Juicing, fasting, low-carb, high-fat… Have you tried everything to lose weight?
“It seems like every few months, another book comes out that spurs a diet trend,” says Karen Buzby, RD, LDN, member of the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery team. “Weight loss comes down to one thing: creating a calorie deficit by eating less and being more active."
A plan may help some people stay on track. Are you one of them? Then read below for three weight-loss plans that might work for you.
Weight Watchers uses a points system to track food, calories and exercise. Founded in 1963, Weight Watchers has outlasted every fad diet by allowing you to eat anything you want, as long as you stay within your daily point allotment.
“The new Weight Watchers Point Plus program encourages the selection of nutrient-rich foods that are low in calories,” says Buzby. “Fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables are unlimited on the new plan. It is these fiber containing foods along with lean proteins that promote a sense of fullness and a healthy slow weight loss.
One thing Weight Watchers offers that some other plans do not is weekly meetings.
“The weekly Weight Watchers meeting is a great way to hold yourself accountable for what you’ve eaten the previous week,” says Buzby. “It’s also a great time to get peer support from other people trying to lose weight.”
Pros: Points system makes it easy to know how much you are allowed to eat, meetings provide support, online tools.
Cons: Cost – monthly fees can vary depending on how you want to pay.
The Biggest Loser® Diet
Made famous by NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser,” this plan is modeled after the same diet and lifestyle changes the show participants follow. The diet and exercise guidelines are straight forward: the calorie controlled meal plan focuses on eating small frequent meals of whole foods and the exercise plan emphasizes starting a cardio and a strength training program.
“If you follow the Biggest Loser guidelines, yes, you will lose weight,” says Buzby. “The problem for many of us is that without a personal trainer it may be hard to stay motivated to exercise 60 minutes a day.”
The Biggest Loser books tell inspirational stories from people who have been on the show as well as give guidelines for implementing the diet and exercise plans.
“Online support is available to help you stay motivated and reach your goals,” says Buzby.
Pros: Inspirational, balanced diet and exercise plan that includes healthy foods.
Cons: Weight loss will most likely be slower than the results achieved by TV contestants.
The DASH Diet for Weight Loss
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet was originally developed to help people make dietary changes to lower their blood pressure. However, following the DASH diet’s calorie guidelines can also help promote slow and steady weight loss. The diet is based on an eating plan that focuses on fruits and vegetables, balanced with protein and low fat foods. The book, The DASH Diet Action Plan, provides calorie adjusted menus and shows you how to implement the plan.
“Research studies show this diet has heart-healthy benefits, lowers the risk of certain diseases and improves health. “I like this plan because it is a healthy, nutritious diet that the whole family can enjoy,” says Buzby.
Pros: Diet based on tasty foods that promote fullness and improves health.
Cons: The primary focus is on heart health and reducing hypertension lower, calorie levels may be needed for weight loss in some individuals.
What diets have you tried? Which ones have worked for you?