You’ve found yourself carrying a few extra pounds/kilos that you don’t want. You’ve reached the day when you want to do something about it. The big question is going to be What is the best diet to lose weight and get healthy?
We’ve all been there at some time in our lives. The occasional slice of cake or a cookie or two doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
Unfortunately, over time these little treats add up, and before we know it, things aren´t looking too good on the weight front.
Even if you’re not too bothered by the weight gain, chances are that you’re not feeling your best.
Extra weight can make you feel slower and more tired.
If your extra weight is carried mainly on your belly (visceral fat) you could be putting yourself in line for a lot of health problems.
Inflammation is a major health concern and is implicated in many diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s and numerous other serious health problems.
Now you’re planning on setting some weight and health goals. The next thing you’ll want to consider is how to reach your goals in as little time as possible.
What is the best diet to lose weight?
The quick answer to this has to be any diet that you’re going to stick to long enough to reach all your goals.
In other words, even if nobody else thinks your new diet is great, if it works for you it’s better than doing nothing.
I don’t recommend some diets, but I’m not you.
It’s all about finding something you can work with. You could always change your diet plan once you’ve begun to see some results.
Can you lose weight more quickly on some diets?
Without a doubt, some diets work much faster than others.
This is normally to do with whether or not the diet plan takes into account the type of food you eat.
Diets that suggest reducing carbohydrates have been proven to be very much more effective for both weight loss and health goals.
This is because diets that depend just on counting calories make no distinction between the effect of 100 calories of carbohydrates and 100 calories of protein or fat.
When you eat carbs, especially simple carbs, your body responds by producing a surge of the hormone Insulin.
One of the jobs of insulin is to stabilize your blood sugar. This is necessary after a high carb meal.
Another job of insulin is to signal your body to store fat. Obviously this is not something that you want if you’re aiming to slim down.
To understand more about the different types of carbs read Make sure you’re eating the right carbs.
This article describes why the old calorie in / calorie out method of losing weight is wrong : stop counting calories – lose weight and gain control
So, when you’re choosing your diet, take into account the sort of foods that are allowed.
Does the diet suggest that you can eat anything as long as you keep below a certain amount of calories?
If it does, it is not taking into account how your body responds to different sorts of foods.
While it’s true that a calorie counted diet will help you to lose weight, these sorts of diets are not the easiest to stick to for very long.
You will probably be able to reduce your calories for a few weeks, but the chances are that you are going to spend a lot of time feeling hungry.
This is due to the fact that if you are continuing to eat a lot of carbs and simple carbs, your blood sugar is going to spike.
A spike in blood sugar will lead to a rise in insulin to keep your body’s blood sugar levels in the healthy range.
Once these insulin levels drop, this will produce the feeling of hunger. This is going to have you deep in your fridge even if you don’t actually need more food.
The other problem with calorie restricted diets is that they will lower your metabolic rate over time.
This means that when you stop the diet you may find that your weight ( and possibly more) comes back very quickly.
This is because your body has noted the lack of nutrients, and has responded by conserving energy where it can.
You would be more successful in the long term on a diet that does not cause a drop in metabolism.
Low carbohydrate diets.
If you are here you will have noticed that I am a fan of the keto diet. If you’re not too sure what the keto diet is, you can read about it in more detail here: What is the keto diet about
Briefly, the keto diet is a very low carb (below 20g net carbs) medium protein and high fat diet.
You reach the state of ketosis which occurs after you have been following this diet for a few days to a week.
Ketosis occurs when your body swaps from burning glucose for fuel to burning fat for its immediate energy needs.
This is why the keto diet is so successful at reducing weight in the shortest possible time.
Your body does not sense a lack of nutrients as it has more than enough of your stored fat to use for its energy needs.
Due to this fact, metabolism is not reduced as it can be on other types of diet.
This means that you are unlikely to reach the dreaded plateau stage of your diet where you stop losing weight.
You will also not see a rebound weight gain when you end the diet.
Further, ketosis has many health benefits too.
Many people have found that they feel so much more alert and energetic on the keto diet that they stay on it after they have reached their weight loss goals.
However, I have to say that the keto diet can be restrictive, and not everyone can keep their carbohydrates to below 20g net each day.
At this level it is necessary to cut out grains, flour, sugar, below ground vegetables and most fruits except berries.
If you are someone who would find this too big an ask, you should consider keto cycling, or a low carb diet.
With keto cycling, you stay on the keto diet for a week or two, and then move to either your normal diet, or to a low calorie diet.
For further information about this read keto cycle diet vs keto diet.
A low carb diet also restricts the amount of carbs you can eat, but the daily carb allowance is much more generous than the keto diet.
A low carb diet will help you lose weight, and is very much more effective than a calorie controlled diet.
However, you will not be getting all the health benefits of the keto diet.
So, what is the best diet to lose weight?
As has already been said, the best diet is one that you are going to stick to for long enough to lose all the extra weight that you’re carrying.
You will need to be honest with yourself about how strong willed you are, and how motivated you are.
Obviously it’s going to be easier for you to stay on a diet if you have health issues as well as just being overweight.
The keto diet can control or reverse many health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
It can also help to stabilize your mood due to the fact that you will not be suffering from the highs and lows of fluctuating levels of blood sugar.
You will also need to consider how you are around carbohydrates.
Are you the sort of person who can eat just one or two cookies? Or are you that person who won’t be able to relax until the whole packet is gone.
If you can take or leave carbs, a low carb diet may work well for you. You’ll still be able to have the occasional cake or cookie, without having to completely eliminate these sorts of food.
You will also be able to eat a wider range of fruits and vegetables.
If you know that just one bite of a carb turns you into a sugar eating beast, the keto diet would probably be easier in the long term.
When carbs are almost completely eliminated, and simple carbs off the menu altogether, you will find that your cravings for these types of food decreases with time.
The keto diets high fat allowance will keep you feeling full and will help to keep you and your mind off that pie.
You will need to spend some time learning about the keto diet as it does require careful balance of nutrients to remain a healthy diet.
Your third option for a successful diet would be to do the keto diet, but every one or two weeks, take a few days off.
During your “off ” days you could enjoy the sort of carbs that you’ve been missing.
Over time, you will find that you’re less likely to over indulge on your days off as you will notice that you feel better on your keto days.
The real trick to successful dieting is down to three things:
- Know yourself: be honest about your levels of willpower and ability to take or leave carbs
- Set yourself realistic goals and be patient. No diet should be that quick. Aim for no more that a 2lb/1 kilo loss each week
- Choose the diet that is right for you, don’t be pressured into a diet that doesn’t suit you.
The take home message
Think about how certain foods effect your body, and which ones are going to be the easiest for you to reduce or eliminate.
Set yourself realistic weight and health goals, and be patient about getting the results.
It’s always better to lose weight slowly and steadily.
Too rapid weight loss will probably make you feel tired, and it’s more than likely that you won’t be getting the right amount of nutrients.
You are more suseptible to ditching a severe diet over one that you can fit in around your work and social life.
Choose a diet that you feel good about, and go easy on yourself.
If you do fall off the diet wagon from time to time don’t worry. Just start again the next day.
With perseverence and patience, you will soon be reaching all your weight loss goals.
These articles may also interest you: