I know I mention weight loss quite a bit and those of you who are coming to me to focus on healthy living and feeling awesome vs. a weightloss goal may be wondering, “why the focus on our weight?!” Fat loss goes hand in hand (in many cases but definitely not all!) with living a healthier lifestyle. I am a firm believer that a healthy body is a sexy body, but healthying up your routine will absolutely shed unwanted fat. We work on finding solutions that will allow you to stay consistent so you can keep making healthy choices to reach your healthy living goals - whatever they may be. So, whether you are looking to diet (focus on shedding some unwanted weight) or create a sustainably healthier lifestyle, you need to look for the tools that are right for you!
There is so much out there in the word about weight loss. Paleo diets telling us to eat like cavemen will get us lean and svelt (weren’t they eating anything they could find to survive?), keto diets telling us to cut out every single type of carbohydrate to get our bodies to burn our fat, or tracking Weight Watcher’s ever changing point system, or just doing a bunch of cardio!
Did you hear that Susan, in HR, dropped 30 pounds in 10 days by only drinking bone broth?
And then there’s Sharon, one of the moms at the park, who swears by boosting her metabolism with cayenne pepper and lemon juice.
Oh! And Frank, who lives next door, says all he did was stop eating pasta and his pants were falling off within a month!
Oh the possibilities to thin out our waistline are seemingly endless! But which one to choose? Where to start? Let’s start by taking a look at these friendly health advocates and see what they’re up to:
Frank cutting out pasta and seeing a big effect on his health is probably because he was, that’s right, eating a ton pasta! So, unless you have a place where you can replace an empty source of a majority of the calories in your day with nutrient dense foods, cutting pasta won’t have that same effect for you. For your candy eaters or carb bingers, this may actually work for you!
And Sharon is probably someone who mindlessly snacks a lot and the low calorie appetite suppressing beverage she is consuming throughout the days is eliminating a ton of calories from her diet. If you have trouble with mindless snacking, consider a similar approach! It doesn’t have to be an exotic tincture, even water (with some fruit added to it for flavor!)
And I’m just not sure about Susan… sounds a bit out there and gimmicky. I mean, of COURSE she’ll lose weight if she only drinks broth but that, to me, doesn’t sound very fun (and hopefully she doesn’t develop kidney stones - scurvy!).
So do you see where this is headed? Yep, your weight is, in the end, a calorie game. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to count calories. We are all beautiful unique snowflakes, right? So let’s make this personal! Check out my guide to choosing the fat loss plan that will work for you.
Let’s start by picking out what type of dieter you are:
The short cut dieter: You want to lose weight and be healthier but don’t have the time or interest in shopping, meal prepping and finding healthier options for your meals. You are looking for something easy to follow that will give you better health, more energy and weight loss if done correctly.
The rule follower: You LOVE following rules and having a plan laid out for you. If something is labeled off limits, you find it pretty easy to stay away. You like firm boundaries and a solid set of rules to help you feel confident in the approach you are taking to lose weight and be healthier. Given the right set of rules and program to follow, you can stick to your diet pretty well.
The habitual dieter: You have tried every diet and stop and start your weight loss plans often. You like what you like and you have trouble sticking to big changes in your diet. You often question the process and need to feel confident that the choices your are making will actually get you to your goals or you can easily talk yourself back into your old unhealthy habits. You have habits, rituals and emotions closely tied to unhealthy foods and nutrition choices and need a gentler approach and guide to make the changes necessary to live healthier and stick with them. You may also be easily derailed and need extra support from your friends and family to help keep you accountable and motivated.
The hybrid dieter: A lot of us (me included) are a little bit of each at different times of life or even of the week! Coming up with a plan that works for any of your phases is ideal. Make sure you have support and an overall game plan and set of goals that can help you adapt and roll with what life throws your way!
Any of those sound familiar to you? Awesome - now read on for my thoughts on these various dieters and diet plans!*
*This is just my generalization and you, you unique snowflake, may not fit into any of these. In that case, shoot me an email and let’s chat!
There is no quick fix or easy solution to weight loss and cleaning up your nutrition, but there are a few options that are a bit simpler if you are willing to invest a bit. With each of these, it’s easy to get off track and throw in the towel. So make sure you are ready to commit and forge on if you happen to float off track for a hot minute! Here are some options that may work for you:
Shake and meal replacement diets
Pros: Very effective; Allows you to not have to think too much about what you need to put in your body to lose weight; Incorporate exercise when you can for health, but caloric burn is not necessary to lose weight on these programs; No calorie counting; Focus is on visceral fat loss so you know you are losing unhealthy fats over muscle.
Cons: It’s important to find a program with clean ingredients that come from real and preferably organic foods; They are quite strict - stick to the plan and you will do well - don’t try to make up your own way of using the products for weight loss; Can be a bit of a financial investment upfront; Can be tied to an MLM company so you have to deal with a lot of sales reps and can only order online; Can get monotonous but for people like you, that isn’t a problem ;)
Intermittent fasting diets
Pros: These are also easy to follow and quite effective - depending on the diet, take a half day, full day or two a week and fast to reset your digestive enzymes and give your system a break. This can cause you to change your relationship to food in general as you start to figure out what is hunger and what are cravings; Your appetite may also change as you get used to taking in less food; Allows you to have a plan in place without feeling like you’ve derailed if you have a treat - the focus is a lot on timing.
Cons: If not done correctly, you may end up binging and eating more when you are not fasting; You also need to focus on eating cleaner foods, reducing sugar intake and sticking to a schedule to make sure it’s effective; Given no focus on macronutrients, you may not only be losing fat with your weight loss; Working out MAY be harder when fasting causing you to stop building lean muscle as effectively; If this doesn’t feel good to you, your body may start releasing cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline as it fights to find a balance which will definitely get in the way of your success.
21 Day Fix
Pros: You get containers that tell you what type of food to put in it and when to eat it. It quite simply lays out your meal quality and timing for the day; Decent information about clean nutrition, meal timing and really helps teach you about portion control.
Cons: Again, there is an initial investment upfront; You still have to shop for, make and decide on the foods to put in the containers.
Rule Follower dieters:
If you can follow the rules, you can be successful! Again, be careful of the all-in approach with these. Make sure you have a healthy mindset and feel ready to tackle your goals or this can end up feeling punitive and restrictive which leads to making it really easy to jump ship.
Pros: Teaches you about clean eating and helps removes toxins that can build up in your system; effective for weight loss if you can stick to it!
Cons: Quite restrictive; Not sustainable for many; timing of meals and snacks is not a focus; Can often be uncomfortable; Sometimes hard to go out to dinner or to a party; Lost weight often returns (and then some) when finished and you go back to your old habits.
Pros: Easy to follow point system that is widely used and known; Well laid out - just do it and you will see results.
Cons: No focus on ingredients or food quality; Possibly too restrictive on carbs causing you to stay away from whole grains and complex carbs that are SO good for you! No Focus on meal and snack timing so it can be hard to stick to or uncomfortable because you will continue having cravings and possibly not address unhealthy habits.
Pros: Lots of apps make it easy to track your food intake with a large database of popular food items; very effective if you do it right; You have complete control over what you eat.
Cons: Room for user error in terms of under estimating portion sizes or overestimating caloric burn from exercise; No focus on ingredients or food quality; No Focus on meal and snack timing so it can be hard to stick to or uncomfortable because you will continue having cravings and possibly not address unhealthy habits; For the uninformed, you may not have the best approach to finding the right foods and timing to keep you satisfied and feeling great.
Keto, carb free, sugar free, no alcohol, etc, etc.
Pros: All the hot diets or knocking out a food group will be a good option for you and can be quite effective to drop weight; There are usually a lot of options in the grocery store and at restaurants for these diets as they are popular.
Cons: These often lack sustainability for most people (and for optimal health many shouldn’t be done for long periods of time); these diets don’t make room for your favorite treats which make it easy to get off track, frustrated and give up; You still may not be addressing habits that can come right back as soon as you stop the diet.
You will probably try or have tried many of the above options but they won’t or don’t seem to stick.
You will do best with a customized program and a coach/network of support to help guide you.
Pros: These plans can be adapted to your needs and concerns and can include your favorite treats while addressing unhealthy habits and patterns; You will troubleshoot and finally address old and unhealthy patterns that have been standing in the way of your goals; You will have the confidence of a professional watching your diet and choices and letting you know if what you are doing is working or making changes if it’s not; You will create healthy habits and routines that will fit with YOUR lifestyle and needs; You will have support and motivation as life happens, things change and routines get adjusted so you can make sure to stay on track and not get derailed; You will succeed and you can finally stop dieting and start living the life you want.
Cons: Finding a professional that you trust and can be open with is key! These programs can be pricey but they will work and will save you money (and health!) in the long run!
You will have various needs at various times
You will do great with a lot of the above programs but will need accountability partners, the support of your friends and family, and a trusted professional to be able to reach out to for questions and changes as they come up. We can make a lot of programs work for you - it’s all about making the right choices, having a coach to help, or having the confidence and will power to stick to your plans, adjust and keep going!
Alright! That’s what I think! How about you? Let me know if you want to chat and come up with a plan that will work for your goals!
I love following @marcusricefit on instagram - he always says it best!
Diets and healthy living are not what you may think. Be in it for the long run, stick to your plan and goals and you will be successful!
And how do I know all this, you might be asking? Well, it’s part experience working with a huge variety of people and personalities and finding successful approaches for each of them, it’s also part research and reading late into the night about this stuff (Im a huge nerd about healthy living!) and it’s part based on my own experience as I struggled through years of disordered eating and body image issues.