How to Pick the Right Diet For You

by Andrea Morganstein MS, RD, LDN

Weight loss is a very personal journey.

That means that learning how to pick the right diet for you is a personal decision as well.

Personally, I hate the word diet, because to go on a diet means that you eventually will go off the diet and resume your normal eating habits.

People go on diets for a multitude of reasons, but most are related to health issues or the desire to change their physical appearance.

If you’re focusing exclusively on weight loss, there are many diets out there.  But they all raise questions.

  • Do they all work?
  • Which one is best for you?
  • Can it work for you?

Again, that is a personal matter. Virtually all diets work in theory because they all have the similar goal of decreasing your caloric intake.

However, learning how to pick the right diet that will help you meet your weight loss goals is largely a matter of personal choice.

How to Pick the Right Diet

Here are some things to consider when selecting a diet plan:

Short Term vs Long Term Goals

The first decision you have to make when you are learning how to pick the right diet is whether you want short term or long term results.

Short Term Results

There are many fad diets out there that promise fast weight loss. They are usually very low calorie diets that exclude many important food groups.

These diets will work, but only for the short term.

  1. You can’t stay on them for a long period of time
  2. Once you resume your normal eating behaviors, the weight will come back

In fact, not only will the weight come back, but it is likely you will gain a few extra pounds because you have decreased your metabolism by limiting your caloric intake so severely.

Long Term Results

If you want to lose the weight permanently you can’t go on a diet, you have to change your lifestyle.  When you change the way you think about food and you adopt healthier behaviors, your “diet” becomes a way of life.  This is how you sustain long term weight loss.

Look at the Foods Included in the Diet Plan

The second step to finding the best diet for you is to look at the food that is included in the plan.

If you follow a diet plan that includes foods that you do not like to eat, will you really be able to stay on the diet?

If you are not a huge fan of eating meat and you try to follow a diet consisting of mostly meat and very few carbohydrates, will you be able to stick with it? 

One of the biggest keys to knowing how to pick the right diet is to pick a plan you will actually be able to follow.

Consider Your Health Concerns

The third step to picking the right diet is to consider your health. 

You may want to lose a few pounds but are you willing to sacrifice your health to do so? People who suffer from such diseases as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other conditions need to be extremely cautious regarding their diet plans.

Many of the fad diets out there are meant for healthy individuals with no underlying conditions. While losing weight may help with your health problem, it is important to consider how you will lose weight.

It is important to contact a health professional prior to starting a weight loss diet to make sure that the diet you want to follow is the right one for your condition.

Is the Diet Too Good To Be True?

The fourth part of learning how to pick the right diet is using your common sense.  If the diet promises that you will lose 10 pounds in a week, it usually is not safe, long term weight loss.

  • The only way to really lose the weight and keep it off forever is to relearn how to eat
  • A healthy diet will usually result in a 1-2 pound weight loss per week
  • You should not feel deprived and you should be slowly adopting a healthier lifestyle
  • If you make too many changes too soon, you are setting yourself up for failure
  • Set attainable goals and you will be more likely to continue
  • Once you achieve your initial goals you can then adopt additional ones

Picking the Right Diet Isn’t Complicated

Weight loss is not complicated. 

It isn’t about only:

  • Eating only certain foods
  • Only eating at certain times
  • Mixing certain foods together

You just need to learn:

  • Proper portion sizes
  • Healthier ways to eat the foods you love
  • To increase the amount of energy to expend so that it exceeds the amount of calories you consume
  • To change your behavior towards food

Remember, it did not take you a week to gain the weight therefore you should not expect to lose it in a week.

Now that you know how to pick the right diet, you can look over the options, find the one that’s best for you, and get started toward meeting your weight loss goals.