Weight loss diets

We have all heard of one or more ‘diets’ promising to give us weight loss, this post compares some of the most common diets.

I reiterate ‘diet’ should just be our normal foods we eat in habit not a restrictive food plan to lose weight. But just for this post, a weight loss food plan will be refereed to as ‘diet’.

Very quick before we begin- remember that weight loss doesn’t always mean fat loss! There are many things that affect our weight..a blog post is coming on this topic soon!!

Let’s begin….below is only a list of a few well known diets, I realise there’s still many missing from here which in time I will get to!

Diet Pros Cons
Low fat (e.g. Rosemary Conley diet) -You can eat more calories

-Reduces the amount of trans fats which can increase the risk of cancer.

-Can help people with weight loss

-Increases sugar and carbohydrate intake, which overtime stretches and swells arteries, losing flexibility increases the risk of heart attack

-Energy levels

-Reduces fat intake (fat has a bigger role in the body than carbohydrate and it does NOT cause heart attacks contrary to popular belief)

-Can cause high blood sugar

-Causes Spikes and troughs

-Can increase the risk of diabetes

-Doesn’t work as well for weight loss as a low carbohydrate diet

-Not the most effective weight loss program long term

-Lean muscle and water is lost rather than ‘fat’

-Metabolic rate is reduced

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle

 

 

Atkins -Men prefer this diet due to steaks and burgers being on the menu!

-Eliminates ‘bad’ fats

-Weight loss

-Some have seen improvements in ‘good’ cholesterol levels

-Increased headaches or migraines

-Too much protein intake can cause damage to your liver

-Long term effects have not been studied

-Must be strict on carbohydrates which is difficult when out or eating at other people’s houses

-Limits the foods you can eat

-When returning to eating carbohydrates again weight is regained

-More research required

 

Slimming world -No limit to what you can eat (which means you can do it in private)

-Lot’s of resources out there like snacks, cooking books etc

-Support groups provide motivation and encouragement

-Not much weighing and measuring of foods

-Rewards for weight loss

 

-Describes foods as ‘syn’ which gives you a guilt feeling and potentially feeding low self esteem

-Reduces fat levels (see low fat ‘cons’)

-Doesn’t educate you about calories as you rely on the ‘syn’ amount

-Doesn’t educate you on portion control

-Lower fat products use more sweeteners, which taste different/not as nice compared to natural sugars but also increases aspartame which has many yet varied side effects to each person

-Doesn’t teach you the best food choices and when

-Pressure is placed on you to lose weight

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle

 

Weight watchers -No forbidden foods

-Teaches you on portion control

-It aims to be a lower calorie diet

-Has an online tool that is free

-Has support groups

-Bases points (calories) on an individual’s age, height, weight and activity levels

-Lots of resources available such as weight watchers branded food

-rewards for weight loss

 

-Doesn’t educate you about calories in details as you rely on the points system

-Not good for people who don’t like regular monitoring

-Have to check/calculate points

-Planning points can be time consuming

-The company change the system a lot meaning products and resources bought can be out of date or not correct

-Doesn’t teach you the best food choices and when

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle

-Pressure is placed on you to lose weight

Slim-fast/meal replacement -Fast weight loss can improve motivation

-Easy to follow

-No planning to do

 

-Makes you ignore your body’s hunger signals which can lead to binge eating

-Can lower your body’s normal metabolic rate

-Low mood

-Lack of energy

-Low nutrient, high sugar/chemical foods are used which can lead to migraines

-limited choices of snack bars and milkshakes

-Doesn’t include fruit, vegetables, dairy, legumes or whole grains.

-Doesn’t teach you the best food choices and when

-Still more research to be done for long term (one year or more) effect to health

-Lean muscle and water is lost rather than ‘fat’

-Boring!

-Metabolic rate is reduced

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle

-No improvement to fitness or body shape as the recommendation to exercise is not pushed, just focuses on weight loss by following their program

 

 

5:2 Intermittent fasting -Good for those who struggle restricting calories everyday

-Gives digestive system a ‘rest’ on fasting days

-Effective as a lower calorie weight loss plan

-May reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes

-May improve insulin resistance, metabolic rate and cholesterol levels

-Reduces levels of IGF-1 (growth hormone that increases aging process and can cause cell divisions like those found in cancer cells)

-May overeat after ‘fasting’ days

-May have side effects of dehydration, anxiety, bad breath and difficulty sleeping

-Exercise/activity must be reduced on fasting days

-Fears over encouraging eating disorders to vulnerable people

-Unlikely to keep fasting in your diet long term

-Heavy restriction on fasting days could lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies

-Doesn’t address the eating habits which causes the initial weight gain

-Could be dangerous for some people especially those with diabetes

-Still more research to be done for long term (one year or more) effect to health

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle

 

Paleo -Clean diet using natural foods, no chemicals and additives etc

-anti-inflammatory benefits from plant nutrients

-Increased iron intake

-Feeling fuller for longer in between meals

-Effective for weight and fat loss

-Gluten free, low in sugar and trans fats, salt and high glycaemic carbohydrates

-Feel better (more energy)

 

-Restrictive to what you can eat

-Doesn’t touch on portion control which can be an issue if eating lots of high calorific nuts!

-Lower calcium and vitamin D levels which is bad for bones

-Not appropriate or very difficult for vegetarians

-May have a nutrient imbalance

-Still more research to be done for long term (one year or more) effect to health

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle

-Initial keto flu or lower energy for first few days

-More likely to skip meals if you don’t have time to plan or prepare

 

High fat low carb -Improved endurance fitness

-It promotes more muscle and less fat

-Gives you more energy

-Better insulin management (too much insulin can result in higher blood pressure, higher risk of diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and obesity)

-Makes your gastrointestinal tract work more efficiently

-Makes you have to try new foods

-Increases your green vegetable intake therefore increased vitamin intake such as folic acid, iron, magnesium etc

 

-If a power or sprint athlete performance will lower

-You have to make your lifestyle work with your diet (difficult if going out etc)

-Hard to know what to eat without doing lots of internet searching!

-Still more research to be done for long term (one year or more) effect to health

-Get stuck in a weight gain weight cycle (although the weight gain isn’t as much as when you first started if you slowly introduce carbs again and keep it lower than before)

-Initial keto flu or lower energy for first few days

-More likely to skip meals if you don’t have time to plan or prepare

 

Health balanced diet -Prevents or reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity

-Promotes overall health e.g. antioxidants slows down aging process

-Long term weight maintenance

-A study found eating ‘unhealthy’ foods decreased productivity by 66%!

-you’ll be happier due to hormone balances and clean natural foods releases chemicals such as endorphins-You’ll be eating enough meaning less hunger spasms, more energy and better immune system

-You’ll eat less as foods are more filling due to high nutrient content

-If you’re eating less you’re buying less!

-Better energy levels improving endurance

-Improved sleep as you sleep deeper and fall asleep faster

Confidence and improved self-esteem as you feel better about your appearance

-You’ll feel less stressed due to nutrients such as vitamin c, omega 3 and magnesium

 

-Not many people know their recommendations (lack of information or how to eat healthy)

-Information can be conflicted especially e.g. American Vs UK guidelines

-If unprepared it can be expensive

-Socially awkward! Friends and family will try to make you eat less healthy foods a lot, “one slice of cake won’t hurt!”

-Best followed when you plan well

-Healthy foods not always easy to get especially in restaurants

“So which diet do you recommend for weight loss,” I hear you ask!..I recommend not to drastically change your eating habits in one go, little changes as you go. Aim for a healthy balanced diet! Not many people know how many calories they need and/or how it should be broken down for their nutrients (see my other blog post-“How to eat a balanced diet.”

Also if you change everything in one go while your motivation is high, you need to make sure when motivation levels dip and you make a mistake, that you won’t give up. We are human we make errors, we give in…even Personal Trainers enjoy coca cola and doritos …..MMMMMM COCA COLA AND DORITOS!….

…Sorry I got ‘oh shiny’d’ aka distracted..AHEM.. SO WE ALL have things we enjoy and are tempted by its just making sure we have it once a week rather than once a day. Having one small can of pop and not a 2l bottle! Adding a 15 minute walk in a week, going to bed earlier, cutting out coffee one day a week, ETC ETC. I’ll do another post on how we can change our lifestyle and be healthier..any questions or suggestions please comment below.

“What do you eat Leigh?”

I was testing out a high fat low carb diet earlier this year, which I did lose weight and see MANY benefits. However I noticed my performance doing sprints, burpees and high powered activites/exercise was slower (obviously)! I found it difficult to fit into my lifestyle as well (my mum feeding me potatoes, carrots and other starchy foods when going for dinner-even after shouting to her each week MUM I DON’T EAT THAT! haha) People offer you a sandwich when at their house or biscuits etc and say “oh only  will be fine” but they didn’t realise it knocks you out of keto (more on this soon). I was determined and focused for about a month!

So now I have decided to eat a healthy balanced diet but change up the ratios of my macros slightly, based on my lifestyle:

  • Carbohydrates 20-40% (I try to have lower carbs when I need endurance and stabilise my energy levels. I go for more carbs when doing power things like weight lifting or Insanity workouts but I am aiming to keep my sugar below 5% each day)
  • Fat 40-50% (This is higher when carbs are lower and visa versa)
  • Protein 20-30% (depending how much weight/power training I have done in the week)

Follow me on Instagram to see what I eat, see recipe ideas, get motivation and just see how daft I am! @Utrained

https://www.instagram.com/utrained/

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“Any other tips?”

No matter what I say you will do what you want anyway, so do what’s best for you! But when they don’t work, you get the side effects and regain weight etc etc-no complaining!

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It is difficult to eat healthier I know, so start off with small changes and soon enough it gets easy! I hate eating just rubbish all the time I notice a HUGE change in my energy, my skin, my hair, and weight etc. But you don’t have to get it right first time and your taste changes as you go along.

Healthy regards,

 

Leigh x

 

 

 

Some healthy humour for you all, thank you for reading my blog! Please subscribe, like and/or comment 🙂

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