First, there was the Atkins diet, which pretty much demonized anything with simple carbohydrates. Anyone on it pretty much bade white bread and white rice goodbye. (Ouch.) Then, along came the Paleo diet, which urged diners to mimic a caveman’s diet (i.e., plenty of grains and protein).
Sometimes, it seems as if there are as many diets as there are body types, and I suppose that’s a good thing because it acknowledges that not everyone is made equal. Still, the question now is, how do you determine which diet is right for you?
One way to answer that question is to figure out your diet personality, which you can do by taking the short quiz below:
1. What do you hate the most about going on a diet?
a.) Always being hungry.
b.) The stress of having to monitor what I eat.
c.) The time and effort it takes to plan and prepare proper meals.
d.) Feeling deprived of the stuff I like to eat.
2. What does your typical breakfast look like?
a.) Coffee, tea, or juice, and whole wheat toast or cereal with milk.
b.) It depends on what I’m in the mood for when I wake up.
c.) I usually skip breakfast.
d.) Scrambled eggs, bacon or fish, and white or brown rice.
3. When are you most likely to overeat?
a.) When I’m at the office and there’s plenty of food.
b.) When I’m stressed, worried, or anxious.
c.) It’s not really a problem for me, because I don’t stick around for too long when I eat.
d.) When I’m in front of the television or the computer.
4. Your grocery cart usually contains….
a.) Lean proteins, yogurt, vegetables, fruits,, whole wheat bread, and a few snacks.
b.) Packaged crunchy snacks, desserts, candy, and ice cream.
c.) Just the basics: water, bread, sandwich spread, and meals for one.
d.) A variety of fresh and prepared food.
5. Your usual weeknight dinner consists of….
a.) grilled or roasted protein, vegetables, and rice.
b.) I try to eat healthy when I’m having a good day, perhaps some grilled fish and vegetables. If not, I’ll indulge in a pizza.
c.) Takeout food, or something that doesn’t take long to prepare.
d.) I don’t really eat dinner. I just keep grazing throughout the evening.
If you got mostly A’s, you’re a non-stop nibbler. You probably make a conscious effort to eat healthy during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you might be snacking on less nutritious edibles in between. Now, snacking in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, and it’s actually better for your metabolism if you eat small, frequent meals rather than large, infrequent ones.
However, it all depends on what you choose to snack on. Those free donuts your boss brought in might look tempting, but you’ll do your body a favor if you opt to bring your own healthy snacks (e.g., fruits, vegetable sticks, or multi-grain crackers) to the office instead.
If you got mostly B’s, you’re an emotional eater. Food certainly is comforting, and that’s probably why you find yourself reaching for your favorites whenever you’re feeling bored, anxious, stressed, or heartbroken. Still, whatever relief you get from food tends to be replaced by guilt as well as a few inches and pounds if this becomes a habit.
To figure out what your emotional triggers are, write down what you’re feeling whenever you turn to the fridge for comfort, and then come up with healthy alternatives to emotional binging. Try reading a book, talking to a friend, or even going for a run. In the latter’s case, you might actually burn off more calories instead of consuming them.
If you got mostly C’s, you’re a functional feeder. These kinds of diners are often on the go, and typically grab whatever’s available, whether it’s healthy or not. Because you’re not usually mindful of what you eat, it’s not too difficult for stray calories to find their way into your diet. Also, if you eat on the run, there isn’t much time for your body to digest food and for you to feel full, making it all too easy to overeat.
The trick is to treat healthy eating as any other important activity in your life. Just as you schedule work meetings and dentist appointments, you should also carve out time to prepare and freeze healthy meals for the week ahead. Or if you’re really strapped for time, you can look up meal preparation services online and simply place an order for the following week.
If you got mostly D’s, you’re a sofa snacker. As with the non-stop nibbler, you probably eat well-balanced meals and healthy snacks throughout a rather active day. The difference is that while you probably don’t nibble much in between, you might instead reward yourself by plopping down in front of the couch with a package of potato chips or a box of chocolate chip cookies around nightfall.
One way to get around this is to seek low-calorie alternatives to your favorite snacks, such as plain popcorn or frozen low-fat yogurt. Do make sure you stock up on something you actually like eating so it doesn’t feel like you’re depriving yourself, especially if your days are often busy and packed. If you really MUST have that cookie with your nightly Netflix session, you can compromise by skipping out on dessert after dinner.
Regardless of what your diet personality is, it’s important to bear in mind that the ultimate goal of any dietary plan should be holistic good health. What would be the point of having a tiny waist if you were miserable from starving yourself to death, right?
So, instead of focusing on unrealistic #bodygoals, try to work on developing your body to be fit and strong, regardless of what that might look like. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll feel much better in the long run.