How to fix a broken diet

23 Feb
2015
By Amelia Smith

A healthy diet plan involves balancing what goes in while ensuring the body meets its daily nutritional requirement. A challenge for most people who look to get fit is ensuring they stick to the plan; something that is a huge challenge for most individuals. Why does one need to follow a diet though? When do you know you need to start a diet and exercise plan? How long should it be for? We’ll try and provide the answers to all these questions.

healthy diet

Calorie counting has become an epidemic in recent years. Every day there are new diets that conflict with previous diet plans. There are fruit-only diets, protein-only diets, carb-cutting plans, etc. which encourage individuals to ditch a particular type of food so that they can get the perfect physique, or lose excessive weight. Sometimes diets are also followed by those looking to gain weight as they feel they are too thin. The problem with most of these diets is that they inhibit all round physical and mental development in individuals. They prevent proper conditioning from happening and may do more harm than good. With so many self-proclaimed nutritional experts in the world, it’s not hard to take a step in the wrong direction. If women aspire to look like a Victoria’s Secret model or men want to look like the top actors and athletes in the world, it shows that there is some issue in their thought process. The first step, towards getting healthy, is to aspire just to get fit, not try to mimic someone else. A lot of the “desirable” body types are extremely unhealthy. Having the body of a supermodel could be detrimental to your health. Sticking to a healthy diet plan is a challenge, we’re hoping to aid you in adhering to it, and if required helping you get back on track if you feel you’ve gone off course.

Also Read: Important nutrient every man needs

1)  The mental side of diets

A diet is supposed to help you achieve desired body mass and maintain it. It has to be done in tandem with a fitness plan. A diet does not necessarily mean stopping what you love eating. That’s the first myth that needs to be broken. If a person loves cake, or chocolate, weaning themselves off it completely might be harmful to them. The human body is designed in such a way that some of the cravings we have are due to deficiencies of a certain nutrient in our bodies. Yes, the addiction angle also exists, so a fitness professional will be able to help you identify problem foods. They will also let you differentiate between a craving because of nutritional deficiencies and one that exists because of a love for a certain food type. You also have to allow space and emotional bandwidth for the fact that you might not be able to adhere to it at all times. Human tendencies, societal pressures; there are a host of reasons that people will use to avoid getting back to a diet. The hard part is for people to convince themselves that it is good for them. The moment that sense of conviction exists, there is a noted change in the attitude towards maintaining a healthy diet. In fact, most nutrition specialists encourage people to have a cheat meal once in a while as a form of justification and reward for their dietary dedication. It serves as a win-win situation for the person on the diet. They don’t have to completely step out of their comfort zone while trying to achieve the perfect body mass; they still have access to comfort food as and when required.

2)  A bit of everything.

Diets have to be tailor-made of sorts. These can only be effective if all aspects of the plan are considered and planned specifically for every individual. A major reason most “celebrity diets” do damage is because they are effective in the short-term. Actors and actresses need to go through rapid weight-gain and weight-loss to suit specific roles; it comes with the trade. To try and emulate them could lead to disaster and serious health concerns. A nutritional professional will first analyze your dietary habits by monitoring the number of meals over a specified period. He/she will identify foods that are not being consumed at all, and those that are being consumed a little too frequently. They will also recommend a few tests be done in laboratories, which may require blood, urine, and saliva testing. After factoring in the test results with your intake of food, they will recommend additions to your diet while reducing the quantity of harmful foods to help your body get the nutrition it requires. If your carbohydrate intake is high, they might help bring that down by increasing the amount of protein you consume. Sometimes supplements may also be recommended to help you balance out your diet. The diet can only be effective in tandem with an exercise regime though; so adherence to this will help achieve the desired results. They understand the human aspect of conditioning as well, so they will allow for some leeway.

3)  It broke.

You’ve reached that stage where you abandoned the conditioning plan mid-way. All hope is not lost though. The first part, of getting back on track, is coming to terms with the fact that you went astray. You have made a conscious effort to identify the problem. The need to get back on track has to be from within. Once identified, a conscious effort has to be made to start again. There may be repeat indiscretions; the point is to avoid berating oneself every time you feel you’re cheating. A positive frame of mind is necessary. The process requires positive reinforcement. Having a friend or family member who is supportive is also extremely beneficial to the process. It helps reinforce the thought that a healthy diet plan is good for you. In the end, the goal should always be to return and start afresh. You will face many stumbling blocks on your path to fitness. The key to success is being able to cope with all of them and continuing to move in the right direction.

 

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Amelia Smith

Nutritionist, herbalist, health and medicine writer and yoga enthusiast, Amelia Smith, is a professional in the health, nutrition and diet industry.

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