How to choose the right diet

There are different approaches or dieting patterns that can decrease weight. You can be on a low carbohydrate diet or a low fat, or a high protein diet. You could have one with snacks in it or one with just 3 square meals and nothing in between.  But only through trying out diets and learning from the errors of following certain dietary approaches can one come to the ideal diet that works for you.

Since overeating is mood based or lifestyle motivated, diets that actually work for one individual need not work for another. This means, change in lifestyle or managing one’s moods and attitudes are part and parcel of a workable diet plan and is exactly why weight loss plans that work best are personalised.

Given below are some different dieting approaches.  If you need to reduce your weight the secret is to follow a diet that will curb your hunger. So, whichever diet you choose to follow, as long as it puts a cap on your overeating or binges, you will find results.

1. Those who need to eat frequently – a lot of people cannot do with just 3 meals and nothing in between. Especially if you are the kind who has been snacking throughout the day, then the need to munch on something will persist. This is where fruits come in or vegetables like carrots or cucumbers that can be munched away at any time.  If you are going to eat in between then your other 3 meals should be light. This also works for those who have a bigger appetite and will help not overeat at the next meal.

2. Those who hate breakfasts – Breakfast is the best meal of the day. But very many do not like breakfasts or just grab something mindlessly. Some even tell me that if they eat a breakfast it “opens up their hunger” throughout the day! If you strongly believe this, then skip a regular breakfast but at least break the starvation with a glass of fat free milk and a fruit. Or make a smoothie. As long as you are confident that you can stick to your diet for the rest of the day, stick to what you believe is workable for you.

3. Those who cannot adhere to a planned diet chart – the diet chart is loyally followed for the first few weeks or during the first session of dieting. Then it is usually discarded. If you cannot comply, then there is no need to feel guilty. How you can still reduce calories and therefore kilos is by eating lesser portions of your meals and avoiding oily snacks. If this brings good results, then this is your way to lose weight.

4. Vegetarian or non vegetarian foods – It is irrelevant actually, because what calories you may reduce by avoiding non vegetarian foods may be compensated if you eat oily vegetarian foods.  So whether veg or non veg, it is the quality of cooking low fat that helps. If you eat meat, then make sure you eat it low fat. And vegetarians may eat more vegetarian sources of proteins so that you feel satiety.

5. Sweets lover – Though you can reduce your weight faster if you totally avoid sweets, this may not suit those who are carboholics or sweet cravers. It makes no point if you avoid sweets totally and then binge every 3rd day! Choose specifically which ones you want in your life and which you are willing to sacrifice. Plan with your dietician how to go about adding sweets to your eating.  This may be done to suit your will power – perhaps just a small piece (not more than an ounce) daily or every other day or once a week. As part of an otherwise low calorie diet plan this will help you emotionally.

6. Cereal or soups diet – one meal may be a big bowl of soup or high fibre cereal – The celery or cabbage soup being the most popular! You want to try this, it is fine. Perhaps a regular breakfast or lunch and then for, dinner just soup or a bowl of cereal. This helps those who do not have time to cook up a low fat meal after a long day. Your lifestyle, your choice of managing it!

7. Fruit and veggie haters – Though the opening sentence from some dieters is that they do not like to eat vegetables or fruits and therefore cannot diet, on closer assessment even they realise there are after all at least one or 2 kinds of fruits and vegetables they do not mind eating once a day. Start with small quantities of whatever you like to eat. Keep at it religiously. There are other options like corn, stuffed vegetables, bran flakes, beans and greens that you may eat to satisfy your hunger.

8. Whatever diet plan you may choose, you need to stick to it for a whole year.  Only then healthy eating becomes a habit. It is possible to reduce one kilo every week theoretically. But the lasting diets are those where you lose weight steadily and slowly.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at

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