There are a number of different diet plans in the weight loss market today that claim to help you lose weight. With all the claims made by these diet programs, it can be bewildering trying to sort out all of these diets and to pick the one that is right for you. Before trying any of the diets, ask your doctor or dietitian to help you decide which diet is suited for your health, your age and your activity level.
Fixed menu diet: A fixed menu diet limits you to a list of all the foods you will eat while you are on the diet plan. You are also limited as to the serving size of each of the food items at various meals. The fixed menu plan is easier to follow because the foods are pre-selected for you. However, the plan does limit your food choices, which may make the diet boring and more tempting to break. A fixed menu diet makes eating away from home and to stay with the plan difficult. Additionally, a fixed menu diet does not teach you the food selection skills that you will need to keep the weight off.
Exchange diet: An exchange diet allows you to pick a set number of servings from each of several food groups. The food items are picked because they provide about the same number of calories and you are allowed to exchange one item for another in the same group. With an exchange diet plan, you have a more varied and you can more easily follow the diet away from home. More importantly being on an exchange diet plan teaches you to selection foods that will help you keep your weight off.
Prepackaged meal diet: These diet plans, such as NutriSystem and Jenny Craig, require that you to buy prepackaged meals with the exact portions to limit your calorie intake. Such meals may help you learn appropriate portion sizes. However, prepackaged meals are usually expensive. Before you decide on this type of diet, make sure you know whether or not you need to buy the meals and how much each meal will cost. You should also find out if the program allows you to learn how to select and prepare your own foods for the meals, skills that you will need to keep the weight from coming back on.
Formula diet: Formula diets, also called drink diets, are weight loss plans that replace one or more meals with a liquid formula. Most formula diet shakes or beverages are balanced blends of protein, carbohydrate, and usually a low amount of fat. Formula diets are economical and easy to use. These diet plans usually are effective for short-term weight loss but most people regain the weight as soon as they stop using the formulas and start eating regular foods. In addition, formula diets do not allow you to learn how to eat healthier, a necessary skill for keeping your weight off.
Flexible diets: Flexible diets are the low fat or low calorie diets that are promoted by some programs or books. Flexible diets seem to works well for many people and teach them how to control what they eat. These diets usually address either only fat intake or only calories intake and forget about the whole diet. For example, a program that cuts out fats will have no limit on the amount of calories you get from sugars, and you end up gaining weight despite being on the diet.
Fad diets: These diets are usually regional diets or diets that are used by celebrities and are typically a combination of certain foods with the goal of losing weight fast. These diets often lack the essential nutrients that your body needs to function and are harmful for your body and your health. They are often used as a way to loss a few pounds fast but are not effective for long-term weight loss.
There are many types of diets plans on the market. Some plans will work for some people and not work for others. For a diet to be effective, it has to be an eating plan that you can live with. The diet plan should not only help you lose weight but it should also teach you how to select and prepare healthy foods so that you will for the skills to help you keep the weight off and maintain your new weight.