If you are looking to loss weight, you don’t have to look far to find “the fastest weight loss secret, the healthiest, or the best tasting diet around,” all of which guarantee fast long-lasting results. Luckily, consumers are slowly starting to get savvy to these diet gimmicks, tricks, and promises. They are starting to learn that the traditional “diet” isn’t very effective – at least not in the long scheme of things. How many people do you know that went on the latest fad diet, drastically decreasing their caloric intake and losing a ton of weight, only to gain all the weight back plus more as soon as they ended the “diet.”
So…if the traditional “diet” or latest fad doesn’t really work, and you are still looking to lose weight, what should you do? You know that you need some structure, “just eating healthier” hasn’t worked, and you don’t have the budget to hire a personal chef. You have done a little bit of research and found some “diets” that promote whole foods including lots of fruits and vegetables, portion control, and lifestyle changes – some of them include; Paleo, Vegan, Weight Watchers, The Zone, etc… so it still lends the question of which diet is best?
The answer to that question is…it depends. Is that ambiguous enough for you? One of the questions I get all.the.time, since sharing My Story, is what foods did you eliminate from your diet? I get this question through this blog, and when I have presented to a group (i.e. at a corporate lunch and learn) it is always one of the first questions asked. The answer I give is the only foods I completely eliminated are artificial sweeteners and trans fats, other foods I eat very rarely are processed foods (especially processed sugar) and deep fried foods. I also rarely eat dairy (except yogurt) and red meat, but that is because of personal preference, not because of dieting “rules.” I really try to put more of an emphasis on the foods I added to my diet rather than eliminated. Which was way more vegetables and healthy fats…so does that mean I am against “diets” that eliminate certain foods (i.e. vegan or paleo diets). The answer is no, I am for diets or lifestyles that promote lots of fruits, vegetables, and plant based healthy fats.
If you are looking into a more structured diet to help you lose weight, the first thing to look at is, does this diet promote lots of fruit, vegetables, plant based healthy fats, and whole food (i.e. no processed foods). If yes, then determine which lifestyle would work better for you. Do you love meat and are not willing to give it up? The Paleo diet might be a good option for you…BUT it is so important to remember, your diet should still be based on fruits and vegetables. A Paleo diet consisting of a large steak with a side of bacon will not do you any favors. However, a dinner plate piled with roasted vegetables with a side of sirloin steak is healthy option that will get you closer to your weight loss goals – please keep in mind that the majority of that dinner plate was the roasted veggies. Conversely, if you don’t care for animal products, then the vegan diet might be a good option…BUT once again it needs to be based on fruits and vegetables. A dinner plate full of vegan white bread and white pasta topped with a vegan sauce is not going to get you very far either. But, once again, a dinner plate with a slice of whole grain vegan bread topped with hummus, lots of veggies, and avocado is a healthy option and will help you reach your healthy living goals.
In conclusion, your diet should be based around fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole foods. The rest of the details are personal preference. I choose not to follow a vegan or paleo diet, but I like to make sure I get a little bit of protein at each of my meals, including snacks. Eating protein at every meal does not make me healthier than someone who does not, it is just a personal preference. However, eating fresh fruits or vegetables at every meal does make me healthier than those who do not eat them – make sense.
I did a lot of research after I had my second baby, and read a lot of books. I have created a resource page with some of the books that I thought were worth reading. Each one of these books have their own eating philosphies. I actually really liked reading through all the philosophies, and then coming up with something that works for me. If you have any questions about any of the books, please feel free to contact me. I am happy to provide my thoughts.
I would also like to add – if your budget allows, hiring a health coach can be extremely helpful, especially if you are working toward specific goals (i.e. weight loss). I hired a health coach, and I highly recommend it.