Weigh In Wednesday – Experts “Weigh-in” On Best Diets


     At the end of month one I am proud to announce that I have lost 10 lbs  of the 40 lbs goal weight for this year and  64.8 lbs total over the course of the entire weight loss journey to date. After the additional 2.6 lb weight loss this week I’m 1/4 of the way to this year’s goal! Woo hoo! Slow and steady progress keeps me motivated. How is your weight loss plan working for you?

      I am blessed with a group of fantstic friends who are also persuing weight loss. As we chat it has become apparent that we each have a diffrent approach, and so far most of us are showing some success in our efforts. This leads me to ask the question “Is there really anyway to tell what the ‘best diet plan’ is”?

     In investigating this topic I came across a U.S. News And World Reports article called “Best Diets“. Here a panel of experts reviewed diffrent diet plans looking at their short term succes, long term success, safety, nutrition, and ease of use. These diets were then reviewed in several different catagories. Best Comercial Weight Loss Plans, Best Diet For Diabeties, Best Diet Overall, and so on. Because healthy weight loss is our primary focus here we will look at Best Weight-Loss Diets.

     Weight Watchers took the number 1 slot. The big plus being that you can eat whatever you want. With no foods completely off limits you have the flexibility to design the plan around your own likes and dislikes, your schedule, and your lifestyle. With their points system healthier low calorie foods appear more appealing. With fresh fruits and vegetables having 0 points there is never a need to go hungry. I personally think a big part of the success of this plan is in food education and support. When we begin to understand food and how it affects our bodies we become empowered. We can then make better decisions. The support of friends is wonderful and the only thing more powerful than encouragment is encouragment with empathy. When someone really understands what you are going through they can support you in a whole diffrent way.  The down sides are listed as “pricy” and tedious point talleying. Calories, carbs, and fat grahams are listed on almost every food you purchase. Points aren’t so it can take a little more doing to get the info you need. If you are a “Weight Watcher” it’s exciting to know that your plan has the potential for fantastic short term and long term results.

     Three diets tied for the number 2 slot. Biggest Looser, Jenny Craig and Raw Food Diet are all considered equally good aproaches.

      The pros and cons for Biggest Looser? This plan is said to be based on solid nutritional principles and no foods are off limits completely.  This plan was also listed as pricy and contains “a lot of grunt work”(and reading).

     Jenny Craig has “no guess work” and limited grunt work as packaged meals are pre-prepared and sent to you. This means however, that resturant dining and home cooking are largely off limits and the expense of the program is high. The eduation that you receive from the previous two plans isn’t built into this the same way, since the ‘meal planning’ thinking is done for you.

      The Raw Food Diet is full of yummy fruits and veggies that are very good for you and if you stick to the plan you are almost guarenteed to lose weight. This approach is effective, but not easy. There is a lot of food preperation involved, equipment needed, and lots of rules to abide by. Much like the Vegan Diet, if you are in this for more than just weight loss you will probably be very successful at keeping the pounds off because this is a signifigant lifestyle change, rather than a “quick fix” approach.

    Volumetrics, weighing in as the last of the top 5, simularly  has a real emphesis on fruits and veggies (along with nuts and soups) and requires lengthy food prep. The pros are that it is a very filling with no foods being completely off limits.

     I was only going to look at the top five but the very popular Atkins, and Slim Fast Diets tied with the Vegan Diet for #6. Since I know folks using each of these plans I wanted to hit on those very briefly.

     Atkins, being a low carb approach, is very restrictive on sweets and breads and according to these experts more calorie restrictive than people think. The pros – quick weight loss and no quilt over fatty foods. I can personally attest to how quick the weigh comes off, having lost about 20 lbs at one point using Atkins. The quick weight loss was very exciting. For me these restrictions didn’t work well for permanent loss though. I was frustrated by the absence of some foods I really loved from my diet. I learned some really valuable things and continue to limit my “empty carbs”. 

     SlimFast Diet gets points for being quick and convenient and having no math involved. With two out of three meals each day being Slimfast shakes and bars this is not for those who love variety or get bored easily. I have never done a “strict” Slim

     The Vegan Diet, as mentioned before, is more than a diet. If you are environmentally focused, have certain spiritual convictions, and/or very health concious you may be drawn to the greater good in Veganism. This kind of food plan is very restrictive and ends up requiring a great deal of effort and planning, so it is not for the “casual dieter”. However, if you fully embrace the vegan approach weigh loss is almost inevidable and the changes tend to be long lasting.

     The real question, really isn’t which diet is the best diet but which diet is the best diet for You. Do you need something with structrue or flexability? Are you a meat lover or do you have a sweet tooth? Are you looking for an analytical or spiritual approach? Is it physical hunger or emotional pain that leads to your over eating ? My husband and daughter will tell you that I love bacon too much to go vegan and sweets to much to be succesfull long term with Atkins (though my personal healthy approach allows for only a little of either). If you are looking for your perfect fit try taking the “What’s The Right Diet For You” Quiz from O Magazine to get some insight. There are lots of plans out there and this will help you understand which ones are most well suited to your personal needs.

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