Weight loss is big business for many companies simply because so many people struggle to lose the weight that seemed too easy to gain. However for the sake of your health and your skinny jeans, the weight that goes on must come off. How you lose that weight is what distinguishes the serious weight loss specimen from the fad dieter.
Weight Loss Diet Plan Basics
A diet plan is simply a collection of tips and ideas that combine into a set of rules otherwise known as a program. Low or no-carb diets are diet plans that limit or completely eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet, for example. There are diet plans that range from the severely restricted such as the no-carb diets to those that are much more flexible including plans that count points or calories without limitations on food items.
A successful diet program is based on a few things:
- How committed you are to that particular plan
- How well the diet plan fits into your lifestyle
- The long-term potential for the plan
- How your body reacts to the diet plan
Committing to Diet Plans
Making a commitment to losing weigh is simple until you’re confronted with your first slice of cheesecake. A diet plan helps you learn to avoid these temptations and gives you a bit more backbone that you likely already possess. Once a diet plan becomes a habit, it is far easier to continue the diet until you reach your ideal weight and level of health. That being said, some plans are much easier to commit to than others.
A plan that asks you to drink a glass of water before every meal isn’t intrusive to your normal lifestyle. On the other hand, a diet plan that requires smoothies and cabbage soup for every meal is a bit more complicated to continue. The more complicated a plan is, the more challenging it will be to stay committed. This goes hand and hand with your lifestyle.
A Dieting Lifestyle
If your life is out of control with no time to exercise and all meals eaten on the go, you’ll have a much harder time finding a plan that sticks than the individual who already enjoys evening walks and gourmet cooking sessions. Fortunately, there are diet plans of every variety that accommodate these individual needs.
The best diets promote your general health and help you find a long-term meal solution rather than a five-pound fix. Drinking smoothies for every meal or fasting is a great way to fit into that special dress on Saturday, but you’ll be back in your sweats by Monday as you eat to compensate for being deprived. The long-term diet is one that you can do day after day without feeling deprived or resorting to binge eating to balance out consuming almost nothing for days on end. The best diets help you learn to eat healthily so that you can keep the weight off once you lose it.
Diets and Your Body
Your body has a mind of its own at times and dieting is one of these times. For many people, women especially, you must try multiple diets and fitness regimes to find one that fits. Metabolism, muscles, digestion and just about everything else varies from person to person, so one plan might work well for your friend, but give you no results whatsoever. The trick is to find the diet plan that works for you.
Weight Loss Diet Meal Plans
A diet can range from a simple list of foods you want to avoid to a more complex points system that counts calories and various indexes. By far the easiest method to losing weight is to simply find the system that does the work for you. The ideal diet plan:
- Measures your food
- Takes into account your likes and dislikes
- Accounts for balanced nutrition
- Includes treats and desserts
- Helps keep you on track with your program
- Has the right number of everything important including calories, grams of fiber and more
Benefits of a Diet Meal Plan
If it is seems too much for you to do the organizing of food and its components, leave the work to the professionals by electing a diet meal plan. The diet meal plan is terrific plan for those who’ve always wanted a personal nutritionist. You have someone telling you what to eat at each meal and possibly even preparing the food on your behalf. The diet meal plan is the ideal weight loss solution for many reasons.
- You know exactly how much of each food item to eat in a meal
- You have confidence that the right mix of nutrients and vitamins are in your meals
- You can skip foods that you don’t like or that don’t agree with you
- Your diet will have natural variety
- You don’t have to do the work of counting anything
- You can prepare (or grab a ready-made container) of food for work or school
- The diet is essentially fool-proof if you stick to the plan
Creating and Keeping the Diet Plan
If you were to meet with a nutritionist or dietician, you’d be able to plan a calendar for each week that has all the right balances of vitamins and nutrients while including the right combination of any and everything else you need for optimum health and weight loss. While few are lucky enough to have someone actively preparing meals on the behalf, you can have a small piece of this luxury through diet meal plans.
The first days of a diet are both the hardest and the simplest. You have to adapt to a new lifestyle, but the newness and energy of the plan are enough to carry you forward as you create delicious home-cooked meals. Soon, however, you might realize that it would far easier to grab a ready-made meal from a drive-through window or the freezer.
This is exactly the point where the diet meal plan supports your weight loss efforts. The plan will account for this dip in enthusiasm and can even include meals that are fresh from the freezer to give you a night, or every night, away from the oven and stove.
Diet Plan Success
You can lose weight in many ways, but the only way you’ll keep it off is by learning to eat healthy, balanced meals. A diet meal plan is the clearest means to doing exactly this by showing you the correct portion size and establishing variety in what could otherwise be a tedious and repetitious food selection.
Healthy Weight Loss Diet Plans
Have you wondered what happens when you completely eliminate one or more food groups? Your body requires a wide range of vitamins and nutrients to be gained from healthy food choices and by skewing the amounts you eat from each group, you’re certainly not doing your body any favors. In fact, you can be doing long-lasting harm.
Unhealthy Diet Plans
Among the worst diet plans, you’ll find:
- Diet plans that completely skew the most basic food requirements by eliminating food groups
- Diet plans that don’t let you eat anything
- Diet plans full of processed foods and sugars
- Diet plans that consist almost solely of drinks and meal bars
- Diet plans that have you eat one or two food items and little else
- Diet plans that train you to rely on certain products for weight loss
- Diet plans that include potentially dangerous supplements
Why Unhealthy Diets Don’t Work
It is little surprise that unhealthy diets don’t work. Sure, you can lose all kinds of weight by drinking apple juice for five days straight, but at the end of five days, while you’re still a bit drunk on the juice, you’ll go a bit crazy at the buffet to make up for the lost calories and nutrients.
In fact, the human body is programmed to feast following famine. It’s an ancient programming that once kept our ancestors alive. When times are lean, ancient man (and especially woman) ate less. When food was plentiful, the ancients feasted to help store up reserves (read: fat) for the next famine. Today our bodies work in the same way.
If you starve your body on a bizarre and unhealthy diet plan, it will enter a time of “starvation,” you will lose weight, but secretly your body is planning to regain those missing nutrients and calories when food is plentiful again. For most of us, this is about day three as we walk past our favorite restaurant. You lost five pounds eating cabbage and gained seven eating steak, potatoes and cherry pie en masse.
The Healthy Diet Plan
The human body is somewhat resistant to losing weight – it prefers to keep a reserve about in case of that famine no matter how unlikely it is anytime soon. So, to help your body lose weight safely, you must first shun any plan that doesn’t…
- Include balanced nutrition
- Offer sensibly sized meals
- Help you learn the right amount and right foods to eat
- Offer you small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism up and burning
- Give you enough energy to make it through your day
The healthy diet plan will not only help you lose weight at a steady pace over a reasonable amount of time, the healthy diet will also linger on as the basis for your new way of living. Learning to eat properly while you diet is absolutely essential to keeping the weight off and living a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Choosing the Best Weight Loss Diet Plan
With such a huge number of diet programs available, making the right choice can be a challenge. There is little wonder some women have tried over two dozen diets without success when you consider how ridiculous some diet plans really are when viewed from a health perspective. Choosing the right diet program is really a mixture of health and lifestyle.
Determine Your Dieting Goals
If you’re considering a diet, you’re obviously planning to lose weight. But look a bit deeper than that – why are losing weight? How much weight are you trying to lose? Is this a new development or something you’ve been working on for years? Yo-yo dieters will have different needs than the woman facing her high school reunion or trying to lose ten pounds of baby weight.
Losing a Little
If you’re trying to bring back some room in the waistband of your pants, you need only a couple of weeks to make a difference. Bloat and water retention can make a huge difference when it’s a matter of a few pounds that has you concerned. Find diets that eliminate sodium and processed foods. Opt for plans that help to detoxify the body and remove stored water and other waste. You can easily lose five pounds or less in a week if you combine this style of diet with exercise.
Losing a Lot
When you have substantially more than five pounds to lose however, you need more than a juice fast. You need a lifestyle change. The best diets for losing large amounts of weight:
- Include healthy food choices
- Include foods from every food group
- Encourage exercise and provide energy for it
- Encourage variety
- Set portion sizes
- Encourage healthy eating habits long-term
There are many choices that fit these criteria, although they are still different in design. It is surprisingly easy to remove the unhealthy diet options. You’ll then need to consider only the remaining choices. When choosing between the various other diet programs, you’ll need to consider:
- What is involved in food preparation? You might not be able to cook every day or even have access to a microwave at times.
- What do you need to learn to make the diet work? Will you need to learn to calculate an index or number of points for every item you eat? Are you okay with that?
- Will you be able to buy all your food already prepared and packaged? Does it travel?
- Do you like the foods offered in the meal plans?
The more adaptable a diet plan is to your lifestyle, the more successful it will be. If you travel, you need a plan that travels with you. If you love to cook, look for a plan that will teach you new, healthier recipes to help your whole family find a new way of eating.
Try, Try Again
There is not a single toothpaste that is right for every person in the world, and likewise there is not a single diet plan that works well for every dieter. If the plan you selected doesn’t work the way you’d like or you find yourself losing ground, try some variation or a completely new program until you find the one that makes sense for you.
Weight Loss Diet Plan FAQ
Diets come with plenty of questions as you struggle to find the right plan to meet your individual needs. Get answers to the most common diet plan questions here.
Which diet plan is best to lose weight fast?
That depends on your goal in losing weight. Are you trying to fit into a bridesmaid dress after enjoying yourself too much over the past two weeks? Try fasting or even colon cleansing to reduce the bloating and pouch caused by overindulgence. If you’re looking to jumpstart a long-term weight loss plan, however, you’d do well to pick a plan that you plan to use for the duration. Eat the minimum amount of food under the plan that still meets you body’s needs and drink up to a gallon of water a day. This will help flush away stored fluids and give your weight loss a running start.
What is a healthy amount of weight to lose while dieting?
If you are working to lose a large amount of weight, experts advise you focus on 10% of your total weight at a time. Just losing this much has tremendous health benefits. If you weigh 160 pounds, work to lose 16 pounds to see huge health improvements. Then set a new intermediate goal and keep working. The first week of weight loss, five pounds is considered healthy and 1-2 pounds per week following that is ideal. Be sure to check to find the healthy weight range for your height to set a reasonable weight loss goal.
How do I pick the right diet plan?
The right diet plan for you depends on lots of things. Consider your attitudes toward food, your ability to cook at home, your need for prepackaged food, your desire to count points or calories, any food items you don’t normally eat, and your long-term goals.
The right diet plan is one that works for you mind and body, helps you lose weight in a healthy and gradual way, and teaches you the best ways to eat after you’ve reached your goal so that you don’t gain the weight back again.
How many calories should I eat?
Different diet plans will offer different ideas on this according to their own program. However, you can get a rough idea by finding your minimum number of daily calories according to age, height and weight and then accounting for your level of daily activity. The resulting number is your minimum number of calories to eat every day – don’t eat less than this number or your body will suffer. You can find this using a BMR calculator.
Are diet plans safe?
That depends on the diet plan. A diet plan that includes healthy food choices and well-balanced meals is very safe. In fact, it’s probably safer than your current diet.
Do I have to exercise with a diet plan?
Do you have to exercise? No. Should you exercise? Yes. Exercise will help you burn additional calories to lose weight faster. Exercise will also help you tone muscle so that you appear more physically fit and have more muscle to help burn fat as well, even at rest.
Weight Loss Diet Plan Tips
Losing weight successfully can be a long and bumpy road. Learning to navigate the road is simply part of the deal if you want to arrive at your goal weight. Learning dieting tips along the way can smooth out at least a few of the larger bumps.
Drink Lots and Lots of Water
Water helps your weight loss in many ways. The two most prominent are the feeling of fullness you get with a belly full of water and the flushing effect water has. Drinking a full glass of water before every meal and snack will help you feel full leading to less food eaten. The water will also help to flush out toxins and retained water keeping bloating to a minimum.
Skip the Meal Bars and Shakes
When possible, skip meal bars and shakes when possible. These are often loaded with fructose, a type of sugar, which will make you crave more sweets. If you want a diet shake, you’d do far better to make your own using skim milk and any fruit ingredients you’d like. Basic granola bars or whole grain cereal and trail mix are far healthier than the average meal bar.
Make Meals on the Weekends
The weekdays are the hardest for those trying to lose weight. Use the weekends to make meals and freeze or place them in the refrigerator for use later in the week. This way you have a healthy meal ready to pop into the oven when you walk in the door and you can skip the temptation of take-out or fatty comfort foods. The weekends are also a good time to try out new healthy diet recipes.
Find a Support System
It’s hard to lose weight alone, so find a buddy to lose weight with. Having a weight loss buddy helps to keep you accountable for everything you’re doing in both food and exercise. If you can, exercise with your buddy every morning or evening to give you both time to move your body and time to talk about the tougher parts of weight loss and dieting.
Sure, it will be great when you reach the ultimate goal, but don’t wait until then to get a nice reward. When you hit a smaller size or intermediate goal, indulge in a new outfit or get a bit of pampering such as a massage or manicure. The little treats are a pat on the back to remind yourself how well you’ve done.
Set Small Goals
You can lose 40 pounds over time or by losing 10 pounds 4 times. Smaller goals help to make the process go more smoothly and help to keep you motivated. 40 pounds might be months away, but you can hit that first 10 in a matter of three to six weeks – and when you do, celebrate your success!
Know Your Target Weight
In your enthusiasm for weight loss, be sure you know how much weight you’re supposed to be losing. Talk to your doctor or look online to find your ideal weight range for your height and bone structure. Set a goal within this range for the best results.