The Best, Healthiest Diet for 2009
For me, the word "diet" has an ugly connotation to it. Setting a goal to adopt a healthier lifestyle is an admirable personal mission, but dieting in order to lose weight often involves desperately seeking out fad diets or other quick weight-loss schemes.
If one of your New Year's Resolutions is to eat nutritious meals and get more exercise, then read on for some excellent resources. Modifying one's diet in order to live a healthier lifestyle overall is the primary goal here, though losing weight is often a result of this change.
All the diets I came across in my research involve making a multitude of changes across many areas of life; there really are no quick fixes to body image woes. The good diets share numerous common principles: understand the motivations behind unhealthy eating patterns, focus on consuming a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods, and exercise.
Originally this story was going to be a "Top 5" or "Top 10" list of the healthiest diets leading into the New Year, but most of the diets I came across didn't sound healthy at all - or positive, for that matter. I began to identify the diets that were deemed healthy, safe and effective, and within these I found some resounding trends, variations on these basic tenets:
- sound nutrition
- daily exercise
- stress management
- strong social networks and positive relationships
- program support, through supply of menus and recipes, and online or in-person group resources
Diets that have been identified as most effective are grounded on proven scientific principles. The Sonoma Diet is based on a Mediterranean diet consisting of reasonable portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil and nuts, paired with exercise. Weight Watchers proves that a reliable support group keeps you motivated and committed to your goals. The Best Life Diet releases weekly menus and recipes for continual inspiration. The Solution Diet, Eating Well and Structure House diets pin down the emotional causes and behavioural triggers behind unhealthy eating patterns, and work to eliminate those self-deprecating habits.
If a simple commitment to healthy eating and casual daily exercise isn't enough to kick-start your weight-loss or healthy lifestyle ambitions, check out these online resources to get you started:
- CNN identifies their top 10 healthiest diets, which were assessed by a panel of qualified judges.
- Health allows you to compare various popular diets. Judge up to 3 different diets side-by-side and determine their merits based on your needs and personality.
At the end of the day, people with serious dietary complications or obesity issues would probably do best to give themselves in to an intensive support program that alters not just eating behaviour, but all behaviour.
For the rest of us, it is likely that a desire to diet stems from our own personal insecurities, a tendency which can only be curbed by accepting our imperfections and feeling the best we can within our own skin. More often than not this requires an attitude adjustment, not a physical one.
Learning how to alter our personal habits can be daunting and intimidating, which easily explains why it is so hard to induce change into our lives. My personal New Year's Resolution is a simple one: eat healthy, enjoy life and respect my body. Identifying how these resolutions might translate into achievable, everyday goals is the real task. But with the abundance of resources available online and within my community, I'm confident that I can make healthier choices in all aspects of my life - and you can too.