Sophie's World Blog

The Labyrinth of Diet Types

The Labyrinth of Diet Types

When it comes to diet types, I think I have to share my basic idea of the difference between diet and losing fat in a rush. Most of the popular diets today draw up a fast weight loss in a short time. I think this is not what we need on a long-term basis. Losing some weight by following a strict menu or counting calories cannot work for an entire lifetime. It’s only for a short time so the result cannot be maintained for long as well. When somebody loses weight, the real task is to keep it, and this is where a well-planned diet is needed. In my opinion, choose slow weight-balancing coupled with a healthy diet that fits into your life and daily routine, rather than lose weight in 3 days then get it back in 1.

There are many types of diet nowadays, a day won’t be enough for listing them with their pros and cons. However, I try to collect some of them that make sense and those that don’t – based on in my point of view.

I hope by reading this, you may have a basis to find out your own diet and gain the appropriate information from all of these, that makes your diet better.

Calorie counting:

I think this may help but only if you can count the basic need of your body which depends on so many things… As nobody's body type and lifestyle are the same, I don't think calorie count is useful for getting long-term effect. However, it might help in losing weight (but not maintaining it) or gaining basic knowledge on the food you eat especially if you have a health problem that requires losing weight or if you have kids, because being knowledgeable about calories, energy, and fat content can help you provide proper nutrition to your little ones. If you live your days constantly counting (which I don't do), then you'll be under never-ending stress caused by numbers and inexhaustible bag of guilt; conscience-smitten from eating some squares of chocolate or a single banana.

Cholesterol-free or blood-type diet

I think there’s no need to follow a medically suggested diet if you are healthy.

Leaving cholesterol out from our diet is a good thing, but planning a diet wherein you really keep your eyes off the cholesterol is better. Blood type is not the only factor: in my opinion, there’s no miracle. There are other factors that affect our body and digestive system and there won’t be one single solution that would fit for all of us with the same blood type. Everybody could easily be thin if this is truly effective…

Carbohydrate-free or low-carb diets:

(such as Atkins, Southbeach or Zone diets)

I think cutting the amount of carbohydrates is useful and good for our body. Leaving sugar and white flour as much as you can are also healthy BUT life cannot be a never-ending asceticism. If you are a fan of pasta or cakes, these diet types are not for you – and not for me as well. Not because of cakes or sweets – I don’t like them so much that I cannot cut them back, but I won’t leave pasta. I'd rather cook healthy types of pasta, or plan a healthy garnishing with vegetables or fish, but I won’t give up pasta or carbohydrates completely. Our body needs them, but you have to set a limit and eat the healthy type, not sugar and cakes with butter cream. Pairing protein, sugar and carbohydrate in the same dish is the worst you can do if you want to lose weight.

I try to cut back as much as I can on potatoes or rice, eating as less bread as I can – and choose rye or healthier alternatives instead of bread made from white wheat flour. Cutting back on carbs has a very good effect on your taste. You’ll taste the flavors more, and as you will taste sweet more and more, you will crave it less and a sweet apple or banana will be as satisfying as a bar of chocolate.

Losing weight always needs a balanced mental background and if you cannot focus on anything because you're craving carbohydrates, you’ll be stressed. Stress hormones may make your body produce appetite-boosting hormones such as cortisol and - voilà - you’ll find yourself in front of the fridge in the middle of the night while thinking: "This is the end. I give up this diet. Nobody is happy. I’m stressed and so is my family as I’m constantly yelling at them."

Maintain balance. Just the thought of freely consuming carbs will make you feel free and you can focus on other things. Just keep the limit. Consider eating pasta or one square of chocolate on a Sunday or on your birthday, as a rare treat and not as a prize. Seeing those treats as a prize for dieting is not a good practice because you will view it as your motivation to diet. A healthy body is what you should consider as your prize. Don’t crave, punish, or reward yourself. Just plan a balanced diet which you will couple with a balanced mental and spiritual background.

Raw food diet:

Now this absolutely makes no sense to me. It makes you leave tons of good nutrition sources from the first moment following this diet. Leaving sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils or plain flour is okay. Leaving meat out is not okay, and not healthy especially for children.

Detox:

There are other fast diets that I would name but they are more like detoxifying methods, not healthy diets. For example, detoxing with liquids. It promises quick weight loss after drinking juices or cabbage soup for an entire week. You can include cabbage soup into your diet but don’t eat it for a week. Do this from time to time and your body will like it.

The detox methods only bring about short-term results, but a diet is a lifetime eating plan. Learn to differentiate detox programs with a healthy diet.

My choice:

My solution is somewhere around Paleo and Mediterranean diet. My focus is on vegetables, fruits, white meat, fish, healthy type of oils and nuts. Proteins are as important as good carbs. Sometimes I do eat sweets – which I make at home. Also, red meat. I don’t drink milk, but eat cheese and butter, and prepare our own yoghurt at home.

Scientifically, there are good and bad food sources for our body, and those that can be considered as good types of fats and bad ones, as well as good or bad carbs.

The first step is to think of your current diet and cut back the bad ones that you can leave easily (these were sugar, bread and dairy for me). Set a limit for those that are not so healthy, the ones you crave, or ones that your body can’t stand (these were butter, cheese, pasta for me). The result was my own Paleo-Sophie.

Know that weight losing is not the same as dieting. Methods and time periods involved in detox programs won’t bring the same results as lifetime diets.

TIPS for building your personal diet:

  • Don’t shock your body.
  • Find the balanced diet for yourself: nobody is the same. What is good for me may not work for you. All of us know people who can eat what they want (may it be cake with cookies) and they are still thin. Our digestive system is not the same, we need to know what food makes us bigger or makes us feel bad.
  • A little goes a long way – change your habits step by step with a stable base: clearly lay down the steps you’re going to follow and will not change halfway.
  • When I say stable base, it doesn’t just involve yourself. If you decide to make a serious lifestyle change, you need to inform your family as well as ask them to support you.
  • Match the contents of your fridge and pantry to your diet. Don’t store tons of sugar, chocolate or potato if you don’t need them.
  • Place good food in the kitchen where you can easily see it: there's a chance you'll eat an apple if you see it.
  • Try to be safe: plan your week and days and if you know that you’ll be having a quick lunchbreak, try to pack your lunch to avoid fast food options.

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