Diets: Everyone Has One


We eat one every day.


For many of us, “diet” has become a dirty word. It’s something many women feel they must attempt and just as many feel they fail – over and over and over again. The constant onslaught of expectations that media and we, our own selves, put us through about appearance is painful. But, cool it for a moment and take a second to remember that the word “diet” actually refers to what you eat – and is not the direct correlation to some weight-loss program. So, let’s talk about diets. After all, we eat one every day…

Whether we realize it or like it or not, each and every one of us is on some form of diet. It could be a weight-loss program, or just what we eat on a daily basis.

The word “diet” simply refers to the structure and content of what a person or group of persons eats on a day-to-day basis. However, in America at least, the word has slightly transformed in recent years to mean “weight-loss program.” If you hear someone claim to be on a diet, there is no doubt of what they mean by their terminology – they are trying to shed some unwanted weight. What people fail to realize, though, is that everyone has a diet – and they eat it every day.

The tricky thing about a lot of weight-loss programs is that they draw people in with the promise of losing inches or pounds of fat in an expedited time frame. Considering our fast-paced society, it is no wonder this sounds so appealing to people. However, many programs that have come, gone, and still stick around are actually not the best for a person’s health – especially not long-term. Commercial programs like Special K, Slim-Fast, and Atkins design the whole weight-loss diet around foods they manufacture – which you can bet are well processed and not exactly natural.

This may leave you wondering what someone is to do to lose and/or maintain their desired weight and health. Well, one of the first things you should do is make sure your goals are reasonable! Take your height and natural bone and muscle structure into consideration when determining what you would like to weigh.

The second thing you should do is look at your current food intake (content and quantity) and your current level of exercise. It is a non-negotiable fact that if you are taking in more food (fuel) than your body uses (burns) in a day, it will save it for later (add weight). Our bodies require a certain amount of fuel just to sustain themselves (like when your car is idling). More fuel is required with activity (like stepping on the gas). The more strenuous and long-term the activity is, the more fuel will be required (like going up a really steep hill with your car).

Next, you should look take a look at the quality of food you are giving your body. The better quality the fuel, the better the machine will run. The best thing you can do for your body is to eat correctly. Find out what actual portion sizes for the foods you are eating are. Would it shock you to know that three ounces of meat is considered a serving? So much for that seven ounce steak, huh? Or would you be surprised to know that a teaspoon is considered a serving for oils? And, how much do you spread on your toast in the morning?

Below is a chart we’ve prepared to help you think about the amount of food a person on a “proper diet” should be consuming on average. Food groups are listed out on the left of the chart, and we list the average amount adult men and women should eat in a day as well as what a serving size of that food group is and what it might look like to see such a serving. The average recommended amounts listed below were gotten from a recently updated USDA website.

Now, keep in mind that some recommended (by USDA) portion averages change over time. As we get older, we don’t need as much fuel to run on. As we are less active, we also need less fuel to run on. Keep in mind that the above chart will land you at about 2,000 calories a day. Some people may require more or less than the amounts listed above – the quantities provided in the chart are simply an average. It’s a starting point you can use to find out what exactly your needs are.

Obviously if you want to lose weight, you need to cut back on the areas that are the most efficient at adding weight on, right? So, when you go to make cuts in your regular daily diet, make cuts in the areas that make the most sense – in effect, the oils, fats, and sugars category. Some oils and fats are very good for your body – in correct amounts. However, when making your initial cuts, go for items like alcohol, candy, chocolate, cookies, greasy foods, and soda. The more raw and natural and less processed and refined, the better!

Well, but… What about all those diets out there? They make claims that sound both convincing and amazing – combining scientific terminology with enticing guarantees. Well, let’s go over a few of the fad diets in existence today.

  1. Blood Type Diet – suggests that you should eat according to your blood type (O, A, B, or AB) due to specific needs per the different types.
  2. The Cabbage Soup Diet – not suitable for long-term weight loss (says so itself). A low-fat, high-fiber diet to lose weight fast before embarking on a more moderate, long-term eating plan.
  3. Cambridge Diet – originally introduced in 1979. Now a product line available in shakes, soups, cereals, bars, and beverage mixes.
  4. The Caveman Diet – is based on the theorized ancient diet of wild plants and animals during the “caveman” era. Consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. Well known as a diet to lose weight, stay lean, and obtain overall good health.
  5. The Grapefruit Diet – originally introduced in 1930 as a weight-loss program jumpstarter. Many versions are available, but the basic is the same: eat half a grapefruit before every meal to enjoy the benefits of fat-burning enzymes contained in the grapefruit.
  6. The Ice Cream Diet – claims you can eat ice cream and lose weight. It says to go ahead and have your milkshakes, hot fudge sundaes, and banana splits. Also claims to lower blood pressure, reduce risk of colon cancer, and reduce symptoms of PMS.
  7. The Mono Food Diet – eat only one type of food per meal. For instance, at breakfast eat 2 apples and 1 banana, at lunch eat 3 baked potatoes, and at dinner eat half a roast chicken.
  8. Negative Calorie Diet – has been online since 1997. Simply put, this plan focuses on eating foods that give the body less calories than the body requires to digest them.
  9. The Raw Food Diet – based on the belief that the most healthful food for the body is uncooked. Although most food is eaten raw, heating food is acceptable as long as the temperature stays below 104° Fahrenheit. Heat above this level is thought to destroy living enzymes naturally present in the food.
  10. Atkins Diet – focuses primarily on the body’s metabolism. Believes eating the right foods can improve your body’s metabolism, particularly how it handles fat. Avoids carbs and sugars. A complimentary product line is available.
  11. Slim-Fast Diet – works on metabolism while combining Slim-Fast products and suggested meal plans. A product line that contains snack bars, food bars, shake mixes, and canned shakes.
  12. South Beach Diet – a three phase plan. Phase 1 is two weeks, Phase 2 varies in length, and Phase 3 is the rest of your life. A snack-type product line is available.
  13. Special K Diet – four different basic plans to choose from. A two week plan. A coinciding product line is available and used for each plan type such as cereals, food bars, and shakes.

Obviously some of these don’t sound too bad. Most all of them have a pile or two of testimonials claiming they worked great. However, more often than not, if it sounds too good to be true, it is… It’s true that some people have been able to find lasting results with these weight-loss diet programs. Most of them address key ideas (metabolism, fiber, eating right, exercising) that are required for regular, daily health as well as shedding unwanted weight. And, in truth, you might be able to take and use some of the concepts of some of them and incorporate those concepts into your plan to meet your personal needs.

If you are uncertain what you and your body need, it may be best to seek advice from a nutritionist or a naturopath. The best thing you can do for yourself is figure out what it is that you specifically need to successfully maintain your health and weight – or decrease your weight and increase your health. There are also those who need to increase their weight – and they could benefit from knowing what their bodies need to function as well.

Just remember that the word “diet” simply refers to the structure and content of what a person or group of people eat on a day-to-day basis. Diet is not a dirty word – although recently it has gotten a little misunderstood because it is so often considered a synonym for “weight-loss program.” People forget that they are on a diet whether they are trying to lose weight or not – it’s what they eat every day. So, whether you like or not, want it or not, all of us partake in some form of diet. What we strongly recommend for you is to study how what you eat affects you and amend your diet as needed – using proper food portions and focusing on the foods your body needs to fuel its daily activities.


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