If you, like many of us, have decided your eating habits need an overhaul in 2019, then you are likely in the midst of deciding which diet to try in the New Year.
The important thing about choosing a diet is choosing one that suits your lifestyle. You need a diet that is sustainable – otherwise, you will find yourself losing weight on fad diet trends only to gain it all back when you return to your normal eating pattern.
Here are 4 popular and proven diets that can easily become eating lifestyles:
Founded in 1963 by homemaker Jean Nidetch, Weight Watchers has grown into a diet program that focuses on holistic weight loss, encouraging not only portion control but fitness and, more recently, mindfulness practice.
The diet works by tracking what you eat based on a Weight Watchers devised point system. Depending on your current weight and weight goals, you are allotted a certain amount of points per day that you must eat within.
You can eat whatever you want, as long as you stay within your points. You can carry-over points or earn more points through fitness activities. Weight Watchers also provides a list of Zero Point Foods that includes fresh fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, boneless and skinless chicken and fish.
Pros: There is a lot of flexibility in this program, making it easier to prep and meal plan as well as track your progress.
Cons: If you are a food-a-holic like me, you’re going to feel like you are starving in the beginning, making it easy to fall off the bandwagon.
The Ketogenic Diet is an eating lifestyle focused on low carb, moderate protein and high fat. Following this diet places your body in Ketosis, a metabolic state that burns fat in the absence of glucose (which comes from carbs and sugars).
The Keto Diet has been shown to be an efficient one for losing weight and increasing energy. The main staples of the diet include meat, fatty fish, eggs, butter, cream, cheese, avocados, green veggies and healthy oils such as olive, coconut and avocado.
Pros: There is no calorie counting on the Keto Diet and the foods are filling and satisfying. And bacon. Lots of bacon.
Cons: Carbs are everywhere, so eating out can be challenging. Plus the meal planning can be time consuming for beginners. Oh, and no bread.
Based on the everyday diets of those in Southern Europe, the Mediterranean Diet focuses on plant foods and fresh fruits. The majority of fat comes from whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil while dairy in consumed mostly through cheese and yogurt.
The diet also includes moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs and small amounts of red meat.
Overall, the Mediterranean Diet is one of high healthful fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals and low sugar. It is considered a “heart healthy” diet and is most beneficial when paired with an active lifestyle.
Pros: There is no one “Mediterranean Diet”, making it easier to customize the diet to suite your lifestyle.
Cons: This diet has a high fat content, so moderation is crucial in order for it to be a success.
I included these two eating styles together because they are very similar because both diets focus on avoiding animal-based foods. However, Vegetarians consume eggs, dairy and honey while Vegans do not.
Veganism is a lifestyle that encompasses diet and environmentalism. The choice to become Vegan is usually based on compassion for animals and a responsibility to the planet. Vegans pay close attention to eating whole foods and avoiding processed ones.
Vegetarianism is more diet-based and is usually a simple decision to avoid animals products for health reasons.
Pros: Both diets are proven to be healthy ways of eating that promote weight loss.
Cons: Avoiding animals products can result in nutritional deficiencies that need to be supplemented.