In this day and age, dieting is a very common goal for many young people. We all want to lose some extra weight and eat healthier in our daily lives. But the question is, "how do we start?" We have listed 5tips to keep in mind before starting on your dieting journey!
- Determine what type of diet you want
Are you thinking about transitioning into becoming a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian or just trying to cut down on specific types of food? It is helpful to do your research about what type of diet you want so you have a clear idea of what you are willing to eat and not eat. Doing your research online by typing in a specific type of diet will give many helpful websites and recipes for your desired diet plan. If you are unsure of what each diet entails, here are some basic definitions of each.
Vegetarian: Vegetarian diets contain various levels of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, and seeds. Some vegetarians do eat dairy and eggs. Other choose not to eat dairy, but eat eggs.
Vegan: A vegan diet contains only plants (such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) and foods made from plants. Vegans do not eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs.
Pescatarian: someone who chooses to eat a vegetarian diet, but who also eats fish and other seafood. It's a largely plant-based diet of whole grains, nuts, legumes, produce and healthy fats, with seafood playing a key role as a main protein source. Many pescatarians also eat dairy and eggs.
- Find out what foods you should eat
Create a list of foods you should incorporate in your diet and make an effort to add it onto your grocery list. The first step to a diet is knowing what to eat. According to NHS UK, people should eat:
- High Fiber Starchy Carbohydrates (this includes high fiber or wholegrain pastas, rice, bread, cereal ,etc.)
- 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day (the key is a variety of dried, frozen, canned or fresh fruits and vegetables)
- If you are a pescatarian, eat a
- Find out what foods you shouldn't eat
The hardest part of a diet is eating what you're not supposed to. Creating a list will help you when you're grocery shopping. After all, the best practice for dieting is "out of sight, out of mind" Do not keep foods you shouldn't eat in your house or else you will be tempted to eat it. According to the NHS UK, people should eat less of:
- Saturated fats: high levels of cholesterol in blood can cause higher risks of heart diseases, choose unsaturated fats instead
- Sugar: any type of drink or food with high levels of sugar can cause obesity and cavities. Limit the amount of sugar you intake a day
- Salt: limit the amount of food with salts in your diet. Eating too much salt can cause an increase in blood pressure which can increase the risk of a stroke or heart disease
Checking the food labels when you're buying packaged foods is the best way to avoid eating too much saturated fats, sugars and salts.
- Be realistic and set goals
Set a pace for your dieting journey. Don't immediately become a vegetarian for example. Slowly transition from your normal diet to a more healthier diet. This process may take weeks or even months. Before you begin your diet, ask yourself, "why are you starting this diet?" What is your end goal you are trying to accomplish? Is it achievable ? Is it realistic? When do you want to achieve this goal by? Next year? In 6 months? Identifying your goals will help you feel motivated to continue your dieting journey.
- Match your diet to your lifestyle
Figure out how to balance your diet and your daily life. Are you a busy person who doesn't have enough time in the day to cook a healthy meal? Find alternatives like searching for vegetarian or vegan restaurants near your house. Or are you a person who doesn't know how to cook healthy meals ? No worries, there are millions of healthy recipes online to choose from. And if the diet you chose doesn't fit your lifestyle, consider switching to a different diet that does work. It is about finding the right diet that is both healthy and convenient for you.
Overall, a diet does not mean not eating. It means eating the right foods and not eating the wrong foods. Your diet journey is individualized to you, so do not be ashamed to explore what type of diet fits your tastes and lifestyle. Good luck to everyone who is interested in starting their diet journey and may you have the motivation to start your healthy diet!