How to find the right diet plan, based on your personality
Rather than following the newest fad
Picking the right diet plan is about as tricky as picking the perfect wedding trousseau — there are so many options to choose from, the hottest new fad tempts you, and then of course, there’s the kind that worked wonders for your friend. It’s important that your diet goes beyond just weight loss and makes you feel good about yourself. If cheese is your kryptonite, going vegan will probably have you cheating on your diet more often than you’d like.
Here’s your guide to choosing a diet plan that will work for you:
1. If you mostly eat healthy but cannot ditch junk food
Do you eat clean on weekdays and let yourself go a little cray at the weekend ‘drunch’? The 80:20 diet is perfect for achieving your #HealthGoals. “The principle is simple: eat nutritious foods 80 per cent of the time and allow yourself to indulge in moderation for the remaining 20 per cent. This diet includes most basic food groups (like grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, milk-based products, nuts, eggs amongst others), is low on fat and high on fibre-rich foods,” says Dr Varsha Gorey, clinical nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals.
2. If you lack self-control in your eating habits
“First off, you need someone to constantly push you towards eating better. Instead of starting off small, go for a restrictive diet plan that allows a cheat meal once a week. A modernised Atkins diet — that’s high on protein and low on carbs — is a good bet,” says nutritionist Anjali Peswani.
Also, maintaining a food journal can act as a motivating factor and prevent you from reaching for that second slice of pizza.
3. If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
If you have been diagnosed with either PCOS or pre-diabetes (a condition in which your blood sugar is high but not dangerously high to be diagnosed with diabetes), your insulin levels are often elevated. To rein them in, give Intermittent Fasting (IF) a shot. Basically, you fast for a certain period of time, and stop fasting for another defined period of time. “IF is also known as the 5:2 diet, where you don’t fast for five days of the week and on the remaining two days, limit your calorie intake to approximately 500 – 600 calories. It improves insulin resistance,” she says. A word of caution: this is not recommended for diabetics who are on regular hypoglycemic drugs.
4. If you are diabetic
You’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet (a high-fat, adequate-protein and low-carbohydrate diet), thanks to every third health food restaurant crafting special keto-friendly menus. It gained attention for being super effective in shedding extra kilos. Turns out, it’s also the right fit if you are diabetic. “It restricts intake of carbs, because of which there is not enough sugar available for the body to use as fuel. So, the body resorts to using fat. The process of breaking down fat is called “ketosis,” and it produces a fuel source called ketones. A ketogenic diet helps people with type-2 diabetes because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels. A controlled intake of carbs helps eliminate large spikes in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin,” explains Dr Gorey.
Being on the keto diet needs professional supervision and before you sign up for it, consider the flip-side: possible side-effects include nutrient deficiencies, headaches, irritability, constipation in the short-term, and renal stones and ketoacidosis (a diabetes complication where the body produces excess blood acids) in the long-term.
5. If you mostly eat clean, exercise often and want to boost your metabolism
“Go for a raw food to minimally-cooked food diet. Your body will take longer to digest what you eat, which will enhance your metabolic rate,” says Peswani. It helps if you love simple dishes because on this diet, you’ll need to make best friends with stewed fruits and steamed/parboiled/sautéed veggies. Peswani advises against taking up a totally raw food diet: “There are certain foods which just shouldn’t be consumed raw because of toxins and pesticides,” she says.
Indian superfoods to incorporate in your diet:
The virtues of coconut oil cannot be stressed enough, and Kinita agrees. "We shunned it for long time and now the world wants its hands on it. This oil is taking the limelight with its fast absorbing properties giving instant energy to many and helping in amplifying a slow metabolic rate," she says. She has a word of advice, though. "Always look out for VCO- Virgin Coconut Oil versions to get the maximum benefits."
"Lately every food is enhanced with Chia like breads, milkshakes, juices, biscuits etc," says Kinita, adding that these seeds have been around for centuries as sabja seeds. "Unfortunately, we have just recently understood its benefits," she says. According to her, these seeds are multi-taskers. "Its high protein, cooling and acts a great gut cleanser." There you go.
"This grain has got the attention for being light, crunchy, gluten-free and containing approximately 8 grams of protein in a cooked 1-cup serving (more than any other cereal). Unfortunately, it is expensive, not grown in India and not readily available," says Kinita. All's not lost yet, she has a few suggestions for ingredients closer to home that will give you same benefits, like barley (jav), jowar and amaranth (rajgira). "When consumed in combination with dals and pulses, you’ll even be able to exceed the required protein content. So if you can afford Quinoa, great! If you can’t the Indian versions are equally super," she says.