Monday July 15 2013

Diet and Nutrition: Tips to ensure dieting works for you

By Hope Kamugisha

Have you ever wondered why it’s easy to for us to try out different diets? It’s because we know deep down that it is a short term intervention.

One will not diet forever, right? Soon the excitement wears off and the diet goes out the window as yet another one that failed to work. This has been the trend for most diets and many dieters. In fact diets are notorious for disappointing many, especially when we are trying to manage our weight.

Long-term goals
One way to a successful weight control is making long term changes in your eating habits. This is where the real challenge is. Can this diet that i want to take up be a lifestyle? Do i have the fortitude to keep it going? This is one way that will tell you if a diet will work for you. A friend was advised to try what she called ‘the cabbage diet”. Eat all things cabbage. Apparently, it was supposed to take 13 days to lose 9kgs. She had cabbage soup for breakfast, cabbage salad for lunch and cabbage juice for a snack and boiled cabbage for dinner. By the end of the week she was sure this cabbage diet was never going to work for her because she could not see herself eating cabbage for life.

It was easy to try it out because it was a short term pain for what would have been amazing results. I have discovered that time is also an important factor in all diet plans that people want to try. And it’s one of the reasons most diets won’t work. Those that work are specific for management of diseases, or a certain physiological condition such as pregnancy. Expectant mothers are expected to use a high energy diet because they are apparently eating for two.

Why short-term plans fail
The other reason why short term diet plans usually fail is because they always go against our definition of healthy eating. While consulting with a client recently, I asked what she thought was responsible for her weight, to which she innocently replied, “ndya bulungi, ndowooza”’ literally meaning she eats ‘well’.To her, ‘eating well’ meant that she regularly ate meat, milk, eggs and other foods that are usually high in fat.So if I was to prescribe a diet for her that omitted all the above foods, she would probably just try it for two weeks and then abandon it.It simply disagrees with what she traditionally believes to be good or healthy food.

For my friend, a cabbage diet was nowhere close to what she thought normal or healthy eating.

Time factor
So in short, if you consider reducing your weight with diet, think about how likely it will be for you to follow what you eat because whenever you decide to stop, the weight might just come back running.Same thing with weight loss pills. Consider how close the diet is to what you believe to be healthy eating; the further it is from your definition, the less likely a particular diet regimen will work for you.Renew your mind about your definition of healthy eating.

A good diet must include several food groups. Consider these foods: whole grains, fruit and vegetables, meats and legumes, diary, fat and sugar. You also need to discuss your diet plan with a professional dietician and complement it with physical activity. Don’t rush it. It may only frustrate you to give up.