The number one consideration for choosing the right diet is – “What will you stick with?”. It doesn’t matter how great the diet is, how many scientists or celebrities verify it or even how many of your friends have succeeded with it. What you need to know is – will you be able to stick to the eating and exercise requirements long enough to achieve your goals?
Secondly, you should consider – “What does this diet teach me about everyday eating to help me maintain my goal weight once I reach it?”. The term “yo-yo diets” doesn’t come from any particular style of diet or the foods included. It comes from what happens after someone finishes their diet. For example, replacing your meals with diet pills or shakes is likely to teach you that you cant eat normal food and maintain your weight – a good start for a “yo-yo” affect.
When considering what diet you are likely to stick to, be completely honest with yourself. If you can’t live a day without at least a little chocolate, an eating plan that refuses you sweets of any kind will be torture. Not only will you be likely to rebel against the diet (binge eating is likely when breaking strict diets, creating greater consequences than if you had allowed the food in small quantities to begin with) but you are also much less likely to keep at your diet for the entire time necessary. And, just as importantly, you won’t enjoy yourself – and life is too short for that!
Everybody is different. Some people can’t go without sweets, some people can master portion control, some people just can’t get motivated to exercise at all. You need to think very carefully about your own habits and about the sacrifices you are willing and able to make. Once you understand your own behavior, you can judge diets based on this criteria. Look at the structure of the diet and how the program works. Some things to consider amongst your criteria are 1) the cost, 2) the amount of support offered along the journey, 3) how difficult the food is to prepare and 4) how maintainable is the program?
Ask friends and family members what diets have worked for them – and why. You can compare the reasons against what you have decided will or won’t work for you. If you don’t know anyone who has tried the diets you are interested in, get in touch the organizers or authors directly and ask if you can speak to someone who has tried their diet. They should all be able to provide you with at least one satisfied customer, otherwise you probably don’t want their help anyway!
Finally, look at the second consideration offered above. What does this diet teach you about eating? The best diet will entrench good, healthy eating habits that stick with you long after the diet is over. It will act as an education on food, nutrition and exercise so that what you learn will help you stay at your ideal weight for life. After all, you only want to go on a diet once, don’t you?