Well, we’re now officially into the New Year, and enough time has passed for you to hopefully have started removing that festive weight you gained over the holidays, and started working on your health and fitness for the New Year. When it comes to health and fitness goals and targets, we all have different objectives in mind. Some people out there wish to lose body fat and tone up slightly, whereas others want to bulk up and pile on pounds upon pounds of heavy muscle. Whether you want to get beefy or ripped, one of the most important things you will need to consider, will be your nutrition. With so many different diet plans currently in circulation, it can be easy to find ourselves becoming overwhelmed when searching for the perfect diet. The diet you choose will depend largely on your health and fitness targets, but to help you narrow down the search, here’s a look at some of the more popular diet plans currently in operation. There are countless different diets out there, but here’s a look at some of the more popular ones.
Intermittent Fasting – At first, the thought of fasting for a prolonged period of time will fill people with dread, and would generally not be considered healthy. However, from an evolutionary perspective, intermittent fasting is actually hugely practical. The basic premise behind intermittent fasting, or IF, for short, is for you to go for prolonged periods of time between eating meals, to gradually reduce your caloric consumption. Rather than emphasizing what you eat, you emphasize the times when you eat. There are many different forms of IF, which can either split each day into periods of eating or fasting, or ones which split the week into fasting and eating periods. For example, some people will fast each day, say from 7pm – 7am, whereas others may choose different times of the day, and may fast for 16 hour windows, instead of 12. Others however, will have higher calorie days and lower calorie days. The 5:2 diet is actually a form of IF. The general idea however, is that you eat relatively clean and healthy foods during your food windows, and consume nothing for the remainder of the time, other than water.
IIFYM – IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros, is sometimes known as flexible dieting, and it is basically a form of diet which literally allows you to have your cake, and eat it too. Rather than eating low fat, tasteless, bland foods to lose weight, IIFYM works differently. You see, in order to lose weight, not only should we consume just the right amount of calories, we should also get these calories from the correct ratios of macronutrients. Our macros are the calories which come from: fat, protein, and carbohydrates, and, depending on your goals, you need a certain percentage of each one to lose weight. If you work these ratios out correctly, rather than counting calories alone, you count macros, so if you have enough macros left, you can actually eat a little junk food now and then, and still lose weight. Basically, rather than focusing on foods and calories, you focus on the macros of each food item you consume. IIFYM is very useful because it means you are getting the correct ratios of macros in, to optimize how your body responds to the fuel you provide it with. For example, if you focus on calories alone to lose weight, you probably won’t get enough protein each day, which means you will also lose muscle. With IIFYM, you get just the right balance of macros to burn fat, without losing muscle due to a lack of proteins and amino acids.
Weight Watchers – Weight Watchers is a diet plan founded by Jean Nidetch, way back in 1963. This diet program allows users to track and monitor their nutritional intakes via a points system each day. Not only that, but there is also a support system in place, including weekly meetings and support groups where members can discuss their week, their eating habits, and perhaps their problems with their weight. Weight watchers places an emphasis on smaller portions, along with healthy and balanced meals, with a little wiggle room for treats now and then, providing your points are not too high for the day. There are even a series of healthy and convenient ready meals on offer, which can make sticking to the plan even easier.
And with that, we’ll draw proceedings to a close. Remember, different diets are designed to cater for different people with different genetics, different lifestyles, and different goals. Just because a diet works well for one person, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work well for you, and vice versa.