Are you embarking on a weight loss journey or taking steps towards living a healthier lifestyle?
One of my main goals, year after year, is to live a healthier lifestyle- by adding a regular fitness routine, eating healthier, and reducing the amount of toxins that are in my life.
Some of these require more baby steps than others, but the overall goal will be worth it in the end. I should also add that living a healthier lifestyle is an ongoing goal and not one that I’d like to stop once I’ve reached it.
So I want to look for a food change, not a short-term diet solution.
For me, that begins with understanding different types of diets.
Why weight loss is more than just your diet
Normally, when I thought of the word diet I associated it with losing weight.
Of course, I realize that it goes beyond that and that diets for weight loss are only one type of diet out there.
First, let me say, I love food. So, any type of diet that’s going to separate me from my food- that’s not on my list and not even in the scope of possibility. That being said, I’d also like to reduce the amount of junk food that I consume. Which, in reality, isn’t a lot. But, at the same time, I also know that I could be eating healthier if I just tried.
Second, let me add: I am not a nutritionist, not a health professional, not a medical doctor. The information contained within this post is merely for entertainment purposes and not meant to replace the advice of a certified professional.
Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s look at those diets (and why I would probably fail them if I tried them) and please also keep in mind, that any diet that requires purchasing additional products (ex. Nutrisystem, Atkins, etc.) is not being included. If you would like a comprehensive overview of Atkins, I would invite you to take a look at this piece from Jen’s Reviews.
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Diets
Types of Diets: Restrictive
Macrobiotic Diet: Grains, most vegetables, and soups are encouraged on this diet. Food restrictions include: dairy, eggs, poultry, processed foods, refined sugars, and meats, along with tropical fruits, fruit juice, and certain vegetables like asparagus, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Mom’s Bottom Line: I could never do this. Spinach, tomatoes, eggs, dairy, and poultry are staples in my diet and I can’t give them up right now.
Raw Food Diet: This diet is all about going straight to the source. Fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, seeds, and nuts are the main source of this diet. Food restrictions: anything cooked above 118 degrees.
Mom’s Bottom Line: No, no, and no. While I have no doubt that this diet could work wonderfully for some, it wouldn’t work for me. I don’t mind the occasional fruit/veggie smoothie packed with an additional chia seed punch. But 24/7? Nope.
Gluten Free Diet: This diet aims to help those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance and has also helped individuals with autism. Main restriction: gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and grain. One of the biggest problems used to be finding gluten free products, but with more and more people choosing to go gluten free or going gluten free for health reasons, the availability of products has really picked up in the past few years.
Mom’s Bottom Line: This is one that we’ve actually considered for Sweet B’s autism. I’ve read a lot about going gluten free and the health benefits for the entire family- not just the family member with autism.
Vegetarian Diet: (not to be confused with Vegan). This diet does include variations such as lacto-ovo (which restricts meat, fish, and poultry) but still includes dairy and eggs. Main restrictions: meat.
Mom’s Bottom Line: I was actually a vegetarian for six months of my young life. My mom and I made the decision and we actually did pretty good with it… until we were in Los Angeles for the Final Four (women’s college basketball). It wasn’t until the drive back, we were starving and stopped at the first restaurant that we could find. Said restaurant just so happened to be a steak house. We were doomed.
Vegan Diet: This diet is similar, in what it allows, to the Raw Foods diet. But you aren’t restricted to not cooking your food. The main food restrictions for this diet: meat and all animal byproducts.
Mom’s Bottom Line: I’ve had vegan snacks before and they’re pretty tasty. But I can’t go without cheese, so this diet just isn’t for me.
Paleo Diet: This diet harkens back to the days of hunter/gatherers. I have quite a few friends who follow this diet and they love it. Food restrictions include: wheat, dairy, grains, legumes, and processed foods.
Mom’s Bottom Line: My love for eggs and cheese would probably keep me from this diet, but if it meant a healthier me- I just might be willing to give it a shot.
Low Carb or Keto: A low–carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It is high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables.
Mom’s bottom line: I have tried to cut back on my carb intake. I think it’s making a difference!
(and yes, I realize there are diets that I’m leaving off, just wanted to touch the main few- or at least some highlights.)
Types of Diets: Non Restrictive
Clean Eating: I know someone who does this and they’re also the person responsible for introducing me to quinoa. I love the concept behind clean eating. You aren’t restricted by food groups and the foods you avoid are pretty common sense.
Mom’s Bottom Line: This is something that I think we could definitely do, we’re already eating mostly like this anyway, just a matter of working in the rest of the aspects. Clean eating appeals to me though and it’s something I might be able to get behind.
Flexitarian Diet: This one is not one that I know a lot about. From what I’ve read, you’re pretty much a vegetarian but if you feel the urge to have that burger or steak, you can have one occasionally.
Mom’s Bottom Line: I like this because it still allows you to indulge. For us, however, we eat too much meat and poultry to really give it up.
TLC Diet: This is another diet that I don’t know a lot about. I wasn’t quite sure if I should put it here or with the restrictive diets since eating a lot of red meat is discouraged. The main goal for this diet is to lower your cholesterol levels.
Mom’s Bottom Line: I’d have to read more about this before making a decision
The Mayo Clinic Diet: This diet touts itself as a weight loss and lifestyle program. While not restrictive in terms of disallowing food groups, this diet does maintain moderation.
Mom’s Bottom Line: This is another diet that I’d have to read more about before making a decision.
There are other diets out there that weren’t covered for various reasons.
I won’t cover fad diets or diets that just don’t make sense to me. And as stated previously, I didn’t cover dieting programs such as Atkins, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, etc. because I just don’t have the time or resources to try those diets.
The main reason I wanted to get this post out there was a point of reference for myself and also to maybe help others. If you did find this post useful, please let me know.
Have you tried any of the diets listed? Are you currently dieting using another program? How is your experience going?