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10 tips for finding the best diet that works for you

With so many weight loss diets to choose from, how do you decide?
By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

With so many diets to choose from, it's not easy to figure out which diet will be the one that works best for you. To help the 65% of adults who are overweight, we asked the experts for tips to help you find a weight loss diet that is both healthy and effective.

The best diet that works for you: the one you can stick to

All the experts agree on one thing: the best weight loss plan is one you can stick to.

It doesn't matter how scientifically sound the programme is, how fast it works, or even how many people have tried it before, what matters is whether you can do what it says, not whether you should, but whether you can.

Even if you can, not all diet plans and programmes are scientifically sound. The most popular diets are those promising the quickest, most painless results, which, unfortunately, are usually not sustainable. Weight that is lost rapidly is usually a mixture of water, muscle and a little fat, instead of mainly fat. To make things worse, losing is usually followed by gaining.

Most people go on and off fad diets and fall into the yo-yo syndrome of dropping weight followed by gaining weight. "The consequence is, you lower your metabolism and end up at a heavier weight than when you started."

The simple truth is that losing weight is a simple formula: calories in, minus calories out, equals weight loss, gain, or maintenance. In order to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories and be more active. Cleanses, creams and supplements are usually just gimmicks and not going to help in the long run.

How do you know if a diet is healthy and sustainable? Experts say a sound weight loss diet plan should:

  • Include exercise
  • Allow a variety of foods from all the food groups
  • Be created by a registered professional such as a nutritionist or dietician
  • Promote slow and steady weight loss
  • Include portion control
  • Allow snacks between meals
  • Not rely heavily on supplements
  • Include small portions of your favourite foods and beverages
  • Include a maintenance plan
  • Recommend drinking plenty of water.

The perfect weight loss diet for you

Once you know how to determine whether a weight loss diet is healthy, you'll need to narrow your choice down to one that suits your own lifestyle and matches the way you like to eat and exercise.

It's also important to choose a diet that won't leave you feeling hungry. Look for plans that promote foods that are high in water and are fibre-rich, like soups, fruit and vegetables. These foods fill you up and reduce food cravings to help you stick to your diet plan without feeling deprived.

Here's a checklist to help you find the perfect diet for you:

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