Whether you’re trying to drop the weight you’ve gained in quarantine or you simply want to feel your healthiest, creating a personalized diet is an excellent way to take care of your health, maintain a healthy diet, and feel better about your physical and mental health. Of course, no diet is one-size-fits-all. For the best results, you need to personalize it to meet your specific needs. You can do that in a number of ways.
1. Determine if You Have Food Sensitivities
Before you begin stocking your refrigerator and cabinets with food for your new diet, it’s important to know if your body can handle those foods. For example, many people have an intolerance to gluten and don’t even realize it. When the body doesn’t handle gluten well, you may feel fatigued, have joint and muscle pain, feel bloated, get headaches more often, and may even notice changes in your skin. Luckily, there are gluten intolerance test kits that can help you to determine if you should avoid adding these types of foods to your diet plan.
2. Focus on Counting Your Macros
Counting calories for every meal is often time-consuming and usually doesn’t give you an accurate picture of what your body is actually consuming. Instead, focus on counting your macros each day. Macros are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are sugar chains that break down and provide fuel for your muscles.
- Fats – Excess calories go to your fat cells and provide energy when there aren’t enough fast-burning carbs in the body. Fat is also important for your brain function and hormonal balance.
- Proteins – Protein creates sustainable energy and repairs the tissue in your body.
Creating a good balance of macronutrients helps you to burn fat, gain muscle, and keep your energy levels where they need to be. Every body differs slightly but on average, you’ll need to eat 40% protein, 35% healthy fats, and 25% carbohydrates each day. A doctor can help you determine specifics for your body.
3. Be Realistic About Your Cooking Expectations
Be realistic about the goals you set for yourself when it comes to your food. If you are somebody who loves to cook and generally already cooks most of your meals at home, then doing it for your diet is a good idea. However, if you’re someone who is always busy and tends to eat takeout while standing over the kitchen sink, saying you’ll cook all your meals is unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure.
Try to find an in-between. First, how many times a day can you eat? Some people prefer three meals with an afternoon snack while others see more success when they eat several small meals per day. Next, consider how often you truly have time to cook. Can you spend part of your Sunday afternoon working on meal prep for the week? Perhaps you’d like to cook more and will subscribe to a meal box that provides the ingredients and recipes for you. If you dine out a lot, deciding on the healthiest menu options in advance can help you stay on track.
4. Make Exercise Fun for Yourself
One of the biggest components of a healthy diet is making sure that you get enough exercise. Working out does not need to be something that you loathe doing and avoid at all costs. If you love going to the gym, that’s great. You can continue to do just that. However, if the thought of spending an hour on a treadmill or an exercise bike makes you cringe, it’s important to find other ways to work out. Do you love to run? Find some trails near your house that allow you to run and take in nature at the same time. Maybe you love to dance. Even something as simple as playing a movement-based video game in your living room counts as exercise!
Above all, remember to be patient with yourself. Creating healthier habits takes time. There may be trial and error while you find what works for you, and results are never going to happen overnight. Be diligent about the changes you want to make, though, and the results will eventually start to show.