The Atkins diet, the FAST diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Cheat diet, the grapefruit diet, the Mediterranean diet, the list goes on and on. Are you confused yet?
Everyone has an opinion on how you can best lose weight. Try this diet or that one and the weight simply melts off. If all these diets work as advertised, why is the obesity rate rising so dramatically in most developed countries?
And with rising obesity rates comes increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Hey, I know what you’re going through. I’ve been on lots of diets through the years. I’ve tried so many different diets my sister once called me a diet junkie. I was always looking for the secret, the one thing that would make the difference and open the flood gates to my fat loss.
When I was about 38, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune hypothyroidism. I was thrilled to find out why I was gaining weight. Now all I had to do was start taking thyroid pills and the weight would disappear, right? Actually, no. I stopped gaining additional weight, but the extra pounds? I guess they were quite happy in their new home around my middle and had no intentions of leaving. Apparently more drastic measures would be required.
Regular exercise helped me drop a few pounds, the majority of the weight stayed put. So, I did what any self-respecting woman would do, I dieted! I did the cabbage soup diet, I counted calories, I counted carbs, I counted fat. I read nutritional labels like they were gospel. I cut back on portions. I cut back on meals. The more I tried to lose the weight, the hungrier, crankier, and more stressed I got.
So, I took a step back and thought maybe I’m just not doing this right. Other people lose weight all the time. Maybe I need more structure. So I went on a diet where you bought the prepackaged food. You were supposed to eat their food and add your own 200-250 calories a day with sugar-free jello or fruit, that kind of stuff. It took over two years to lose 26 pounds, so I guess I still wasn’t’ doing it right, but at least the weight came off. I was finally at my goal weight!
Six months later, I needed a hysterectomy. Instant menopause. And you’ll never guess who found me. Yeah, it was those extra pounds around my middle! This time I was determined to get the weight off and keep it off. It had to be more than a short term diet, it had to be a way of eating for the rest of my life. Back to the diet section of the bookstore.
This time, I tried the 17 Day Diet. How did I choose that diet? The book was on sale, it was a place to start. In the first five days, I lost five pounds, but I couldn’t stick with it. I did learn something incredibly important. This was the first diet I tried that was gluten free, which was why I couldn’t stick with it. I craved my breads too much. But I learned I was gluten intolerant. That’s why the other diets didn’t work for me.
It took six long months, but I did kick my gluten habit. When I finally went gluten free, I lost ten pounds. I tried a paleo diet and lost another 20 pounds. It took less than three months to lose 30 pounds and I was never hungry.
So what’s the moral of this story? Well, I’m not saying you have to go gluten free. I’m not saying you have to follow a paleo diet. I AM saying you have to figure out if food intolerances are keeping you from losing weight.
If you don’t have any food intolerances or allergies, just about any diet will help you lose weight if you follow two rules:
- Don’t eat any processed food. If it comes in a bag, a box, or can and has more than 2-3 ingredients, don’t eat it.
- Eat at least 4 to 6 cups of vegetables every day. They can be fresh, frozen or canned, but fill up on veggies. Dr. Sara Gottfried suggest aiming for two pounds a day! I’m being conservative at 4-6 cups.
That’s it. Those are the only rules you have to follow on my diet. I could give you the science behind it, but you don’t really need all that. Just don’t eat processed food and load up on vegetables.
And that’s the only diet you’ll ever need. Let me know how it works for you! See you next week.