One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make in terms of ongoing health and fitness is what the best eating plan to lose weight is for you. There are SO MANY eating plans to choose from. How do you know what works and what doesn’t? And more importantly, which one are you likely to stick with for the long term?
New food fads pop up all the time. It can be really tempting to jump on yet another diet band wagon. Let’s narrow the options down to eating plans that you’re interested in learning about, especially if your goal is to lose weight. There are so many to choose from, it can be really confusing in terms of what actually works and what doesn’t. And with new fads appearing all the time, it can be tempting to jump on yet another diet bandwagon.
But let’s keep things simple and narrow the eating plan options down to proven options that will work for both weight loss and overall health.
Counting calories probably what you’re most familiar with and is the most common way to lose weight or maintain it. It does require a database of the caloric values of foods and a calculator or pen and paper. A food diary to keep track of exactly what you eat will also help. You simply calculate the calorie counts for your favorite recipes and stick to reasonable portion sizes.
The recommended daily allowance of calories for men is 2,500, and for women, 2,000. This is assuming that the person is pretty active. For those of us who work at a desk every day and love the TV at night, 2,000 and 1,600 might be better options.
For this method, simply cut calories and increase exercise. You should see a slow, consistent weight loss.
Atkins is probably the original one of most famous of the low carb diets, with almost 50 years of results behind it. The theory is that carb calories make us fatter because they tend to get stored rather than burned, particularly as the dreaded belly fat. The Atkins induction program allows only 20 grams of carbs per day for the first 2 weeks, about 40 for stage 2 and about 60 to 80 for the maintenance phase, to help you keep off the weight you have lost.
To put these numbers into perspective, the average American eats a whopping average of 300 grams of carbs per day. Atkins is a pretty radical diet that will involve a good deal of counting to begin with. The advantage is that you can lose 10 to 20 pounds very quickly because of the significant changes in the chemical makeup of your body when you cut carbs. There are also lots of free resources online to help you.
Use a food diary to keep track.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is modeled on the diet of the people in Italy, Greece, and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Their diet is made up of small portions of an average of 60 different foods each day. The foods are mainly fruits, vegetables, 3 portions of fish per week, and high-quality olive oil.
The Keto Diet
The Keto Diet is red hot right now. Keto is short for ketogenic. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that is designed to provide rapid weight loss. Instead of counting calories, you count carbs. This is similar to the Atkins low carb diet, with some important differences. Simply put, the word ketogenic refers to the act of putting your body in the state of ketogenesis, the production of ketone bodies in the bloodstream. Ketones are the result of the breakdown of fat in the body.
The body normally gets its energy from carbohydrates. However, if you switch to low carb and eat only protein and fat, your body will have no choice but to start using the fat in your food or your body to get its fuel, and thus you will lose weight.
The Paleo Diet
Paleo is a lifestyle that involves eating whole, real, natural food and avoiding processed foods. The basic theory is that humans have only been eating the way we do now for about 10,000 years. Before that, people ate in a Paleo manner for a very, very long time…some estimates indicate more than two million years. In other words, humans and their bodies are meant to eat those foods that we used to eat, and not the highly processed, grain- based foods and sugar that only came into our diets most recently.
So, the Paleo diet aims to bring back those whole, real foods and to eliminate processed foods, sugar, refined sugar, grains, and hydrogenated vegetable oils that do nothing positive for our health and well-being.
So What’s the Best Eating Plan to Lose Weight?
There is no one right answer. Weight loss is a very individual thing. We’re all different, with varying physical needs and levels of activity. Some might have autoimmune conditions or other chronic illness which means restricting some foods. Some might appreciate the structure and organization of a group like Weight Watchers.
For me, after decades of yo-yo dieting and trying everything under the sun, I’ve finally settled in with Trim Healthy Mama for the past few years. Simply put, it’s more of a controlled carb food plan. It does have a learning curve but I didn’t really have trouble with that and I’ve lost 35 lbs, even being over 50! My blood work is generally very good, my blood pressure is normal and the dystonia pain has significantly reduced from less inflammation.
I hope this gives you some basic insight on the various eating plans out there! Do your homework and find what’s right for you.
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