People embark on diets with varying motivations: whether shedding pounds, adopting a more wholesome way of living, or succumbing to the allure of being size zero, the underlying aim remains the same – personal improvement and improved well-being. Nowadays, many dietary options are available, from medically endorsed plans to those advocated by prominent figures. Popular diet trends include the high-fat, low-calorie regimen, intermittent fasting, and paleo diet.
What a Low-calorie Diet Entails
A low-calorie diet is a structured eating plan that limits daily calories, usually to help with weight loss. People on a low-calorie diet generally aim to consume around 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, creating a “calorie deficit.” However, following a low-calorie diet requires discipline and can be challenging. So, you must seek the guidance of a registered dietitian or weight loss coach to make sure you are not overly restricting your calories or missing out on essential nutrients.
Scientists have been studying low-calorie diets since the 1980s, exploring claims that these diets may slow down the ageing process. But the concept of this diet regarding weight loss is straightforward; If you consume fewer calories than you burn through daily activities and exercise, you will lose weight.
Despite the simplicity of the science behind it, actually following a low-calorie diet plan is not easy. It takes careful planning and effort to understand your hunger cues and ensure that the 1,200 to 1,500 calories you consume are enough to fuel your body and provide the needed nutrients.
How you Can Follow It
There is no specific plan to follow, but nutrition experts suggest choosing healthy, whole foods with fewer calories for a sustainable eating routine. You can decide when to consume your calories, but sticking to a low-calorie plan is easier if you spread your intake throughout the day.
To count calories, you must know how much food you eat during each meal. Supporters of low-calorie diets often suggest using a kitchen scale and measuring cups to measure servings accurately, especially until you become comfortable estimating portion sizes visually. Note that beverages can also contain calories, so you should measure and count the calories in what you drink.
Keeping track of all the foods you eat increases your chances of success. You can maintain a food diary in a notebook or use a calorie counter app or one integrated with a fitness tracker. Food trackers log your daily calorie intake and evaluate the nutritional value of your diet. A food diary also helps you identify habits that might hamper weight loss, such as turning to food for comfort or as a reward.
What you should Know
Before starting a low-calorie diet, it is a good idea to have a physical examination, especially if you have health conditions (like high blood pressure or high cholesterol). Address any history of disordered eating and seek help from a registered dietitian or qualified weight loss coach to maximise the benefits of having a low-calorie diet.
Measuring your body composition and setting goals are also recommended. You can track your waist circumference as an alternative measure of progress instead of just focusing on weight.
Next, you need to determine your daily calorie needs. It will vary for every person and may change over time. Calculate the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight and then reduce that number by 100 to 500 calories.
Start with a small calorie reduction and gradually make adjustments. Low-calorie diets should be seen as a long-term lifestyle change rather than a quick solution. You may find it too challenging to sustain later on if you restrict calories too much initially.
Following a long-term or short-term diet may not be for everyone. And many diets, especially fad diet trends, do not work in the long run. Understand that weight loss does not necessarily equate to optimal health, and there are other ways to pursue good health. These include prioritising sleep and considering other lifestyle factors.
It is best to approach them cautiously and choose options promoting sustainable and healthy practices when encountering weight reduction programs or weight loss programs in Singapore. The best diet for you is the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.