Things to Consider When Choosing a Weight Loss Diet

Globally, weight loss remains a top priority for most adults. In fact, according to a recent Ipsos survey, about 45% of all respondents are actively trying to lose weight. This comes following countless research that underscores just how dangerous being overweight or obese can be. Currently, being chronically overweight is linked to higher mortality rates and more incidences of illness. Similarly, obese individuals are at risk of over 200 serious diseases, including cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Just last year, researchers even found that obesity can create irreversible changes in the brain. This includes altering how the brain perceives satisfaction and cravings. 

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Among the different ways to lose weight, the same survey above indicates that more than 50% opt to diet. However, the majority seem to think that all they need to do to lose weight is to eat less. In reality, finding and choosing an effective weight loss diet requires more consideration. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Quick results are not sustainable

Far too often, people are drawn to fad diets that promise fast results. For instance, the infamous MasterCleanse, which required dieters to consume only a liquid concoction for a number of days, promises up to two pounds lost every day. However, much like their name implies, fad diet results are fleeting. Because they’re built on unsustainable practices, you’re likely to regain the weight once you end your program. 

On the flip side, a balanced weight loss diet will not entice you with quick results. Rather, they’re more likely to offer you slow but sustainable weight loss. After all, no two people have the same weight loss experience. So, if you’re wondering how long does it take to lose weight? The answer is different per person. Outside of what you eat, factors like sex, age, starting weight, and physical activity all impact your rate of weight loss. Generally, though, losing 1-2 pounds per week is a safe and sustainable rate that an honest and realistic diet will aim for.

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Caloric deficits don’t equate to deprivation

Everyone knows that a caloric deficit is the foundation of any diet. However, this leads many diets to simply ask that you dwindle how much you eat, regardless of nutritional impact. This is why some people mistakenly think that doing extreme things, like only drinking water or eating broth, is fine. Unfortunately, this is risky on several levels. 

First, this deprives the body of the crucial nutrition it needs to function. This covers everything from having the energy for daily tasks to more complicated scenarios like fighting off diseases. Over time, this deprivation can lead to malnutrition, which can cause the development of conditions like rickets, goiter, and anemia. Second, not having enough nutrients in your body can actually cause you to gain weight. According to journal entries in the NIH, this is because the body’s metabolic system and hormonal levels tend to deregulate when there aren’t enough vitamins and minerals. This can cause you to burn fat less effectively, meaning you retain fat and pack it on faster. As such, a good diet should teach you how to eat on a deficit without compromising the nutrients you take in. 

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There are no “good” or “bad” foods

In line with the above point, it’s important to look for a diet that doesn’t categorize food as “good” or “bad.” Not only does this approach encourage an unhealthy relationship with food, but it’s also outdated. For example, fat has long been villainized as unhealthy. But fat, so long as it’s eaten in moderation, can be really good for weight loss. 

Take a look at the Keto diet, for instance. Instead of simply telling you to cut out any fat, it encourages the intake of healthy fats like olive oil. This is because fat can help the body reach ketosis, which is the state in which the body burns stored fat rather than glucose. Additionally, fat comes from many delicious sources like butter, nuts, and avocados. Having these in your dietary rotation can make the experience more pleasant and, therefore, more sustainable in the long run. 

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Losing weight shouldn’t financially drain you

Finally, a healthy and effective weight loss diet should fit every aspect of your lifestyle. This includes your finances. With that in mind, try researching different diets that complement your entire life and not just your weight loss goals. For example, the Mediterranean diet has been found to be healthy, effective at weight management, and less costly than the average Western diet. Specifically, a four-person household can stand to save nearly $1,500 on food bills per year on this diet. Remember, your weight loss is meant to improve your quality of life, not financially deplete it. 

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Q. Is it necessary to count calories?

A. Calorie counting can be a helpful tool for some people, especially in the early stages of their weight loss journey. However, it is not always necessary. Instead of focusing solely on calorie counting, prioritize the quality of your food choices and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Q. Can I still enjoy my favorite foods on a weight loss diet?

A. Yes, you can still enjoy your favorite foods while on a weight loss diet. The key is self-control. Allow yourself to get out pf control occasionally, but be aware of portion sizes and frequency. Including your favorite foods in a balanced diet can help prevent feelings of deprivation and promote long-term adherence to your weight loss goals.

Q. How do I overcome weight loss plateaus?

A. Weight loss plateaus can be common and frustrating, but they are often a natural part of the process. To overcome a plateau, try mixing up your routine by adding different types of exercise, adjusting your calorie intake slightly, or focusing on non-scale victories like improving strength or endurance. It’s also important to be patient and consistent, as weight loss may not always be at a steady pace.

Q. Are supplements necessary for weight loss?

A. Although some supplements may claim to aid in weight loss, they are not necessary for success. The best way to lose weight is through a balanced diet rich in whole foods and regular physical activity. However, certain supplements such as vitamins, minerals, or protein powders may be beneficial if you have certain nutrient deficiencies or dietary restrictions. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Q. What should I do if I feel thirsty?

A. Cravings are a natural part of the weight loss journey, but they can be managed. Instead of giving in to unhealthy food cravings, try to identify the underlying cause, such as stress or boredom, and find healthy ways to cope, such as going for a walk or practicing mindfulness. Additionally, make sure you eat a balanced diet that includes protein, fiber, and healthy fats to help you feel satisfied and prevent future cravings. If cravings persist, consider seeking help from a registered dietitian or therapist.

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