How To Choose Your Diet
Dieting sucks, but it doesn't have to suck that bad. If you choose a diet that matches your lifestyle and your goals, you will have a lot easier time sticking to the diet, and getting real results.
I was a naturally-thin person for years. I didn't have to think about what I ate. But an injury that took me off my feet for months, plus age catching up to me, caused me to gain twenty pounds, and boy oh boy, that weight just would not come off no matter what I did.
I have gained a new respect for dieters, especially those looking to lose triple-digits. It was so hard for me to lose those twenty pounds. Five came off relatively easily--pretty much as soon as I got back to walking around again. But those other fifteen, man they were stubborn. It seems no matter what I tried, I could not get that scale to budge.
It's okay to fail at a diet. If you're miserable all the time, if your bank account is going into the negative, it's okay to say hey, this particular diet doesn't work for me. Let's try another one. That's what I've set out to do--to showcase some of the popular diets, and show their advantages and disadvantages.
Love Meat and Hate Money?
If the idea of giving up steaks, bacon, and fancy cheese makes you wanna die, the Keto diet might be for you. Keto dieters curb their carbs and get all their energy from fats (and, let’s be honest, tons and tons of coffee).
- You can eat all the steak, bacon, cheese, and of course, avocados you want.
- Crossfitters, this is the diet for you. If you thought bragging about Crossfit was great, think of what it'll be like to brag about being on Crossfit and Keto.
- This strict diet can yield dramatic results.
- Hope you don’t like BBQ sauce with your meat. Sweets are all but verboten. Even some perfectly-healthy veggies, like carrots, are a no-go on this strict diet.
- Be prepared for the adjustment period known as the “keto flu”. You can guess what that’s like.
- No cheating, no cheating, and did I mention, no cheating? Since you’re forcing your body to change it’s entire metabolic process, you can’t really do cheat days.
- There‘s a reason 99% of humans eat carbs: they’re cheap. Be prepared to shell out more dough than meal box dieters, with none of the convenience.
- This diet isn't family friendly. Not only would cooking keto for a whole family be unbelievably expensive, this diet is too extreme for kids.
- Going off Keto often means gaining some of the weight back, but being on Keto forever has unknown health risks.
Bottom Line: This diet didn't work for me. The food choices were way too restrictive, and I was miserable all the time no matter how much I ate.
Hope You Like These
Eat Out all the time?
A lot of people would say duh, stop eating at restaurants. But first off, I don’t know your life. I don’t know your budget. Second off, it’s easier to make one change at a time than several. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took like, at least a couple weeks.
Calories-in-Calories-out may be your answer. First off, it’s free. There are apps that can track the calories for you, but you don’t need them as long as you're willing to do a little bit of simple math.
- Every restaurant these days has a calorie count.
- No apps or extra money besides what you were already spending.
Use CICO to make better choices at your favorite restaurants, or try new, healthier eating spots.
Bottom Line: I ended up doing a form of CICO, with good results. I think the biggest take-away of this diet is that yes, calories are important, but sometimes it makes more sense to eat a higher-calorie, but more filling food, as opposed to a lower-calorie food that won't fill you up at all. In other words, use your head, don't just look at the numbers.
Numbers Don't Lie
Are Snacks Your Achilles Heel?
Then try Intermittant Fasting. IF restricts you to a 4, 6, 8 or 10-hour eating window. If snacks and late-night munching are your downfall, this may be your solution.
Benefits of IF:
- Family-friendly. If you time everything right, you can still eat the same meals as the rest of your family
- Easy to track. You could use a fancy app, but honestly, a clock will work just fine
Disadvantages of IF
- Hard to accommodate later-evening dinners
- Brutal adjustment period.
- Not suitable for people who are active during the day. If you don’t have a desk job, forget about this one
Bottom Line: I failed, hard, at this diet. I did it for a full month and felt like garbage the whole entire time. Other people swear by IF, but it wasn't for me.
Dieting On A Limited Budget
The best bet for budget dieting is Meal Prepping. MP can seem intimidating: aren’t fourteen pounds of chicken thighs going to be expensive? Aren’t all those cute little containers going to cost an arm and a leg? I can't afford a $60 Costco membership.
You don't need two dozen matching containers. A casserole or a big pot of chili can go in the fridge in a large container, and then dished out for meals.
You can reuse the containers food comes in, as you get them. Yogurt tubs, pickle jars, butter tubs. It ain't pretty, but your lunch is way less likely to be stolen out the workroom fridge if it's in a reused cottage cheese tub. Plus oh yeah it's more eco-friendly than buying a bunch of additional plastic.
Bulk buys add up. You don't have to bulk buy everything all at once. But if you can swing one $20 bulk buy per trip, soon you'll make all that back and then some.
Makin' Everyone at Work Jealous
I Hate Vegetables And I'm Lazy
Yes, it is expensive. Convenience always is. But it forced me to try a ton of healthy food that I had never liked before.
Meal prep services can help lazy people like me, super-busy people, and people who have problems with portion control. The food keeps coming, so you have to eat it, and if you fill up on healthy food, you can't eat unhealthy food.
Calories-In-Calories-Out But Like, More Complicated
Instead of tracking straight calories, Weight Watchers tracks "points," which it assigns to foods based on Protein, Fat, Carbs, and Fiber content.
If you have thirty, fifty, one hundred pounds to lose? You might want to invest in the WW app. It scans food items and can generate recipes for you. It's also a very popular diet, so most restaurant food is on the app too.
WW is for people who enjoy food. Just about anything can fit into your diet, as long as you make up for it in other ways. It allows for cheating. It takes into account your activity level. As you lose weight, it adjusts the diet to you.
If you don't have much weight to lose, or just want to see what the point values are for some of your favorite foods, you can always check out some of the free weight watchers points calculators. That was enough for me to start, and once I got results, I got the WW app.
The real WW hack is filling up on zero-point foods, like veggies, salmon, and boiled eggs, and using your points for fun stuff like ice cream. Suck it, keto dieters.
WW, along with Daily Harvest, is how I finally lost all that weight I put on after an injury. I don't have a hundred-pound weight loss success story, but I finally put to bed fifteen pounds that just wouldn't get gone.
Figuring Out How Many Points Are In a McDonalds Frappe
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Jo Gavilan