The Diet for Weight Loss Is… (The Diet You Stick To)
Diet. Kind of an unpleasant word, right? Losing weight and eating better has been on the agenda all year long, but with hundreds of diets and nutrition fads (and alarming/trending Netflix documentaries), how is anyone supposed to know which one is right for you?
First, let’s define “diet”. We’re not talking a month or two of eating a certain way. After all, a “diet” is really anything we eat. What we’re really talking about here is the nutritional approach to fueling our bodies and goals.
So here’s the truth- the diet that’s best for you is the one that will supply you with the nutrition you need in a way that’s long term sustainable AND takes YOUR needs into consideration. After all, we’re all unique (allergies, energy needs, overall health, etc.) and our bodies may respond to different dietary approaches differently.
But knowledge is power and we’re here to help, if a little bit, with a little introduction to some of the more popular dietary approaches out there right now:
The Paleo diet is a “primitive” eating approach that focuses on real, whole, nutrient-dense foods that were eaten by our hunter/gatherer ancestors. The theory is that our bodies respond best to the foods our early relatives were conditioned to eat. Namely, plants and meat. This of course does not leave room for processed foods, grains, dairy, and sugars. The Paleo diet requires discipline and attention to detail in avoiding basic foods you may have consumed for years, including fruit. You can expect to eat more fresh food with this diet as well as getting plenty of iron with the consumption of more red meat. Word to the wise: Some people experience lethargy, fatigue, irritability and shakiness when first eliminating starches, grains and legumes from their diet. The low-carb flu symptoms a few practitioners experience when they kick things off usually last at most three to four weeks. You can reduce the low-carb flu effect by gradually lowering your carbohydrate consumption, instead of going cold turkey on your diet overhaul.
This one sounds the scariest right? We’ve all known… a Vegan. But what exactly are they up to?
This diet consists of only plant-based foods. Vegans don’t eat any animals or animal products including flesh, milk, eggs, or honey (as opposed to vegetarianism which allows foods animals produce- but not the animals themselves). The Vegan nutritional plan also doesn’t use any products that have been made from animals. Going Vegan can help lower blood sugar levels, help you lose weight, and decrease the risk of heart disease. However, with less protein consumption you may feel like you have less energy. As well, it’s important to find alternative sources for iron if you’re anemic. Your biggest hurdle with this diet might be the criticism from the haters ;).
Brace yourself: it’s high fats! The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Sound familiar? The Atkins diet follows very similar guidelines. Reducing your carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat can help your body burn fat for energy. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis (natural metabolic state). To go into ketosis, you need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day and sometimes as little as 20 grams per day. You will need to axe some food items from your diet like grains, candy and soft drinks. RIP Diet Coke. Say hello to good cholesterol and lots of meats!
Flexible Dieting (IIFYM- If It Fits Your Macros)
This diet is focused mostly on macronutrients. Macronutrients are molecules that your body use to create energy: fat, protein and carbs. You know, all those numbers measured in grams (g) on the nutrition labels. So, if there is an allotted amount of fats, proteins, or carbs you can have per day in order to reach your weight loss goals, you can get creative with the types of foods you consume to meet that goal without worrying about restricting much more than calories- not certain foods all together. This is appealing to some who want to use their macros on some of their favorite things while happily forsaking other items. It’s a give and take method to enjoy all of the food you already consume and embraces the idea of “moderation”.
Ultimately the best diet for you is something that works with you body type, cooking schedule, and budget. It’s important to remember that diets are meant to be followed if you expect results. And if you’re looking for results, you’ve got to know your starting place and goals! Visit your local Kubex to discover your personal nutritional requirements and measure up for your starting point with a Body Scan.
When it all comes down it, partial compliance or any combination of multiple diets won’t guarantee any real changes. So why not commit? Pick your nutritional plan, bone up on your research and give it a shot!
After all, abs are earned in the kitchen!