WEIGHT LOSS DIET PLANS TO GO FOR
Diets aren’t just for weight loss. While changing your diet and managing your habits can be one way to get into the weight loss cycle, focusing on health, leading a healthy and more active lifestyle is more important than anything else.
Yet, the sheer number of plans available may make it difficult to choose. Which will be more suitable? Sustainable? Effective?
Some diets claim to curb your appetite to reduce food intake, while others suggest restricting your calories only, whereas some others say all of that isn’t needed!
At Nourish with SIM we look at diet strategies based on a person's requirement. Reboot following the Flexible eating diet strategy to target weight management while the Nourish 1-to-1 coaching can use multiple different strategies to include health and lifestyle issues and goals.
Here are some diet plans that go beyond weight loss and help you in a holistic manner.
Mediterranean diet - this has been considered a good diet to follow for a long time. This diet focuses on nutrition, disease prevention, wellness and longevity. This diet is based on foods that people in countries like Greece have traditionally eaten. You are asked to add vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, nuts, oils, lentils, and olive oil. Eggs, poultry, and dairy products are said to be eaten in moderation. Overall, letting you add all the food groups and taking healthy eating into account.
Verdict - this diet is based on having all food groups, portion of which can be as per your body type, wellness and a lot of other factors. This diet promotes nutrition, wellness and disease prevention, thus it isn’t a bad choice to go for this with inputs from your nutritionist. Though it is not a weight loss plan, it can promote weight loss and overall health.
The DASH diet - “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” or DASH, is an eating plan designed to help people who have hypertension. It helps lower blood pressure and treat it.
It emphasizes having a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat. It advises low salt, red meat, added sugars and fat.
While this diet was not designed for weight loss, many people report it to be helping with weight loss too. How much to eat, the number of servings depends on your daily calorie intake.
This diet helps reduce blood pressure, helps fight several heart risk factors, and also lowers the risk of breast and colorectal cancer.
But there is also mixed evidence with regards to low salt. A low sodium diet isn’t for everyone. It is more appropriate for individuals with hypertension or other health conditions that benefit from or require you to cut down salt.
Verdict - though this diet is a good, healthy approach and allows you to not restrict any food, the restriction of salt on this diet has mixed results. Overall, this diet is good for blood pressure, helps fight several heart risk factors, and also lowers the risk of breast and colorectal cancer.
Things to avoid on a DASH diet - Chocolates, cookies, salted nuts, sodas, sugary beverages, pastries, packed chips, etc.
Focus on - fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans and nuts, whole grains, vegetables, fruits. Also make sure you get enough salt intake if you do not have any blood pressure troubles.
Plant-based and flexitarian diet - Vegetarianism and veganism are the most common popular versions of plant-based diets. These diets restrict animal consumption for reasons like health, ethics or environmental reasons.
There is also a flexitarian diet that allows animal products in moderation. Which means it does not expect to largely change your food habits but accommodates what you believe in. So this becomes a lifestyle rather than just a diet.
This diet reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases including improved markers of metabolic rate, decreased blood pressure and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. They can also help you lose weight.
Verdict - if you change your way of eating for the diet only, it could sometimes feel restricting and difficult to maintain. If your eating habits have been the same throughout, this diet, with portion sizes and understanding from your nutritionist will help you achieve your health goal.
If you decide to follow this diet, make sure you get your Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 levels.
The MIND diet - “Mediterranean - DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet combines aspects of mediterranean and DASH diets. This is a type of flexitarian diet that does NOT have a strict plan but instead encourages eating specific foods with brain health benefits.
It adds green leafy veggies, non-starchy veggies, nuts, beans, berries, whole grains, fish and poultry.
This diet reduces risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, it also improves cognition. Plus weight loss is an added advantage.
Verdict - the MIND combines the best of two diets, and helps with the prevention of a lot of diseases. It also does not follow any restrictive diet plan or menu plans which gives you the room to explore, learn and have fun with the diet.
Flexible eating - flexible diet plans are devices keeping “sensible” theory in mind. It promotes the notion “no foods are bad foods” and allows you to choose any foods, as long as it fits in your macro split for the day. This is popular due to its adaptable nature. You can indulge in your favorite meals, be it pizza or burger or chocolate cake while NOT hampering your plan! Isn’t that crazy?!
But while you can eat however you like, taking expert advice on it to understand HOW to do it is important. Food is not only made up of calories but nutrients too. Just so you do not miss out on any, you might need an expert to help you calculate them and help you manage your portion sizes. Yes! That is the real deal!
Verdict - The best in town! Let's you pick YOUR food. No restricted menus, no calorie counting to the last bit! But it is easy to follow, flexible, fits YOUR lifestyle, keeps the lost weight away for the longest time, no foods are ‘bad-foods’, give you the freedom to enjoy your meals the way you want them!
If you have been following us, you know we promote only flexible eating and do not believe in giving restricted plans. Let’s be real, restrictive menu plans don’t work! You do not want someone to decide what you will eat on a particular day. Enjoy the meals you like! However you like. We are here to help you understand the HOW TO DO IT part. Leave the worry to us! :)
Weight and the problems that arise with this is no secret at all. Being in the right weight range is okay but to feel and be healthy from within is what is most important. Even while on a plan, there are chances you might not see any changes in weight. Let’s look at some of the reasons it could be -
- Some diets can cause your metabolism to take a hit. Yes, you need to be in a calorie deficit (that is burn more calories than you consume) but eating few calories will not solve the problem. That just creates a wreck in the metabolism aspect! Certain studies have also seen that people who have been on a low calorie diet, lose weight SLOWER. The idea is that when you severely restrict calories, your body overcompensates by slowing down the metabolism and saving up those calories too.
- Strict diets mess with your hunger cues. A good amount of time you are on a “diet” you devote the time ignoring or suppressing your hunger. In the long run, this makes you less responsive to your natural hunger cues, which makes it hard to listen to your body and regulate it. It also puts you at a risk of emotional eating, eating out of boredom and more vulnerable to environmental cues that tell you to eat more or less than what your body actually wants.
- The weight loss you experience on a “diet” is temporary. One of the biggest problems with diets is that it isn’t a sustainable solution. It’s a familiar story - you do a “in-trend” diet plan, you lose 15 kgs. You are psyched. You go back to normal eating and then weight creeps back on. Without realizing, who do you blame? Yourself, for not being able to maintain an otherwise toxic plan. This puts you under a lot of stress, more than required. Also your mental health takes a hit.
- Some diets demonize certain foods (in potentially unhealthy ways). Thinking of food as the enemy takes away the pleasure out of an activity that should be pleasurable. It can also lead to disordered eating behaviors. Even diets that are marketed as healthy or wellness-focused could fairly be wrong. Instead of labeling food “good” or “off limits”, let yourself enjoy what you eat and learn how to moderate it rather than remove it.
- Stress related to diet can cause overeating. If you have been on restrictive plans, you will know it is not a good feeling. You see the food you love and then stop yourself from eating it just because “it is not on the plan”. This increases the stress hormone cortisol, causes your insulin to rise and blood sugar to drop, making you crave sugar, fatty foods or carbohydrate rich foods.
What to do instead?
Some basic things to follow are-
- Eat mindfully. Do research on what the plan you are on asks you to do. Do they restrict your favorite foods? Do you not “allow” you to have them? If you said yes, that plan isn’t good for you. There is more about this in my previous article, go ahead and read that too.
- Cooking your meals how you like them. This way you know what is exactly in it, how much and for long it has been stored. This solves many issues.
- Stay hydrated. Water is the best thing for health and using it to your advantage will keep you away from the not-so-great-beverages.
- Read the labels for ingredients you have to buy, not calories. Just because intense calorie restriction isn’t required, doesn’t mean you do not look for ingredients on the packs you buy. You could find a product that says a minimum of say 100 calories per serving but has a whopping 10 grams of sugar in one serving! Reading the labels before buying is the trick!
- Get enough sleep. If you give yourself rest and time to recover, you will do good on your plan anyways. Not having enough sleep has shown to cause increased hunger and cravings, as well as weight gain by messing with levels of hormones ghrelin and leptin.
- Stop drinking calories. Taking alcohol, sugary drinks on a regular basis adds all the calories back to your day that you had restricted by food. Thus not helping yourself create a deficit.
- Allow yourself to snack. When you eat small but frequent meals, you are less likely to be ravenous at traditional meal times. But a “snack” means healthy options. Don’t munch on junk and wreck your healthy plan.