Diet Plans That Work for Weight Loss
Why Some Do, Others Don’t, and How to Fix It
There are hundreds of diet plans for weight loss floating around these days. You’ll find many that simply contradict each other; low fat, low carb, high fat, eat junk food on Sundays, every other day diets, and so on. This list of different diet plans is almost endless. I tried the nachos and beer diet in college. You know how that one ended up. One might as well look for a list of the most picked winning lottery numbers. Yeah, they’re out there, and they don’t work, either.
What Diet Plans Work for Weight Loss, and Why?
First, back to weight loss basics. To lose weight you need one thing and one thing only: a caloric deficit. That’s it, plain and simple. There are no secrets to losing weight; just a very simple truth. You need to burn off more calories than you take in, or you will never lose weight, no matter what high zoot diet plan you follow. Sorry…
The multitude of different plans we see on the market and all over the Internet today is due to the fact that many different people, some of whom are actually authorities on the subject, have different ideas on what it takes to create a caloric deficit. Some focus purely on the calorie content. This idea does have some merit, as recent research by none other than Harvard University has revealed that it is only calories, not the miro-nutrient distribution among those calories, that makes a difference in regards to losing weight.
Others however, toss that idea right out the proverbial window, citing reams of other research that shows that there is a difference in what you stuff your face with. The over-riding evidence from these studies seems to indicate that eating high glycemic index carbohydrates leads to increased body fat accumulation.
Why HGI Carbs Make You Store More Fat
From personal experience I can concur with these researcher’s findings. High glycemic index (HGI) carbohydrates do seem to cause me to gain excess body fat. Questioning many others, from the thousands of readers on the blog to folks at the tennis court and gym, to a myriad of fitness professionals and elite level athletes I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with, reveals that this opinion is far from unique. This is a diverse group, yet all seem to have similar feelings on the subject. Sugar, or more specifically, high glycemic index carbohydrates are the enemy!
That doesn’t mean that simply eliminating such foods from your diet will guarantee fat loss.
No, it takes more than that. However, it is a great first step. Why? It’s simple, really. HGI carbs cause a rapid insulin
level increase in your blood stream. When insulin levels are elevated, your body is predisposed to store excess calories as fat. In addition, since the sugars from HGI foods are released very rapidly into the blood stream, you will probably not use them as fast as they are released, causing them to require longer term storage. Presto! You’re fat!
The Triple F Trio
Actually, it doesn’t happen that fast, but the end results are the same. You gain weight, and in most cases that weight is in the form of fat, not lean body tissue such as skeletal muscle. An easy way to reverse that trend is simply to cut back on three foods that contain HGI carbs. These are white flour, white rice, and, of course, refined sugar itself.
Follow this simple tenet, and you’ll be well on your way to losing some of that fat you’ve been battling for so long.
Grab a glycemic index chart for help determining what foods have a high glycemic index.
A Big Reason Most Diets Just Don’t Work
Again, simple… people don’t stay on them! People don’t jump through hoops. Oh, if you make them, they will; for about a month. Actually, according to a recent British study the average woman stays on her diet 5 weeks, 2 days, and 43 minutes. Any rocket scientist will tell you it takes longer than that for significant weight loss, but you don’t have to be one to figure it out.
That’s why one huge key to weight loss through diet is: Don’t go overboard. It won’t stick, and fatso will be back in no time. Been there, done that! Relying on willpower to stay on a diet means you’ll be eating Twinkies again in 5 weeks.
The University of Minnesota’s Traci Mann has spent the last 20 years studying eating, and why people do so much of it. She discovered that physiological changes in the body most often doom diets to failure.
- Increased food sensitivity – When you’re dieting, you notice and respond to food more. You know where that leads.
- Hormonal Changes – The hormones that make you feel full actually decrease when dieting. I did a post about one of the most powerful appetite hormones, Leptin a while back. You can read it here.
- Metabolic Rate Reduction – Your body goes into “I may not get to eat again for a while.” mode. The basal metabolic rate slows to conserve what the body perceives as increasingly scarce energy supplies. Basically, your own body screws your fat loss efforts.
Mann, as university researchers are wont to do these days, penned a book on her dietary discoveries. It’s now out on Amazon (Were the hell else would it be?) “Secrets From the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again”
Yeah, you’ll love that last part!
A Few Easy Diet Plan Fixes
Okay, so scarfing down a pizza and 6-pack won’t get you one. What can you do to beat the “I just fell off my diet” odds? Obviously, asking extreme sacrifices from yourself is typically an e-ticket straight to failure. So that’s the first place to start. While some people can make a sea change right off the bat, most can’t.
Here’s a little cheat that will have you headed in the right direction. Look at what you eat every day. Eliminate the 2 worst offenders, and replace them with something equally delicious, but healthier, less caloric, and more nutritious.
1) Edumucate Yourself. Chill, you don’t have to get a freakin’ PhD in nutrition and food science. Just learn what makes healthy and nutritious food. Heck, you’re on the Internet; there’s no lack of info here.
2) Shorten Your Commitment. Shorten it? While that seems counterproductive, it’s not. It’s all in how you apply it. Commit to eating right for the time it takes you to shop, rather than the the time it takes to avoid eating all the crap you bought. If you don’t buy it, you’re far less likely to eat it. It takes about 30 minutes to commit to eating right while you’re shopping. After that, it’s smooth sailing, compared to having a moment of weakness at the market, then fighting it until your cupboard’s bare.
3) Eat More (Often). Rather than eating three squares, try 6. Really, just make them smaller. With less time between meals, you’re less likely to go overboard when mealtime arrives again. It also gets your stomach used to smaller meals, so you’ll feel full earlier.
4) Eat Slower. Okay, so it’ s pot calling the kettle black time. I’ve been known to eat with breathtaking speed, the kind that makes the waitress gasp when she comes back to check how the meal’s going… and it’s gone. Do as I say, not as I do, I guess. Anyway, eating slower is effective because it gives the “full” signal time to make the arduous trek from your stomach to your brain, before you’ve overfilled it.
Here’s an “eat slower” trick: Renew the lost art of conversation, and don’t talk with your mouth full. Really, your mom told you that about 800 times. It’s still true today; plus, that means you can’t eat and talk, and you’ll eat slower.
5) Eat Lean Protein and Fiber. That combination does two powerful things for you. It fuels your metabolism, making you burn more fat, and keeps you feeling full longer. Many high fiber foods (NOT most high fiber cereal bars; they’re sky-high in sugar) are low in calories, too. That means you’re eating, getting full, and not taking in too many calories.
6) Drink a Glass of Water. Having water a half hour before meals may be the ticket to eating less. Many people are chronically dehydrated. Your body craves moisture and will be happy to take it from food, just as it will liquid. Sometimes hunger is really your body craving moisture, and drinking water a while before meal time will make you eat less. Also, proper hydration is essential for proper brain function, fat burning, and protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is muscle building’s foundation, and muscles are largely good old H2O. Muscle mass drives metabolism, so you want plenty of lean body mass. Drink up!
WATER NOTE: Drink clear, pure water, not diet soft drinks. More research is popping up indicating artificial sweeteners trigger sweetness receptors. They then make you feel hungry, all the while telling your metabolism to slow down. Bad combo! Stick to water.
7) Cut the Booze. Yeah, backin’ off the beer in summer may be a tough thing to do, but your waistline will thank you for it. It’s not just the empty carb calories in alcohol that gets you. There are 2 other effects that sap your fat loss strength too. Metabolizing alcohol occupies your liver, whose other big job is, Ta Da, metabolizing fatty acids! Better keep it focused on that. Making matters worse, new research from Indiana University shows alcohol consumption makes women eat more. From past experience, I’d say it has a similar effect on men.
If sticking to your diet plan is important, give yourself every advantage.
- What’s torpedoed your diet plan(s) most of all?
- What would make dieting easier for you?
- If you could have one weight loss diet, what would it look like?
Let me know, and until next time!