Bikini season is fast approaching and similar to our “spring-cleaning” in our closets, as women, we like to do a spring-cleaning of our bodies before we hit the beach and barbecues.
There are a lot of fads out there, which typically involve cutting out a complete food group, or food all together in promises of a thinner tomorrow. Countless weight loss “vitamins” sit on the shelves, waiting for consumers to add them to their workout regimen. And while you may not notice an effect on your hair and skin at first, it can take up to 3 weeks to see the real affect your diet is having on you. If the point, anyway, is to look more beautiful, then I think we can commit to making smarter decisions about our diets we are choosing.
According to U.S. News, these are the top 4 diets for 2014, and they promise complete nutrition and balance, to keep your whole body looking radiant.
1. Dash Diet
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) helped develop DASH and has published free guides on the plan. Here is a 6-page overview of the plan, here (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/dash_brief.pdf). It centers its concepts around lowering and preventing high blood pressure by emphasizing good foods, and limiting bad foods (fatty, sweet and salty.). It is completely balanced in every food group and can be modified for any preferences- vegetarian, gluten-free… etc. Plus, because the focus is on long-term health, they have developed it to be realistic and restaurant friendly.
2. TLC Diet
Created by the National Institute of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Diet is endorsed by the American Heart Association. It’s focus centers around being low fat and promises to lower bad cholesterol in a mere 6 weeks. On this diet you will be eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, fish and skin off poultry. Each day you will keep meat to a minimum (no more than 5 ounces), eat 2-3 servings of dairy; enjoy 4-5 servings of fruit and vegetables and 6-11 servings of whole grains, rice and pasta.
3. Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic has a unique food pyramid and promises you will shed 6 to 10 pounds in 2 weeks and continue shedding 1-2 pounds a week until you reach your goal. In the first of two sections it will teach you how to ban bad habits, like: eating while watching TV, consuming sugar (except what is found in fruit), snacking (except on fruits and vegetables), and consuming too much meat and full fat dairy. Also, instead of focusing on counting calories, it educates you about what servings of different foods look like; for example, a serving of fruit is the size of a tennis ball.
4. Mediterranean Diet
The theory is that people who live along the Mediterranean Sea suffer less from Cancer and Cardiovascular disease than Americans. This is contributed to an active lifestyle and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat. Initially considered to be the “poor” mans diet, it consists of fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans, healthy grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of dairy and red wine. There is no specified plan, but they have created a Food Pyramid of their own to use as a guide. You can find it here (http://oldwayspt.org/sites/default/files/OW_MedPyramid_612x792.jpg).
Want to see the full list? Visit the U. S. News website, here (http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-overall-diets?int=9c2508).
At the end of the day, if you ask me, I think we would all be happier if we were more confident being Marilyn than Barbie. At least we can have shiny, healthy hair and skin whether we are working towards better health for the summer or for a lifetime.
Cheers to beauty inside and out!