Dieting. Everyone I know is either on a diet right now or is planning to get on a diet on Monday, the 1st of the month or after/before the Holidays. You gotta eat all the candy before going on a best diet, right?
If you are a woman, there is a 99.9999% chance you have been on a diet. If you are a man, the chance is smaller but it is still there.
Our world is obsessed with new diets.
How many do you know? There are hundred of diets out there, and there are two things they have in common.
- Goal – help you lose weight by restricting your food choices
- Effect – short term results.
I am not trying to say that diets don’t work. Yes, they do work while you are ON THEM. But what happens when you go on vacation or have a camping trip or are simply tired of the restrictions? You “get off the wagon” and gain the weight back, and, in most cases, gain even a little more.
That is not the result you want to see, right? Our biggest dream is to eat all the pizza and never gain weight, but unfortunately there is NO diet like that.
I want to go over a few very popular diets and explain their pros and cons, so you can decide if any of them can be a good choice for you. And if you want my opinion on the BEST diet, then read till the end.
There are a ton of low-carb diets, and they are all similar in their rules: reduce your intake of carbohydrates. Some of them are called ketogenic diet which is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. In medicine it is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures (Wikipedia).
- Can help you lose weight quickly
- Usually doesn’t leave you feeling starving all the time because proteins and fats keep you fuller longer
- Can lower blood sugar levels (helpful for diabetics)
- Food is not expensive
- Adaptation period can last up to 3 weeks
- Requires additional food planning if you like to eat out
- Can cause side effects such as constipation, painful period cramps, increased cholesterol levels
- Requires additional supplementation to maintain vitamin/mineral levels in your body since you do not receive enough of them through your food
- Might leave you feeling fatigue due to lack of carbohydrates (which provide you with quick energy)
- Might prevent you from being able to participate in intense sports/fitness activities
- Causes intense cravings which are hard to resist if you are faced with foods you crave on a daily basis (for example, if your family still eats carbs while you are on a keto diet, it is very hard to say no to the foods you are so used to be eating)
- Hard to maintain for a long period of time
Diet is called low-fat if your fat intake is lower than 25% of your total daily food intake.
- Helps you maintain constant cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease (in some cases)
- Helps you maintain good energy levels due to higher intake of carbohydrates
- Might help you lose weight quickly by eliminating foods high in fats
- When you try to eat foods lower in fat, you might find yourself eating more processed foods. Fat is what makes foods taste better and in order to compensate for the lack of flavor people tend to increase their sugar and processed foods intake. Lots of low-fat or fat-free foods are high in sugar, starch and other additives which makes the foods taste better
- You can lose some important vitamins by lowering your fat intake, and fats are responsible for the health of your hair, nails, heart, brain, reproductive organs and more. Many women lose their periods when follow a low-fat diet
- Fats keep you stay fuller longer, and when you follow a low-fat diet, you might find yourself hungry more frequently throughout the day.
- Causes intense cravings for sugar (especially chocolate) , salt and fried foods
- Hard to maintain for a long period of time
CALCULATING POINTS (CALORIES OR MACRONUTRIENTS)
When on this type of a diet, you can choose any foods you like to eat as long as they fit into your personal daily point (calorie or macronutrient) amount.Each food has a certain amount of points (or can be broken down into calories or macronutrients) which add up by the end of each day.
- It creates a feeling of freedom – you can eat anything you like as long as it fits into your daily budget
- The adaptation period is very short
- Easy to track and count considering you have the necessary tools and are willing to allow some time to get used to counting.
- Helps you lose weight (as long as you burn more calories than you consume) on a weekly basis
- For some people the task of weighing, counting and tracking is time consuming and creates the opposite effect: effect of restriction rather than an effect of freedom due to the need of weighing/counting every food they consume throughout the day
- Due to the opportunity to choose any foods as long as they fit into the daily budget, people tend to choose desserts, alcohol, processed foods and other not-so-healthy foods, which causes vitamin/mineral deficiency in the body, may cause lack of energy, constipation, digestion problems and other side effects.
Now to the BEST diet in my opinion
I do not like restrictions – they simply don’t work for me. I cannot do low-fat or low-carb. I will not calculate points. However, calculating calories and macronutrients, in my opinion, is the best way to lose weight, and it has been proven many times.
Flexible dieting has become very popular in the past few years because of the simplicity and the freedom in food choices. When you know that you can have pizza pretty much any time you like, you won’t crave it like crazy.
When you want to share a pizza with your kids – you can. Just make sure you calculate the macros.
If you want to have a drink with a friend – go ahead. Just make sure you count the carbohydrate macros and remove them from your daily allowance.
But on a daily basis, make sure you get a lot of vegetables into your body because they provide you with necessary vitamins and minerals. Make sure you keep your proteins lean so you don’t have to remove peanut butter from your diet. Make sure you are careful with salad dressings because they can have more calories than your entire salad.
It really doesn’t have to be hard. Eat the foods you enjoy, have fun with family and friends, go out but don’t go crazy. Food is food, and its purpose is to fuel our bodies with the energy we need to keep up with our lives, to stay active, to play with kids, to walk the dog. And energy comes from all kinds of foods, so eat them all.
It is worth mentioning that it is very hard to track EVERY SINGLE gram of food, so don’t be too stressed out if you are over or under on one (or all) of your macros. As long as you keep seeing consistent weight loss progress, you are doing an amazing job.
P.S. If you need help calculating your calorie/macronutrient intake, I can help you with that. Stop by the studio any time or email me at email@example.com, and we can get that done for you in no time!