I’m a member of a number of weight loss support groups on FB and I’m surprised by the amount of people that attempt diets without really knowing what they involve.
‘I’m thinking of starting Keto, but not really sure what I have to eat.’
With the amount of diets on the scene now I suppose it can get confusing. However, people are judging these diets on results they’ve seen other people get rather than whether it might work for them.
‘I’m thinking of starting Keto’ means ‘I’ve seen my friend lose a lot of weight on Keto’, and ‘but not really sure what I have to eat’ means ‘I don’t care as long as I get results’.
If you’ve desperately been trying to lose weight with no success you’ll try anything. But people are neglecting whether it’s a good fit for THEIR lifestyle.
Yes, intermittent fasting might have worked wonders for Sandra down the road but that’s not to say it’ll work for you.
Anyways, I’ve decided to do up a list of popular diets and discuss the pros and cons of each. At least then you’ll be able to make your own decision.
I must stress that I am not even a fan of getting into the ‘diet mind-set’. I will be discussing an alternative towards the end.
Intermittent Fasting (IF)
This is one I’ve experimented with, and actually enjoyed. IF just means restricting your calories around a set period. There are a number of ways of doing so.
I’ve experimented with the 16/8 approach; you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat for 8 hours. For example, you might leave your breakfast until 12pm and then eat until 8pm. Not too difficult.
This probably suits anyone that isn’t a big ‘brekkie’ eater.
The only issue I found with this was the fact that I’m a very early riser by the time 12pm came around I’d be ravenous and I’d end up binging on food as a result. I thought that it may lead to some unhealthy behaviours in the future. Perhaps if I try again I’ll push my breakfast to 10am or 11am.
That’s not the only way you can do it. You can do the 5:2 diet; you eat normally for 5 days of the week and then eat only 500 calories for two days. I don’t recommend this approach.
All in all if you’re single, have no kids and have no social life it might work out well for you. It was just something I couldn’t see myself keeping up for the long term.
This is the one I see crop up most on these weight loss pages.
Why? It works, that’s why.
Can you believe I said that? Yes Keto works, but so does every other diet once calories are controlled. The advantage that Keto has is that it keeps hunger at bay.
A ketogenic diet is a high fat/low carb diet. It’s pretty similar to the Atkins diet, remember him?
Your body becomes fat adapted, meaning it burns primarily fat for fuel, rather than carbohydrate (as there is none).
But REMEMBER, just because the body is burning fat for fuel does not mean that translates to drops in body fat. Calories In Vs Calories Out still applies.
If you ate 2,000 calories of high fat or 2,000 calories of high carb, you’d still get the same results. Only difference is you’d be fuller on the high fat diet; meaning you’d probably eat less.
All sounds good right? Losing weight and less hunger?
Yes if it weren’t for the fact it is extremely restrictive. Little or no carbs simply does not work for most people’s lifestyles. Families, partners, work outings etc. all get in the way of a Ketogenic diet.
It’s completely possible to stick to the diet with these things but most people won’t have the will power to keep it up for years.
I just feel that once people lose weight on keto, they’ll fall back into old eating patterns and regain the lost weight.
No, just No!
Slimming World/Weight Watchers
These two get a bad wrap in the fitness industry. I feel like certain professionals go after these two just to get a name for themselves.
Out of all the diets listed here I actually believe these are two of the best. Let me explain……
There aren’t many restrictions with SW and WW. For the most part you can eat the foods you like, in moderation. All you have to do is use up Syns or points.
That coaches people on how to eat flexibly but still maintain a caloric deficit.
Where I think they go wrong is you have to do so in VERY public meetings, which can make people feel uncomfortable.
At many of these meetings there seems to be an overemphasis on the scale number. If you lost weight you were ‘good’, if you gained weight you were ‘bad’. Regardless of whether you exercised, ate more vegetables, drank 3 litres of water every day and slept well on the ‘bad’ week.
This frustrates and overwhelms people meaning they can end up ‘falling off the wagon’ after a so called bad week.
Also, there seem to be a few whacky rules with them. Pasta is a free food, meaning you can eat as much of it as you like? That confuses me.
Where I find these programs could improve is more of a program geared towards exercise. There is a far greater chance of gaining lost weight if you don’t exercise. These programs see people come and go continuously as they yo-yo diet, regaining and losing the weight they’ve lost.
But if they were put on a proper exercise routine, I’m sure you’d see a massive reduction in regain rates. If that is what they WANT.
Okay I shouldn’t even include this in a weight loss guide but I have seen people bring it up in this context. Let me make clear……
DO NOT USE VEGANISM FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF LOSING WEIGHT.
It is a terrible choice for doing so. In fact, it would be the total opposite diet I’d recommend. At least Keto curbs your hunger. The inevitable reduction in protein intake with veganism means your hunger will probably increase.
If you feel strongly about animal welfare or that eating meat might be harming your health then by all means become vegan. But do NOT choose it as a means for losing weight.
This is another NO!
You thought the Atkins diet was bad…….
This Carnivore Diet really is eating NOTHING but meat. Can you believe that? The surprising thing is, it’s becoming popular.
In a similar vein to Keto, it works because your hunger is curbed well on the diet. You go through the same physiological change into Ketosis (using fat solely for fuel).
I would not recommend this diet. Not only because fruits, vegetables and grains are beneficial for our health, but because of how restrictive this diet is. Most people won’t be able to go through their lives eating nothing but meat.
How About We Just Eat Better?
After all that I think you shouldn’t choose any of the aforementioned. What happened to plain and simple eating better?
Eating protein with every meal, eating lots of veggies, drinking lots of water, limiting processed carbs, fats and alcohol.
That’s where I’ve had the most success.
You see that stuff isn’t sexy though. It isn’t marketed to the masses. There’s no ‘I Ate Better’ weight loss program with before and after pics.
But that’s how you sustain results (alongside an exercise routine). The rules are there to be broken with these other diets.
Yes they may get results quicker with diets but you’ll soon find you’ll be back to square one when the diet ‘ends’. This isn’t a destination, but a journey. This is a lifestyle change.
If you want strict rules here are some to follow;
- Make sure half your plate is taken up with vegetables (at every meal)
- Eat a serving of protein with every meal
- Drink 3 litres of water daily
- Exercise 3-4 times a week
- Get 10,000+ steps every day
- Sleep 7-9 hours a night
- Eat a small amount of processed carbs and fats
- Limit alcohol
If you stick to those you WILL get results. That’s the type of thing I coach in my online ‘Strong & Sexy Female Transformation Program’. Sign up here.