What is the best diet for healthy weight loss?
Pick any diet book and it’ll claim to hold all the answers to successfully losing all of the weight you want–and keeping it off. Some claim the important thing is to eat less and exercise more, others that low fat is the only way to go, but others prescribe cutting out carbs. So, what should you think?
The truth is that there is no”one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s ideal for you will likely take time and require patience, dedication, and some experimentation with various foods and diets.
Getting free to simply avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbohydrates can set them up for success. Therefore, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for someone else does not work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. In the end, a diet is simply right for you if it is one you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there is no simple fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb psychological triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss plans
1. Cut calories Some experts feel that successfully managing your weight comes down to a simple equation: If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. Sounds simple, right? Then why is losing weight so hard?
Losing weight isn’t a linear event with time. When you cut calories, you might drop weight for the first couple of weeks, for example, and then something changes. You eat the same amount of calories but you lose weight or no weight at all. That’s because once you shed weight you’re losing water and lean tissue in addition to fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. So, so as to keep on dropping weight every week, you need to keep on cutting calories.
A calorie isn’t always a calorie. Eating 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup, for instance, may have a different effect on your body than eating 100 calories of broccoli. The trick for sustained weight loss is to ditch the foods that are packed with carbs but do not make you feel complete (like candy) and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with calories (like vegetables).
A lot of us don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. In addition, we turn to food for comfort or to alleviate stress–which can quickly derail any weight loss program.
2. Cut carbs A different means of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but instead the way in which the body accumulates fat after consuming carbs –specifically the use of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the meals enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body burns off this sugar before it burns off fat from a meal.
If you consume a carbohydrate-rich meal (lots of pasta, rice, bread, or French fries, for instance ), your body releases insulin to help with the influx of this glucose into your blood. As well as regulating blood glucose levels, insulin does two things: It prevents your fat cells from releasing fat for the body to burn as fuel (because its priority is to burn off the sugar ) and it generates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can not burn off. The result is that you gain weight and your body now requires more fuel to burn, so you eat more. Since insulin only burns carbohydrates, you crave carbs and so begins a vicious cycle of consuming carbohydrates and gaining weight. To lose weight, the reasoning goes, you need to break this cycle by reducing carbs.
Most low-carb diets advocate replacing carbs with protein and fat, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. Should you attempt a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your consumption of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating loads of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Cut fat It’s a mainstay of many diets: if you do not want to get fat, do not eat fat. Walk down any grocery store aisle and you will be bombarded with reduced-fat snacks, dairy, and packed meals. But while our low carb options have exploded, so have obesity rates. So, why haven’t low-fat diets worked for more people?
Healthy or”good” fats can actually help to control your weight, as well as manage your moods and combat fatigue. Unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, tofu, and fatty fish can help fill you up, while adding a small tasty olive oil to a plate of vegetables, as an instance, can make it easier to eat healthy food and improve the overall quality of your diet.
Many people make the mistake of swapping fat to the empty calories of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Rather than eating whole-fat yoghurt, for example, we eat low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor. We swap our fatty breakfast bacon to get a muffin or donut that causes rapid spikes in blood sugar.
4. Adhere to the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs along with large amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, nuts, and olive oil–and only modest amounts of meat and cheese. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others will also be major elements.
Whatever weight loss plan you try, it is important to stay motivated and avoid common dieting drawbacks, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat only to satisfy hunger. Frequently, we turn to food when we’re anxious or stressed, which can wreck any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you are tired, tired, or lonely? Do you snack in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make a big difference in your weight-loss attempts. If you eat when you are:
Low on energy — locate other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or taking a brief nap.
Lonely or bored — reach out to others rather than reaching for the refrigerator. Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or visit the library, mall, or park–anywhere there’s people.
Practice mindful eating instead
It is too easy to overeat.
Pay attention. Eat slowly, savoring the scents and textures of your food. If your mind wanders, gently return your attention to your food and how it tastes.
Mix things up to focus on the experience of eating. Try using chopsticks as opposed to a fork, or use your utensils with your non-dominant hand.
Stop eating before you’re full. It takes time for the signal to reach your brain that you’ve had enough.
Permanent weight loss requires making healthy changes to your lifestyle and food choices. To stay motivated:
Find a cheering section. Social support means a lot. Apps like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers use group support to affect weight loss and lifelong healthy eating. Seek out support–whether in the kind of family, friends, or a support group–to find the encouragement you need.
Slow and steady wins the race. Losing weight too quickly can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and sick. Aim to lose one or two pounds a week so you’re losing fat rather than water and muscle.
Short-term objectives, like needing to fit into a bikini for the summer, usually do not work as well as needing to feel more confident or become healthier for your children’s sakes. When temptation strikes, focus on the benefits you’ll reap from being healthier.
Use tools to track your progress. Smartphone programs, fitness trackers, or simply keeping a journal can help you keep an eye on the food you eat, the calories you burn, and the weight you lose. Seeing the results in black and white will help keep you motivated.
Get a lot of sleep. Deficiency of sleep stimulates your appetite so you would like more food than normal; at precisely the exact same time, it stops you feeling satisfied, making you want to keep eating. Sleep deprivation may also affect your motivation, so aim for eight hours of quality sleep per night.
You might have heard the widely quoted statistic that 95% of individuals who lose weight on a diet will regain it in just a couple of years–or even months. Even though there isn’t much hard evidence to support that claim, it is true that lots of weight-loss programs fail in the long term. Often that’s simply because diets that are too restrictive are very hard to keep over time. However, that does not mean your weight loss efforts are doomed to failure. Far from it.
Since it was created in 1994, The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) in the United States, has monitored over 10,000 people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long intervals. The study has found that participants who’ve been successful in maintaining their weight loss share some common strategies. Whatever diet you use to lose weight in the first place, adopting these habits may help you to keep it off:
Successful dieters in the NWCR study exercise for around 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat every day will help to keep you motivated and accountable.
Eat breakfast every day. Most commonly in the study, it’s cereal and fruit.
Eat more fiber and less unhealthy fat than the typical American diet.
Regularly check the scale. Weighing yourself weekly may enable you to detect any small gains in weight, helping you to immediately take corrective action before the problem escalates.
Watch less television. Cutting back on the time spent sitting in front of a screen may be an integral part of adopting a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.