I was recently at a barbeque where I met a woman who had lost over 150 pounds–quite an accomplishment! She had drastically modified her diet and made exercise a regular part of her daily routine to reach this goal. The conversation revolved around dieting for a bit and some of the party-goers were talking about how cutting out all dairy is what works, one said don’t eat any sugar–not even fruit, another heard going gluten-free does the trick and so on. The woman who lost the weight spoke up and said she hesitates to suggest anything to anyone because what works for her may not work for someone else. Hmmm …wise words I thought to myself.
Dieting can be a very confusing subject. Ask three different experts what to do and you’ll get three different answers. Gluten-free, vegan, raw food diets, low-carb–it’s enough to frustrate anyone. The thing I agree with is that what works for me may not work for you. It’s not so much that I don’t believe a well-balanced diet won’t work for someone, it’s more that another person’s expectations may be different than my own.
My diet is based around the MyPlate guidelines of making half my plate fruits and vegetables. I have found that over the past two years adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet and substituting them for snacks has gradually resulted in the loss of roughly 20 pounds. While 20 pounds is a significant accomplishment considering I wouldn’t have been classified overweight at the start, it did take me two years to reach this point. Many people want instant results. Instead, I was looking for a healthy lifestyle change I could live with long term, not a quick fix, so this “diet” is the right one for me.
What I would encourage you to look for in any kind of eating plan is to make sure it provides you with the nutrition your body needs to function. If you’re barely eating anything and you’re feeling weak, your body is sending you warning signals that something isn’t right. Cutting out entire food groups can also be concerning unless you’re doing it because of a food allergy (dairy or wheat). If you’re going to do something so extreme, I would recommend you look at what nutrients that food group provides and be certain you’re incorporating them into your diet another way. Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a great section on Creating a Healthy Eating Plan that can help get you started and teaches you about portion control. The right diet should be one that you can live with long term and not have to think too much about. I have found that you really can lose weight, enjoy your food and not feel like you’re starving while you do it!