What Diet Is Right For You in 2021?

With the snow and sleet, January also brings a bombardment of information about the different diets which will make you thin, happy and healthy. It becomes very difficult to weed through the exaggerated claims and riveting testimonials. I support happy, and I know maintaining a healthy weight will decrease your risk of both long and short term disease, but I also know that the ups and downs of weight loss can negatively affect both your mental and physical wellbeing. We are all coming off a gluttonous year, during which we tried to fill the holes in our hearts and social calendar with wine and chocolate — or was that just me? The new year is a great time to resolve to be healthier, but considering something like 99% of resolutions fail, maybe it is time to be mindful and realistic about what is best for you and just as importantly, what will last for you. If you hate cabbage, the cabbage soup diet is probably a bad idea. If you love pizza more than life, Atkins is likely not the best choice.

First, establish your goals and figure out the why behind the goal.

What do you want and what is your motivation for wanting it?

Common goals are weight loss, better health, more energy, and simply looking better.

1. If you are looking to achieve weight loss, and you only have a small amount of weight to lose, consider intermittent fasting. Basically, this is just exactly what it sounds like, and it is working for a lot of people. It’s worked for me for years, way before there was a name for it. There are different types, but the most common are the 16/8 method where you pick a specific 8 hours per day you can eat or the 24 hour method, in which you fast for 24 hours twice a week (usually dinner to dinner.)

2. If you have a large amount of weight to lose, you might think about signing up for Weight Watchers or try Volumetrics. These speak to the slow and steady wins the race mentality, and while you are losing, you are also learning portion control and developing a better understanding of hidden calories.

3. If better health is your goal, the Mediterranean diet comes in first place on lists vetted by health professionals.

4. If more energy is what you are after, focus on sugar, caffeine and carb consumption, and be mindful of how it affects you. I’d suggest you also take a good, hard look at your sleep habits and see where there is room for improvement.

5. Want to look better? Drinking a lot of water and having a diet rich in fiber, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables will do wonders for your skin. It will make you feel better too, and the best way to improve your appearance is a smile. It is easier to smile when you feel physically well.

Don’t focus on the diet, focus on the motivation. Picture yourself looking and feeling the way you want, and it might be a little easier to put down the Snickers and pick up the apple. Spend more time thinking about the delicious foods you can have and less time on those you shouldn’t. Avoid deprivation, because for most of us mere mortals, this only leads to a rebellious binge. Diets do work, but the ones that result in long-term benefits, are the ones that suit you best and disrupt your life least.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness Coach. She helps clients with parenting issues, the challenges of college and young adulthood and issues related to health and habits. Email her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of the Audible Original, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents.


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