Take a walk through the “diet” section of any book store, or google “diet”. The list of fad diets and diet recommendations is immense, overwhelming, and in my professional opinion: SCARY. With restrictions and eliminations of certain foods and even entire food groups, sustaining most of these “diets” is not realistic or healthy. But, they aren’t all bad! Here are my top-5 diet plans that help jump-start weight loss, teach portion control, eliminate elimination, and show us that we can eat our favorite foods and still have a healthy life!
1) Weight Watchers: This plan is a perfect transition to a healthy lifestyle. Dieters literally eat whatever they want; BUT, the portion sizes and “points” are determined based on Calories. Since weight management is all about Calories, the plan teaches dieters where calories come from and how to balance Calories so that they can eat the foods they love in a smart way.
2) Flexitarian Diet: This plan focuses on plant foods and encourages a mostly vegetarian lifestyle with occasional meat, poultry and fish. The plan provides a 5-week eating plan with recipes and substitution ideas. This is a great way to realize that there are yummy vegetarian meal ideas and that meat fits into a healthy lifestyle in moderation. Rather than focusing on foods to avoid, this diet emphasizes foods to include more of to prevent us from feeling deprived.
3)Zone Diet: The ideas here is balancing nutrients (40% carb, 30% protein, 30% fat). Portion sizes are determined based on how much fat, protein, and/or carbohydrate they have. Counting and measuring is tedious; but if you follow this closely for a few weeks, you can retrain your mind to the point where it will become a habit to portion foods appropriately.
4) Biggest Loser Diet: The focus is “nutrient dense” foods and ensuring that anything we eat will give something to the body. The pyramid plan recommends daily servings from each food group, and can be individualized based on personal goals and risk factors for diseases. This plan teaches portion control and trains us to choose foods that provide a variety of benefits, focusing mostly on plant-based foods.
5)Special K Diet: This is a JUMP-START! For those who need motivation, this 1-2 week diet plan includes nutrients from all food groups and teaches the body to tolerate smaller portions, while allowing dieters the freedom to choose one meal each day. Again, this is just a jump-start! I tried this and lost 6 lbs in 2 weeks (leading to 25 lb weight loss in 6 months) while also controlling my blood sugar, which is tricky with most fad diets because of carbohydrate-restriction.
**NOTE: jump-start diets are a great way to get excited and see quick results (SHORT TERM). As long as the plans are not maintained longer than 1-2 weeks and are followed up by a healthy eating plan, go ahead and give one a try! Let me know what you tried, how it worked, and if you would recommend the “jump-start” diet plan.