How are you supposed to find the best diet these days?
Should you go low-carb or keto?
What’s with this new “plant-based” diet?
Should you fast for a day or eat 6 meals a day?
Should you buy the supplements or not?
How the heck do you navigate this weight loss diet world?
It is so confusing – I’m here to help.
Isn’t there one best diet?
I went on a mission to find the best diet for my family over the past year. I completed diet trials myself thinking I could find the single best diet to weight loss. In my quest, I went to conferences on diet through the Mayo Clinic, through Columbia, and to Obesity Week, the biggest obesity conference in the world. I listened to amazingly intelligent and well-researched speakers.
And then I went through Life/Weight Loss Coach certification and learned the diet they recommended. I tried that diet, too.
Here’s what I found to be true:
- There is no one right diet for everyone
- The right diet for you is the one you can stick with
- Weight loss alone will help your medical conditions more than any specific diet that you never stick to
What the Obesity Experts Say About Diet
And when I looked back, I realized that all of this research in terms of DIET alone (trust me – I learned SO much about being overweight through life coaching…) took me right back to The Obesity Society guidelines for dietary weight loss. Silly me.
The official Obesity Medicine dietary recommendations are not simple to read. Surprised? They state: A variety of dietary approaches can produce weight loss … including:
- Higher protein diet (25% calories from protein, 30% fat, 45% carbohydrates)
- Higher protein Zone type diet (5 meals/day with 40% calories from carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat)
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet
- Low-calorie diet
- Low-carbohydrate diet (<20g/d carbohydrates initially)
- Low-fat vegan style diet (10-25% calories from fat)
- Low-fat diet (20% calories from fat)
- Low-glycemic load diet
- Lower-fat high dairy diet with or without increased fiber (<30% fat, 4 servings dairy)
- Macronutrient targeted diets (15-25% calories from protein, 20-40% fat, 35-65% carbohydrates)
- Mediterranean-style diet
- Moderate protein diet (12% calories from protein, 58% carbohydrates, 30% fat)
- AHA Step 1 Diet (1500-1800 calories <30% from fat, <10% from saturated fats)
All the above state a “with a prescribed energy deficit.”
What the heck? How does one decipher that list?
Here’s what that means: Create a calorie deficit by either calorie counting or cutting out food groups. It’s really that simple.
And they all work, I’ve tried variations of all of them.
So, here’s how I worked this out in my brain: You can calorie count or you can pick certain foods to cut out of your diet for the rest of your life to lose the weight and keep it off. Do this and you will lose weight and be able to keep it off for life.
How Diets are Made
Creating a diet that you can stick with is key to long-term weight loss. That’s the problem with fad diets. You can go on the next fad diet and lose weight really quickly but you have no intention or ability to sustain that. How is that helpful in the end? That just creates yo-yoing and more weight gain.
If you look at the list above, diets basically balance carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. And changing those combinations leads to weight loss.
The above list is truly subtle variations if you consider this: the typical American diet consists of over 200 grams of carbohydrate daily. So the specifics in percentage are not that important I have found. Changing to a healthier diet is.
I recommend my weight loss clients simplify this by by starting with what foods you just can’t give up. And the diet that is best for you will become apparent.
What Foods Can You Not Give Up for Weight Loss?
Ok, I’m taking cookies, ice cream, chips off the table first. Sorry, ladies, but I always get that reply.
Instead, let’s look at the importance in your diet of 3 main food groups:
Which of the 3 can you ditch first?
- If meats are not something that you consume daily, consider a Mediterranean-style diet or eliminate meat completely and go plant-based.
- Does dairy cause you stomach issues? If so or if you don’t cook with much of it, consider a Paleo or plant-based diet.
- If fruits aren’t part of your regular diet, consider a Low-carb diet.
What Would Your Meals Look Like by Diet?
Everyone wants to know – what they heck should I eat with these diets? I have tons on my Pinterest and Instagram accounts, check them out: https://www.pinterest.com/DoctorMomE/ and https://www.instagram.com/doctormomem/
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with berries to whole wheat toast with peanut butter
- Lunch: fresh chickpea salad or hummus bowl
- Dinner: whole wheat pasta with olive oil sauce or salmon with broccoli
- Not on the table daily: meat, lots of dairy
- For more, check out https://doctormome.com/mediterranean-diet/
- Breakfast: eggs with bacon or fruit
- Lunch: a salad with chicken and a vinegarette style dressing.
- Dinner: steak and potatoes with a small fruit salad or a beef and vegetable stew
- Not on the table daily: anything that wasn’t around (hypothetically) in the Paleolithic era – no dairy, no grains
- For more, check out https://doctormome.com/paleo-diet/
- Breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausage
- Lunch: a salad with chicken and Ranch or Bleu cheese dressing
- Dinner: a steak with grilled asparagus or wedge salad
- Not on the table: fruits, starchy vegetables like corn or potato
- For more, check out https://doctormome.com/low-carb-keto/
- Any fruits, veggies, nuts
- A complete plant-based diet includes no dairy or meats but some plant-based dieters do choose to allow in limited amounts
- Just don’t make this into the side dish diet or the weight loss will not follow
- For more, check out https://doctormome.com/plant-based-diet/
It really becomes that simple if you make it that simple. I do want you to notice that I did not ask about carbohydrates. Why is that? You are going to cut back on carbs no matter which diet you pick. As I said above, the American diet is so carbohydrate heavy that carbohydrate elimination is inevitable. Cutting out snacks alone creates a carbohydrate deficit.
The other interesting aspect to note: not a single diet EVER will tell you to cut back on vegetables. Heavy, starchy veggies – maybe. But never leafy greens.
Then why are all of these diets not considered low-carb?
Diets like the Mediterranean and Plant-based approaches allow for beans – beans are not low in carbohydrates. But they are still healthy and goods sources of protein. The amount of carbohydrate in the Paleo diet through starchy vegetables is also not limited enough to be considered a low carbohydrate diet.
What If You Simply Cannot Eliminate a Food Group?
If you cannot choose a food group to eliminate, you can always go with creating a calorie deficit through calorie counting. Just remember, calorie counting is for life. And you will need to cut back on portions of those foods either way. Women should aim for 1200-1500 calories a day and men for 1500-1800 calories. For more, check out https://doctormome.com/calorie-counting/
Make It That Simple, No Need to Complicate
Our minds want to make it way more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t go down that rabbit hole. It just leads to excuses on why you can’t figure out how to lose weight. No thought errors here. You can always tweak your diet later. Pick one and give it a try. See how it makes you feel and your weight loss results.
I recommend my weight loss clients give each diet a 2 week trial before changing anything. And they have to explain to me why they are making the changes they choose. We so often just think that they next diet will be better, be easier, give better weight loss, be less of a change.
And those stem from thought errors. The true thought that matters is finding the best diet for you – a diet that you can stick with for life. No need for perfection – sustainability is way more important in the long run. Pick a diet you can stick with – and stick with it.
If you are interested in working with me to find the best diet for you and lose the weight for life, join me in Weight Loss for Modern American Moms. You can schedule a consult right here https://emilyvinzantmd.as.me/schedule.php