There are literally thousands of weight-loss plans, from the most common-sense approach, like choosing to eat clean unprocessed foods, to the more extreme diets, like the Master Cleanse or the Ketogenic Diet. The secret to lasting weight loss lies in finding a plan that you can comfortably stick with for life – because you don’t want to lose weight just for the summer right?
This means that, in essence, whatever you choose shouldn’t really be a diet, but rather, a total wellness plan. So how can you tell which wellness plan will fit into your lifestyle best without having to actually go through a trial and error phase with each type of eating plan? In today’s blog post, I outline 6 main questions you should be asking before you get started on ANY new weight-loss program. These are, by no means, the only questions you should be asking, but they are a great foundation.
Question 1: Is it convenient?
As a society, we’re busier than ever. That leaves little time for inconvenient food preparation. You’re less likely to stick with a weight-loss or healthy eating plan that requires you to buy hard-to-source ingredients or spend a great deal of time preparing them. Also, it’s hard to feel like one of the crowd if you have to eat special foods while others are eating normally. How depressing would it be to be on a weight loss plan but unable to join your friends for dinner at a restaurant because it was impossible to find anything decent that fit in with your plan? The idea here is to make weight loss and healthy eating as painless as possible. Obviously, we all know that changing nothing is the easiest path of least resistance and clearly this is not what I mean. If you want results then you need to do something new. But if a wellness program can’t fit into your life relatively easily, then it might mean you need to move on to the next plan.
Question 2: Is it affordable?
Unless you are a celebrity with plenty of disposable income, price is generally the next concern of most people. You can find weight loss plans that offer conveniently pre-packaged foods, but these plans typically cost an arm and a leg. Some even require you to buy more food in addition to the meals or special shakes they provide, plus vitamins and supplements. All this can really break your grocery budget. Skip the shakes, bars and pre-packaged meals. Look for a weight-loss plan that incorporates real food you’d buy at the grocery store down the street. You might experience some sticker shock the first time you shop for high-quality food, but it’s much less expensive than buying costly pre-made meals from a distributor.
Question 3: Does it include exercise?
Although your choice of food plays a bigger role, you do need some amount of exercise. Diet is only 80% of the equation. Exercise is the other 20% of weight loss and general wellbeing. For maximum health benefits, you need a weight-loss plan that emphasizes the importance of exercise.
The best exercise routines include both cardio and strength training. If you’re not accustomed to exercising, start slowly with three easy half-hour walks each week, for example. Then add a simple at-home bodyweight training session with squats, push-ups and crunches. You can then gradually work your way up to five half-hour cardio sessions and three half-hour weight training sessions a week. You’ll burn fat, build muscle, and feel much, much better.
The DNA test kit I offer has a section about fitness where you can find out how your body responds to exercise. This help you tailor your fitness regime so that you can get optimal results. Some people carry genetic variants that make them better suited for power exercises, while others do better on endurance-based exercise plans for example. There are also important genetic variants that can determine how to improve recovery from exercise which is crucial for preventing injury.
The important things are that the plan includes a variety of exercises to keep you from being bored and losing your motivation. The exercises must be adjustable to different starting fitness levels and different rates of improvement in fitness levels. If you come across a weight-loss plan that tells you not to exercise, run for the hills! It’s clearly not a plan interested in getting you to improve your overall health.
Question 4: Does it suit your health and fitness level?
If your only health issue is a little extra weight, you have a lot of freedom in the diet and fitness plan you choose. If you have other considerations, like diabetes or osteoporosis, you’ll need to do a little research to come up with a plan that suits your needs. Fortunately, there are diet and fitness guidelines for people in all stages of life and at every degree of health. You might need to speak with your doctor or another health professional about your concerns but they should be able to recommend a plan that’s right for you. Remember, find exercises that are fun and change up your routine regularly.
Question 5: Does it promote a balanced approach to nutrition?
Say no to weight-loss plans that require you to avoid too many specific food groups. Certain eating plans can leave you feeling unsatisfied. Humans need a wide variety of nutrients to keep our bodies healthy and efficient.
Look for a weight-loss plan that incorporates unsaturated fats (such as those found in nuts, avocados and olive oil), lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. If you think there might be a nutritional gap in your chosen plan, log the foods you eat for one week, and share the results with your doctor or nutritionist.
Nutrigenomics is a revolutionary tool that uses your DNA to customise an eating plan that’s most compatible to your scientific blueprint. The DNA test kits I offer can help you figure out whether you should be on a Low-Carb, Low-Fat or Mediterranean diet. It can tell you about your tolerance of salt, caffeine and alcohol. You can also find out specific daily micronutrients needs as well as how to best support your body’s detoxification abilities naturally. Eating for your genotype has been shown to get much better results in several clinical studies. Can you imagine how much time this test could save you in avoiding the trial and error of going through different diets?
Question 6: Could you do it for the rest of your life?
This is perhaps the most important question of all. If you had to follow the wellness plan for the rest of your life, could you do it? Would you be happy? Would you be healthy? To make long-term changes, you need a program that you can easily follow and that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived. The plan should emphasize nutrition and fitness and should provide enough high-quality calories to keep your metabolism in high gear. It’s also important to take into account your sleep quality and stress levels.
All these environmental factors have been shown to alter the expression of your genes. This is studied in the field of epigenetics. However, keep in mind that promoting healthier gene expression takes time. It’s important not just to know your genetics but to also have someone in your corner cheering you on and guiding you as you implement the necessary lifestyle modifications.
Remember, if you can’t find a weight-loss plan that fits in with even just these basic criteria, you can always design your own! Working with a trained health professional is the fastest way to reach your goals. If you would like more information on my DNA Nutrition Program, get in touch on www.foodiedoc.com