An advertisement for a sustainable diet isn’t something you see tacked on the front of most diet books these days. Instead, most promise you’ll lose weight by next week, won’t have cravings, and can even enjoy your favorite foods while dieting (yeah right). Yet the sustainability factor of a diet is perhaps, the most important of all. Sustainability means you’re able to stay on the dieting plan for a long time because you truly do enjoy it, not because you’re desperate to fit in your skinny jeans until your senior years. Not sure how to pick a sustainable diet? These 7 factors can help you decide.
1. The Food
If I’m looking at qualifications for a sustainable diet, I want to know what the food is going to be like the rest of my life, don't you? Eating is a natural pleasure we’re meant to enjoy, even if that means old favorites like fast food are off the menu. Make sure the diet you're considering is filled with dishes you'll enjoy, preferably made with wholesome foods.
2. Meal Prep
Meal prep is another determining factor of a sustainable diet. How long are you going to have to spend in the kitchen each week? Some people enjoy prepping long meals, others don’t. See what you’ll be dedicating to meal prep, give it a try, and then see if you think you can withstand it for life.
3. Whole Food Derived
It’s not enough you enjoy the food but also that it comes from whole food sources. Processed bars and shakes are not part of a sustainable diet, no matter how convenient they may be. Choose a diet made from whole foods such as: fruits, veggies, legumes and/or beans, whole grains (gluten-free is fine), nuts, seeds, and plenty of leafy greens.
4. Imagine It
When considering any diet, imagine yourself actually doing it daily. Dieting shouldn't interfere with your day to day life and should be something that easily fits into your personal, social, and work lifestyle.
Next up, how’s your energy after a couple days on the diet? Do you feel draggy and depleted? If these feelings last for more than a week, you might not be eating enough calories or may not be eating a healthy diet overall. A sustainable diet will be one that gives you plenty of energy, vitality, and zest for living - not one that leaves you wanting to take a nap every afternoon.
6. Ethical Factor
I know many people aren’t keen on looking at ethics when they’re desperate to lose weight but you should consider that your choices every single day affect more than just your waistline - they affect the entire planet. Eating in an ethical manner doesn’t just help you become more aware as a person, but it might even help you lose more weight because of how it fine tunes your emotions. A plant-based diet is not only an ethical choice, but also one that might help you lose the most weight and keep it off a lifetime.
Does the diet you’re considering promote exercise or tell you that you don’t need it? Overindulging in exercise isn't healthy, but being active each day is. Any diet that tells you otherwise is likely one you'll want to avoid. Exercise has been proven to fight mental illness, physical disease, and will help you in your conquest to lose weight.
How do you choose a sustainable diet? Have you found one that works for you?