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How to choose the right diet plan for you!

Starting a diet can be a big commitment so it's important to choose the best diet plan for you and with so many diet plans to choose from, it's easy to become a little confused and overwhelmed.

Before starting a diet plan you should ask yourself a few important questions. Probably the most important factor is to find a diet plan that fits into your lifestyle.

1. How much time do you have?

Some diet plans offer weekly meetings, such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World, which is great to keep you motivated, but if you don’t have very much spare time, or there isn’t a meeting near you, these can be hard to keep up with.

If you do have a busy lifestyle it might be worth considering a diet plan where you have your diet delivered as this will fit conveniently around your schedule, you can set your own targets, track your own progress and have the meals provided for you, to fit into your routine as you please.

2. Do you enjoy cooking?

If the answer is yes, then start looking for recipes and ideas that are calorie controlled. Waitrose recipe cards for example, show the calories for each recipe. If you are cooking for yourself, make sure you don’t add any extras, follow the recipe closely, weighing all the ingredients, otherwise you may eat more calories than you think. The Jane Plan Diet book has over 70 recipes and is packed with ideas!

If however, you don’t like cooking getting your diet meals delivered to your home means that all the hard work is done for you, you can trust that you have been provided with healthy, balanced, portion-controlled meals and all you have to do is heat and eat.

If you like to cook occasionally, but don’t have time during the week, consider a flexible diet plan, like the Jane Plan Weekends Off option.

3. Do you want to lose weight quickly?

Most people answer ‘yes’ to this question, but think hard before saying ‘yes, I want to lose weight fast’. Usually rapid weight loss is followed by rapid weight gain and statistically people who follow very low calorie diets and lose weight quickly, are more likely to put the weight back on.  Shake based diets, like Weight to Go, Lighter Life, Slim Fast were really popular a few years ago, but there are few health professionals who would endorse a shake based diet. If you remove yourself from eating real food, then when you return to ‘normal’ eating, the weight goes back on again and you start a cycle of yo yo dieting.  In fact, in the longer term, there is no evidence to support the fact that you will lose more weight with a very low calorie diet.

Average weight loss on Jane Plan is fast enough to keep you motivated, and also very sustainable. If you have a special event coming up, for which you need to lose weight, then our Nutritionist will create a diet that will ensure you meet your goals in time! 

4. Do you need support?

Research suggests that when it comes to losing weight, support and accountability are very important. Even if you don’t think you need support, choosing a diet plan that offers it, is very important. You can always opt out if you feel it’s not for you. Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Lighter Life are known for their comprehensive support. Think hard about whether the sort of support they offer is right for you. It will mean attending a weekly meeting, speaking to a counsellor and being weighed – sometimes in public.  Companies like Diet Chef, that specialise in delivered diet plans, offer super convenience, but not support, so if you have a problem you’d like to discuss, need some extra motivation or just want to speak to someone, you may have to turn to a friend, visit your GP, or find a local Nutritionist. Jane Plan offers weekly support with your own dedicated Nutritionist, which is why our clients lose weight and keep it off. If you don’t want any support, just tell us, and we won’t bother you at all!

5. Want to cut Carbs?

Following a carb free diet was very popular a few years ago and many people believe that by cutting out this important food group, they’ll lose weight. The Dukan Diet, Atkins and Natural Ketosis (who offer low carb diet food delivered to your door) are the best known examples of these types of diet plans. But be aware, cutting out a food group may have long term health implications. Research these sorts of diets before committing, if you don’t know where to start, google ‘NHS diets’, or ‘NHS ketosis’! The NHS offer very good guidelines on the effects of dramatically cutting carbs.

Government and NHS guidelines recommend that to lose weight, follow a diet plan that includes all the major food groups, cut calories and keep portions under control.

6. Shall I do the 5:2?

The 5:2 Diet or Fast Diet hit the High Street a couple of years ago and remains fashionable. The good news about the 5:2 Diet is that it can fit very well into a busy lifestyle. This diet plan works on the principle that if you eat 500/600 calories on 2 days a week, you can eat what you like the remainder of the week.  However, research suggests it only works if you also control your calories on the remaining 5 days. Interestingly, it seems by cutting calories dramatically on the fasting days, many people actually do eat less, without even trying, on the remaining 5 days, because their appetite has reduced. The question is, how will you be able to manage eating just 500  calories a day – do you have a demanding job, are you a stay at home mum, or an older person with an active lifestyle? 500 calories is about 1 cup of coffee and a cheese sandwich! Can you manage a day on these rations? If you think you can't, then think again. Jane Plan is now working with Woman Magazine to create our very own version of the 5:2 Diet. This means you can get your fasting days' food delivered to your door. Find out more here.

Whatever diet plan you are considering, it’s important to do your research.  Ask your friends what’s worked for them, ask your GP for advice, or if you’re diabetic, ask your diabetic nurse. Try not to be swayed by the media, who may well be championing the next fad diet or celebrity diet – that’s because they sell papers, not because they work.  Be aware of any diet plan that offers fast weight loss, with no effort – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Pills and potions won’t work – even those available from the pharmacy won’t actually make the fat disappear. Instead, follow tried and tested research and choose a diet plan that helps you cut calories, control portions and learn to love eating delicious food, in the right quantities.  Sadly there’s no quick fix, but if you find a  diet plan that you can stick to, and you learn along the way to adjust your eating patterns for life, you’ll be successful.

Good Luck!

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