We are all aware sticking to a strict diet can be difficult, and increasing your physical activity alone without eating the right foods, in the right quantities isn’t enough to achieve those weight loss goals. TPW Writer Rebecca Hill explains why eating a healthy, balanced diet – is key to help you feel your best self yet, and keep you on track for the long run.

Although every person has different preferences and goals, in order to successfully maintain a healthy-eating regime, you’ll need to find a diet that aligns with your lifestyle. Thankfully, Physiomed created an infographic to help you find the ideal diet. The deciding factor for a diet is the item you are willing to part with – meat or carbs.

If you are willing to give up carbs, you will likely find success with a ketogenic or Paleo diet. If you are willing to give up meat, you will be best suited for a vegan diet. If you enjoy balance and moderation of meat, carbs and veggies, a Mediterranean diet is best for you.

Below are the benefits, drawbacks and requirements for these four popular diets:

Ketogenic

Similar to the Atkins diet fad, the ketogenic diet favours high fat foods over most carbs. Your body will burn it’s own fat for energy in the absence of carbs, making it a popular choice for those looking to lose weight. In order to master the ketogenic diet, you’ll need to diligently plan out meals and count calories. Your daily meal plan will consist of:

*     70 per cent fat

*     10 per cent carbs

*     20 per cent protein

This equals six servings of veggies, four servings of meat or fish, three servings of dairy and two eggs. However, it’s important to be aware of all potential side effects, including fatigue, dizziness, constipation and headaches.

Paleo

As it’s name would suggest, the Paleo diet is comprised of whole foods that would have – for the most part – been consumed by Paleolithic humans. This diet requires discipline. In order to maintain a Paleo diet, you’ll need to give up grains, dairy and legumes. In return, you’ll see an increase in fibre, potassium and antioxidants. This diet also helps you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. A successful Paleo diet consists of:

*    50 per cent vegetables

*     2 per cent nuts and seeds

*     10 per cent fats and oils

*     13 per cent fruits

*     25 per cent meats and eggs

Make sure to keep an eye out for any signs of calcium deficiency while on this diet.

 

Mediterranean 

This diet is ideal if you crave a balance between meats, veggies and carbs. Instead of completely cutting out carbs and grains, you can enjoy these items in moderation and opt for whole grains. On a Mediterranean diet, your diet will consist of whole foods, plenty of vegetables, whole grains and lean meats and fish – in moderation. In order to achieve success with a Mediterranean diet, replace butter with olive oil and salt with herbs and garlic. Follow these daily guidelines when practicing this diet:

*     Eight servings of grains

*     Six servings of vegetables

*     Three servings of fruit

*     Two servings of dairy

On a weekly basis, include six servings of fish, four servings of legumes, four servings of poultry, three servings of eggs and one serving of red meat.

Vegan

Often, vegan dieters choose environmental or ethical reasons to opt out of all meat and animal by-products. However, a vegan diet can boost your intake of fibre, folic acid and vitamins C and E. Vegans also enjoy a diet low in unsaturated fats, a low BMI and a healthy weight. Veganism is a plant-based diet with a daily meal plan consisting of:

*     Eight servings of grains

*     Four servings of legumes

*     Three servings of vegetables

*     Three servings of fruit

Supplements are often required for vegan diets to compensate for calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron deficiency.

Once you’ve decided on the diet that best suits your lifestyle, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure that you follow through on your new healthy eating regime.

1.    Cook meals at home

Studies show that cooking meals at home a minimum of five times a week can help you live 10 years longer. To extend your meals, cook more than one serving and save leftovers for the next day.

2.    Drink more water

Drinking an extra 1.5 litres of water a day will help you burn an extra 200 calories. Additionally, drinking a .5 litre of water before a meal will encourage you to consume 75 fewer calories.

3.    Sleep more

Sleeping less than six hours a night can produce the hormones ghrelin and cortisol which make you feel hungry.

4.    Keep a food diary

Logging your food six days a week will ensure that you’re committing to your new diet.

5.    Plan meals in advance

To avoid the temptation for takeout and unhealthy meals, plan out your weekly menu in advance.

All of the above tips will ensure that you lose weight, boost your energy levels and improve your health. In combination with exercise, you’ll be able to quickly achieve any goals you’ve set for your health.

Written by Rebecca Hill

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