has failed you.

This is the first step in determining the right weight loss diet that works for you; realizing that the approach will change over time and that there’s no magic to it. It’s consistency and planning that will help you achieve your short- and long-term goals.

Plan of action

When you want to set out on a journey, what’s the first thing you do? You plan it. You know what the destination is and you figure out the best way to get there before you aimlessly start moving.

This same principle can be applied to dieting. Understand what your goals are for this weight loss phase and understand as well that it is a “phase”. You can’t lose weight forever, you’ll disappear, so know at which point you want to stop (or even plan a diet break or two if it is a longer process) and plan for how your dietary intake will change after you’ve finished losing weight.

Use the SMART goals principle to establish short- and long-term checkpoints you want to tick off. SMART goals are those which are; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Having goals in place will not only assist with accountability but can also help motivate when dieting becomes more difficult (either because of the diet itself or things happening in your life).

Choosing the right diet

The weight loss industry is both good and bad; there is a virtually endless amount of dietary approaches to choose from, however many of these have misleading claims and overblown results (especially those that tend to use specific weight loss products like herbal teas etc.).

Some can even be dangerous and there are countless stories of women losing their periods, the development of eating disorders, people becoming more prone to injury etc.

When you’re choosing an approach there are certain things you have to consider;

· How patient would I be with an approach?

· Would I want a more aggressive approach that would only be short term and possibly impact my performance or a less aggressive, more prolonged approach that would protect my performance?

· What are my non-negotiables (date night, family dinners, times which you can eat based on work schedule etc.)?

· Would I want a diet that restricts what I can eat or when I can eat or both?

· If I’m choosing to use a supplement, is it one which will be safe for me?

· Realistically, could I adhere to this d