January is the time when the press's and the many of the public's thoughts turn to the thorny subject of dieting. Diets are very much the subject of fashion, and it seems like a new one is announced every day. There is always a new fad and a new food to tempt you into trying the new wonder diet. It seems to me that the biggest problem with largely extreme diets is that, while possibly effective, they are not easy to stick with, partly because they involve a fair degree of suffering and partly because they can make eating quite boring.
It does depend on what you want to get out of your diet. Health, weight loss, a sense of achievement? All are possible, but generally sustainability isn't - for the aforementioned reasons. Certainly, trying to become healthy and slim should be a lifelong ambition, so whatever you start doing should be something you can keep up indefinitely. A quick fix weight loss program doesn't require longevity, but the likelihood of returning to your original state is quite high - and then you're faced with the daunting prospect of starting all over again.
So my diet is remarkably free from rules. In fact, here is only one rule. Decide on the number of calories you are allowed - and stick to it. What makes up those calories is up to you. When I was trying to lose weight fast, my limit was 1200 calories a day. Now I have reached my weight goal, I have raised it to a maximum of 1800. As I have put on weight over Christmas I have a temporary limit of 1500.
What makes up those calories is up to you. You could graze and snack, or you could, as I do, have just three meals a day. I try to limit each meal to 400 calories. For example, my breakfast comprises of fat free yoghurt, muesli and fruit. Or you could just have a 100 gram packet of crisps, which has about 500-600 calories. Following my rule, you've already eaten into part of your lunch allowance. Which is more satisfying and healthier? The decision is, of course, yours - but I know which I prefer. Going down my route, you get variety and a generally healthy and enjoyable meal - without having suffer in the process.
So, sort of by default, my eating (I don't like the word 'diet': it sounds like a punishment) is satisfying ,sustainable and reasonably healthy.