Tom, the personal trainer who founded Waite Training in Leeds has many tips to help you get started on working for your fitness goals.
Many people find it challenging to stick with a diet plan for any length of time. The idea of restricting yourself doesn't sit well with your psychology. You don't want to go the rest of your life thinking you'll never eat another carb. That's a recipe for disaster!
If you've had issues sticking to a diet plan in the past, you're not alone. Studies show that for most dieters, it's challenging to sustain the weight loss they achieved through an intervention. So before you go into any diet, you need to get your psychology right. Don't see diet plans as an all-or-nothing endeavour. Just lean into them and see what happens! Let's see what diets are out there you may have already tried before we answer the question in the title.
#1. Low-Carb Diets
Low carb diets restrict the quantity of carbohydrates practitioners eat. The most famous of these (and one of the first) is the Atkins diet. In its strictest form, it eschews all carbohydrates, including potatoes, pasta, bread and fruit. It also forbids non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, since these too contain carbohydrates.
The ketogenic diet is similar. It aims to get the body to start burning ketones instead of sugar - a fat-derived form of energy different from regular glucose. So adherents consume mainly proteins and fats, and carb intake is recommended to be kept under 5-10% of all daily calories for the most committed ones.
#2. Low-Fat Diets
Low-fat diets get adherents to reduce their consumption of fatty cuts of meat, full-fat milk, and butter.
Health professionals promoted this idea after researchers found a link between population fat consumption and heart disease in the 1960s and 1970s. It continued to grow in popularity when they later found a link between high-fat consumption and diabetes.
#3. The Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet promotes the idea that people should eat more like their ancestors from the palaeolithic period - an era before farming. This diet focuses on the consumption of meat and non-starchy vegetables. It avoids grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, and sugar.
#4. The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet attempts to recreate the traditional diet eaten by populations living around the edges of the Mediterranean sea. It focuses on eating lots of whole plant foods, beans, whole grains, vegetables, and seafood. It includes less dairy and meat than the standard Western diet. It minimises processed foods and allows olive oil in moderate quantities.
#5. Vegetarian and Vegan Diet
Vegetarian and vegan diets eliminate animal products. Vegetarians do not eat meat, while vegans avoid any food derived from animals, including meat, eggs, dairy, and even honey. Critically, vegetarian and vegan diets say nothing about the quality of the diet. One vegan, for instance, might live off cola and crisps while the other might eat greens, beans, seeds, fruits and whole grains.
Which is the best diet for fat loss?
All of these diets can work. However, whether they do primarily comes down to your ability to stick with them long enough to achieve your weight loss goals.
Ultimately, what determines the success of a diet is longevity. If you can't imagine your life without carbs, then choosing to go on the Atkins diet is probably a bad idea, regardless of the good things you've heard about it.
For most people, a middle-of-the-road diet, such as the Mediterranean, is probably the most practical. This regimen permits a small amount of meat and lets you experiment with exciting dishes, making it sustainable.
By contrast, many people struggle to remain on the keto diet since it requires consuming vast quantities of high-fat foods, which humans are not naturally inclined to do.
For others, the results of restriction are worth it. Vegan diets, for instance, are exceptionally good at reducing weight and improving energy in the short run, so long as you consume enough calories and take a B12 supplement.
The truth is that people can lose weight on all types of diets. Those wanting to shed pounds can become lean on keto and vegan diets. What ultimately matters is your health and wellbeing.
So what have we learned? Essentially, we've discovered that at least five diets assist weight loss and that each of them can work if done correctly. The most critical thing to bear in mind is whether a particular diet is sustainable for you. If it isn't, then you might want to rethink your strategy.
We also found out that how you approach each of these diets matters a great deal. The more restrictive you are with yourself, the more you'll be tempted to rebel against your diet.
Ideally, you want to learn to love the food you eat while not beating yourself up if you veer off course. Sticking to a low-fat diet seven days a week, 365 days a year, is a challenge. So, occasionally, you may come off the diet. But that doesn't matter. There's always tomorrow: another opportunity to get back with the programme.