Now this is the question that plagues many of us for most of our lives. What is the best diet? Is there a diet which will always work? Many people and companies claim they have found a guaranteed way to lose weight but it really is a case of what works for one may not work for you; that’s the key here – you need to find something that works for YOU!! So what is the best diet?
What Is The Best Diet?
I’m sorry but there isn’t one. There are many different kinds of diets and believe me when I say I’ve tried many of them. At the end of the day most diets have almost the same basic equation ‘Eat less calories than you burn’. If you burn 2500 calories a day then eating 2000 will allow your body to burn stored fats which means you lose weight. Simple. Well Almost.
In this post I’m going to briefly summarise the most popular of diets with more in depth information coming in later posts.
Very Low Calorie Diets
Most of these kind of diets are marketed as meal replacements and offer you all your daily nutrients as set meals, for example shakes, soups and bars. They work by putting your body into ketosis and forcing it to burn the stored fat to keep working. You can try and go alone, eating meals you have made yourself but it’s very difficult to get all your basic nutrients into an eating plan like that.
They take a hell of a lot of determination and willpower, you should also consult your doctor before going on one of these diets; especially if you have a pre-existing medical problem.
This way of eating is rapidly gaining popularity in the health industry as a brilliant way to lose weight while still eating what you normally do. It comes with a range of names, fasting times etc but it’s ultimately eating for a certain period of time and then not consuming any calories (or minimal) during other times of the day. Some people fast for a full day twice a week whereas others will only eat during a specific time slot each day.
Weight Watchers and Slimming World
Both of these diet clubs offer their own way of monitoring what you eat and come with a range of plans, meals and naughty treat allowances. They focus around making sensible choices and motivation through public meetings (weighing yourself in front of others) though more recently they have online only memberships.
Eat 500 Less Calories/Burn 500 More Calories
This is probably one of the easiest methods as it simply involves eating 500 calories less and/or burning 500 calories more a day to create a calorie deficit. Obviously you will need to monitor your daily calorie intake for this using something like MyFitnessPal but it is probably the cheapest method to try.
Low Fat – Not As Good As You Think
There has been a lot of research recently discrediting the advice that eating lower fat products was healthy. The advice started around 30 years ago encouraging people to ditch the full fat milk and butter for “healthier” low fat semi-skimmed milk and butter-like spreads. A bit of good fat in your diet is actually good for you and there have been successful studies showing that switching to a low carb/high fat or protein diet is actually better for the waistline.
Diets that carry the “you should only do this for a week” or similar should always be avoided. They normally involve drastically changing your eating habits for a short period of time but are never healthy. Diets such as the egg and grapefruit diet, the baby food diet and recently the milk diet (drinking only milk and taking a multivitamin) should be avoided at all costs – at the end of the day, the “up to 14lbs” or whatever they claim to shed tends to just be water anyway.
What Should I Do?
When it comes to losing weight it’s easy enough for the professionals to just say eat a balanced diet and move more, but each person’s body is different and their body reacts differently. My husband for example, if he eats less calories then his weight doesn’t shift unless he does a VLCD and if he eats more (than normal) he sees great results. It’s trial and error but keep an eye out for things that look too good to be true or promise great results at a high cost – there are a few weight loss programs out there that flog their own products but they are usually poor quality and more expensive. There isn’t a “best diet” for all but you may find one that works best for you.
At the end of the day going on a diet implies a change for a limited time. What you need to be thinking about is a lifestyle change. Looking at what you eat, how much exercise you do and how you treat your body. Making smaller and permanent changes are going to give you the better results in the long term. Try to think about the good that will come from simply moving more or eating better, unprocessed whole foods.
What small change have you recently made that makes you feel better? What would be your tip to others who are looking at making a change?