5 Tips for Finding the Right Diet that Works for Your Body

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A Brief History

In 1918, Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories by American physician and columnist Lulu Hunt Peters (1873–1930) became the first weight-loss book to promote calorie counting and the first weight-loss book to become a bestseller.  Whether you want to lose weight or lead a more active lifestyle, there are so many diets to pick from, making it more confusing than ever to know which one is best for you. To make the selection that little bit easier, here are five tips for finding the right diet that works for your body, helping to keep you on track and motivated.

Digging Deeper

Consider Your Personal Needs

A low-carbohydrate diet restricts the amount of carbohydrate-rich foods – such as bread – in the diet.  Photograph by kspoddar.

It is important to remember that there is not one diet that suits all; however, if you want to find a diet that is a close match, there are various factors that you need to consider beforehand. Before you begin, you should have a think about the types of diets you have already tried, your personal preferences, as well as your lifestyle and weight-loss goals. Once you establish what you want to get out of your diet, this can help to narrow down the options available.

Know Your Budget

A news report of Dr Hugh Conklin’s “water diet” treatment from 1922.  Source: The New York Times Archive.

There are many diets floating around the internet that can be more costly than others. In order to see results, you will need to check whether you have the money to invest in the diet, as well as working out how much you would like to spend. Once you have figured out what you can afford, you can look into diet plans that look the most interesting to you, helping you to decide whether they fit into your budget or not. Make sure to break down all the costs of the foods, reference materials, support services, and exercise classes too.

Identify Health Issues

An example of a high fiber vegan breakfast, suitable for someone suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.  Photograph by Hogan.jac.

Before picking a diet to follow, you may want to consider making an appointment with your healthcare provider who can help establish which health issues should be considered before selecting the right diet for you. For instance, people with diabetes have specific nutritional needs, which can limit the types of diets that they can choose.

Social Support

Comedores Compulsivos Anónimos (Overeaters Anonymous) group in Santiago de Compostela (Spain).  Photograph by Pampuco.

While many people have a successful start with their diet, losing motivation and drive are common problems. To keep on the straight and narrow, you should have a close support network around you who can help push you in the right direction with your diet. It is normal to have a mixture of good and bad days, so if you’re feeling low and want to throw in the towel, speaking to a close friend or relative can really help spur you on. If you would rather speak to someone who is not in your circle, you may benefit from signing up to a gym or a community center, where you can speak to like-minded individuals who are following the same diet as you.

Learning from Your Mistakes

A comparative image of a staple in diet advertising.  This screenshot of Second Life was released into the public domain according to Asanagi.

If you have tried many diets before with no luck, it is important you go back in time and evaluate your weight loss history. Making a note of why the diets were unsuccessful can only help when it comes to selecting a new one. Some diets can be very vague, making it hard to follow, so you may want to consider something more specific. These AIP meal plans are detailed, providing you with all you need to know about what you should be eating to see results.

Before you pick a diet to follow, it is always best to do some research into what others are saying about it. The more positive reviews, the better, which can help you decide whether it is right for you. You should also consider your personal needs, work out whether you can afford to do it, as well as identify and underlying health issues which may impact how successful the diet is for your body. All in all, trial and error comes into play, so if one diet does not work for you, simply move on to another until you find one that you feel comfortable and content with.

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you have any dieting tips?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Foxcroft, Louise.  Calories and Corsets: A History of Dieting over 2,000 years.  Profile Books, 2013.

Peters, Lulu Hunt.  Diet & Health with Key to the Calories.  High Desert Press, 2010.

The featured image in this article combines the following two images: 1) a press photograph of the pioneer diet doctor, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters, is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924; and 2) a cover of Diet and health, with key to the calories by Lulu Hunt Peters, was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the Science History Institute as part of a cooperation project.  This latter image is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1924, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.


About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland