Different ways to lose weight: 10 diet options for 2016

There are so many different ways to lose weight, but which diet should you choose? It is time to make new resolutions for 2016 and it is SO time to start a new diet. I mean really.

Different ways to lose weight

I don’t know what it is about Christmas (or what the heck, whole December) that makes me eat so much! And the amount of food I eat is actually not the worst part, it is all the cravings… I start the day promising not to eat anything sweet but then I go to work and somebody’s brought in a large box of chocolate. Can you actually say no?

I think this is the time of the year when we start to shift our focus to next summer. We would really like to fit into our old summer clothes or perhaps buy some new ones a couple of sizes smaller, right? And we are so fed up with eating crap we just want to start a healthy lifestyle, right?

Good. That is exactly why I’ve compiled a list of 10 diet options for you to choose from for 2016. I’ll tell you what each diet is all about, its pros and cons – in my opinion, you are free to disagree, just leave a comment 🙂 – and what kind of person each diet is good for.

This post contains affiliate links. Ignore them if you wish 🙂 If you order something through the link, then I will get a small fee – there’s no difference to the price you pay.

Ready? Let’s go:

What different ways to lose weight are there?

I bet right now there are a lot of people looking for the quickest or easiest way to lose weight.

I’m sure we all agree that the best way to lose weight isn’t the fastest way to lose weight. But then I do not think that weight loss should be particularly slow either: we need results to stay motivated. I think the bottom line is and should be:

The easiest way to lose weight is the one that works for you.

You need to find a diet that:

  1. You feel comfortable following
  2. You see results with.

Nobody can tell you which diet that is. You’ll just have to find that out yourself. If you absolutely love bread, pasta and potatoes then the paleo diet which forbids them is probably not the best diet for you. Take a look at Weight Watchers. Do you love your steaks? Consider Atkins diet.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying something completely different either! If your current diet makes you feel tired and cranky (in addition to fat and miserable) it might be the time to take a big leap and try something new.  At worst you’ll be bad-tempered for a while, at best it will change your life.

Here are 10 diet options for you to choose from (in no particular order). Go ahead and see how they work for you!

Weight Watchers

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The diet rules in a nutshell

There’s been a very recent change to Weight Watchers program: you are now tracking SmartPoints instead of PointsPlus. It’s called Beyond the Scale and the idea is that you focus on overall health instead of just the number on the scale. You are basically allowed to eat what you want as long as you stay within the amount of SmartPoints that are customized to you according to several factors including gender, sex and weight.

You also get FitPoints for the amount of exercise you do each week.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • You’ll learn moderation in this diet because you can eat all your favorite perhaps-not-so-healthy food, just in smaller portions and less frequently.
  • This diet will give some structure and strict guidelines yet at the same time it gives you a lot of freedom to choose what you eat.
  • Weight Watchers guides towards a healthier diet by sanctioning more points on food options that have saturated fat or sugar and by giving free points for fruit and vegetables
  • I like the fact that they are now focusing on getting healthy instead of just losing the weight
  • You can choose the kind of support you want for your weight loss process: from online courses and digital tools to meetings and coaching.

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • Weight Watchers diet tends to be very carbohydrate heavy which isn’t great for your insulin and blood sugar.
  • The diet sanctions fat too heavily to my liking: this can lead to people cutting too much healthy fat from their diet
  • The diet sanctioned protein too heavily to my liking: this can lead to people losing weight from their muscles instead of fat deposits and problems in gaining muscle when the body is lacking the building blocks. This might have however changed a bit during this recent update to SmartPoints. Apparently lean protein is now getting fewer points than before.

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Likes to eat what is considered “normal food” whatever that is these days 🙂

You don’t want to give up bread, potatoes or chocolate – you just want to learn to have everything in moderation.

More information

Official Weight Watchers web site

Inspirational Weight Watchers success story

 

Alkaline Diet

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The diet rules in a nutshell

Alkaline diet is all about pH levels: You have to make sure you maintain a healthy pH level by finding the balance between acid and alkaline food.

Foods to avoid are the acid producing grains, dairy, sugar, meat, fish and processed food. 20 – 40 % of your diet should consist of acid producing food.

Instead you should have plenty (aim for 60 – 80 % of your diet) of alkaline producing foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.

You can test your pH level by using pH test strips.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • Alkaline diet focuses on plant based fruits and vegetables.
  • It promotes whole foods while avoiding sugar and processed food.
  • I find this diet very interesting – that’s a good point isn’t it?

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • The diet is very restrictive – you have to be very motivated to follow it
  • This diet is only about the food we eat, there’s no exercise plan
  • You would have to lean heavily to tofu and beans for protein – too heavily in my opinion.
  • This diet doesn’t have a lot of scientific evidence behind it. Apparently our diet has very little effect on the pH levels of our blood.

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Feels strongly about this ideology and is happy to have a mainly vegetarian diet.

More information

Acid alkaline diet for dummies

Five easy steps to an alkaline diet

Alkaline and acid food charts

 

Paleo

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The diet rules in a nutshell

When people talk about paleo (or paleolithic) diet, they are talking about having a similar diet to the one our ancestors had thousands and thousands of years ago. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use spices or other modern ingredients or kitchen appliances of today. Instead, the key idea behind paleo diet is just that our bodies are still not adapted to the processed food that we are so accustomed to eating these days. We should nourish our bodies with food that our body needs.

On paleo diet, you should mainly eat:

  • meat, poultry, fish and other seafood, eggs
  • fruits, berries and vegetables
  • healthy fats (for example butter, coconut oil, olive oil)
  • nuts and seeds.

On paleo diet, you should not eat:

  • Grains (cereal grains, potatoes, rice)
  • Dairy (different opinions on this one though, try to leave it out first and see how you feel)
  • Legumes
  • Processed food
  • Sugar

There are several paleo diet plans that have mainly the same rules, for example Primal  and Whole30 (I just did this a while ago – see my Whole30 results).

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • This diet focuses on eating natural whole foods
  • You will add a lot of vegetables to your diet
  • You don’t have to count anything
  • You won’t be hungry on this diet

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • If you want to fully embrace paleo lifestyle, you should buy a lot of organic/pastured/grass-fed produce and that can be expensive
  • This diet requires you to cook a lot
  • Paleo diet is quite a restrictive diet
  • If you are a vegetarian, you will have to put a lot of thought in getting all the essential vitamins and minerals from your diet

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Likes to eat natural foods and focus on health. You should try this diet if you suspect that either dairy or grains might be causing you some health issues.

More information

Books: The Primal Blueprint, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, The Paleo Solution

Robb Wolf’s site on paleo diet

Primal rules on Mark’s Daily Apple

Nerd Fitness information on paleo diet

Whole30 program rules

 

5:2 Diet

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The diet rules in a nutshell

5:2 Diet, also known as Fast Diet, is using the intermittent fasting technique for weight loss results. On this diet, you will eat just as usual for 5 days of the week and on two days of the week you restrict your calories to about 500 calories a day  if you’re a woman or 600 calories a day if you’re a man.

You can choose the days you decide to fast yourself, just make sure there’s at least one non-fasting day between them.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • You can still eat your old favorite foods on a weekly basis
  • It is quite easy to restrict your food for two days when you can eat as you normally would the rest of the week
  • 5:2 diet doesn’t restrict you socially – you can choose the two fasting days however you will
  • The rules of this diet are very simple
  • There are some scientifically proven health benefits to intermittent fasting

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • 5:2 diet doesn’t really steer you towards making healthier choices during the five days of the week when you can basically eat whatever you want
  • You will feel the lack of energy at least in the beginning of this diet
  • There’s a danger you might go binge-eating after a day of fasting
  • Fasting two whole days a week sounds quite radical

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Doesn’t want to give up their favorite foods but still wants to lose weight. You have to be willing to be strict twice a week, but that’s it.

More information

Books: The Fast Diet

The official 5:2 diet site

Meal plan ideas for 5:2 fasting days

5:2 diet success stories

 

DASH Diet

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The diet rules in a nutshell

The DASH diet is a diet promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the US. The word DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, so this diet was created for health purposes but it works for weight loss as well. The DASH diet has actually been nominated the “best overall diet” by the U.S. News – five years in a row.

The DASH diet focuses on lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean meat, fish, whole grains, beans and nuts. If you start this diet, you probably have to cut back on sodium (salt), sugar, fat and red meat.

You are basically counting servings on different food groups. If you want to try this diet you should first check your estimated calories on DASH program. After that you can take a look at the number of servings that you can have each day on that amount of calories.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • It isn’t too restrictive to follow as it doesn’t cut out any major food groups
  • It might be easier for some people to make just small changes to their diet
  • DASH diet will probably lower your blood pressure because you have less sodium in your diet

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • This diet sounds a bit boring
  • It doesn’t have a clear and easy structure to follow
  • DASH diet has historically been very carbohydrate heavy – I understand that there are also more modern versions of the diet that have fixed some of this “problem”

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Wants to eat “normal” home-cooked food, just a healthier version of it.

More information

DASH diet guidelines

DASH diet shopping list

Help planning DASH meals

 

Jenny Craig

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The diet rules in a nutshell

On Jenny Craig diet you will be eating prepackaged calorie-controlled meals until you reach your target weight. You will have six smaller meals a day. You can add some fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy to these ready-made meals.

Once you reach your goal weight, you should slowly start to cook your food and manage your portion sizes yourself.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • You get the whole diet package on this one: prepackaged food, workout plan, support and online tools
  • The diet meets most of the USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s) Dietary Guidelines – some of you will consider this a positive thing, some negative. I try to be objective 🙂
  • This diet is easy to follow because you don’t have to make a lot of food choices, they are made for you

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • This diet isn’t cheap: You’ll be paying $15 – $23 a day for the prepackaged food, that’s $450 – $690 a month plus the monthly fee
  • I’m not sure if you really learn a lot about healthy choices because you don’t really have to make a lot of choices on this diet

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Prefers to get ready-made meals so they do not have to spend so much time preparing and cooking healthy meals or making difficult choices while grocery shopping while on a diet.

More information

The official Jenny Craig site

Jenny Craig success story

 

Slim Fast

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The diet rules in a nutshell

Slim Fast combines home cooking and ready-made products: You will be preparing a 500 calorie (in the UK: 600 calorie for women, 800 calorie for men) dinner each night, but replacing you breakfast, lunch and snacks with Slim Fast shakes and bars.
The Slim Fast has a “3-2-1” diet plan. These numbers stand for three 100 calorie snacks, two 200 calorie meal replacements (shakes, smoothies or bars) and the one above mentioned dinner a day.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • It is very simple – you have limited choice of what to eat so it’s easy to follow
  • Even though there are meal replacement you still stay in touch with home cooked food as you prepare your dinner daily
  • You only have to count the calories of your dinner, no other math

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • This diet doesn’t teach much about a healthy food and lifestyle
  • Instead of whole food you eat a lot of produced food in the form of meal replacements

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Doesn’t LOVE food, just wants it to be convenient. If you love cooking and eating out – you better try something else.

More information

Official Slim Fast website (US)

Official Slim Fast website (UK)

 

Dukan diet

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The diet rules in a nutshell

The Dukan diet consists of four different phases:

  1. The Attack phase: You can eat as much protein (there are 68 protein foods to choose from) as you can. You should also have 1,5 tablespoons of oat bran and at least 6 cups (1,5 liters) of water a day. This phase lasts 2 – 7 days.
  2. The Cruise phase: You alternate between Pure Protein days (like the ones you had on Attack phase) and Proteins and Vegetables days. On Proteins and Vegetables days you will have a 100 allowed food list to choose from as you can add 32 non-starchy vegetables to the before mentioned protein. You should have 2 tablespoons of oat bran a day. This phase lasts until you reach your True Weight.
  3. The Consolidation phase: You now have a Protein and Vegetables day every day and can have a serving of lamb and roast pork a week. You also start slowly adding some fruit, bread, cheese and “celebration meals” to your diet. You should continue taking 2 tablespoons of oat bran.
  4. The Stabilization phase: You will have one Pure Protein day a week. On other days you can eat what you want. You should however still take 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day and take the stairs whenever possible.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • Dukan diet is certainly well planned and structured
  • It is a long term weight loss plan
  • You probably will get results quite quickly because of Pure Protein days

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • Wow, is this diet complicated or what?
  • Having just protein on so many days for so long doesn’t sound that healthy to me

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Really isn’t into carbohydrates because you will have to live pretty much without them for several weeks or months if you have more than a couple of pounds to lose. I’m sure oat bran doesn’t count as carbs to someone who loves their pasta and potatoes.

More information

Books: The Dukan Diet

The Official Dukan diet website (UK)

The Official Dukan diet website (US/Canada)

Dukan diet success story

Calorie counting

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The diet rules in a nutshell

The idea of calorie counting is to reduce the amount of energy you get from food: To eat fewer calories a day than your body burns.

The theory behind this diet is simple math:

One pound of fat equals 3500 calories so in order to lose a pound you need to create a deficit of 3500 calories.

For example: If you want to lose 2 pounds a week you need to eat 7000 calories less a week. You can do this by eating less, working out more or both. The “easiest” way is to do both. Create a deficit of 500 calories by eating that much less food and burn 500 calories through exercise (that is a long walk) each day.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • You will probably soon start making healthier choices because it will enable you to eat more
  • This diet isn’t too restrictive – you can eat whatever you want as long as it’s within your daily calories
  • This diet doesn’t exclude other diets – you can eat paleo style or weight watchers style and still count calories if you wish
  • You get to eat more if you exercise
  • There are a lot of free apps for easy calorie counting

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • It penalizes healthy fats very heavily as they have so many calories
  • You might turn to diet drinks (have a soda addiction?) for a zero calorie treat – I’ve been there…
  • It is easy to start to eat too little – you have to make sure you eat all your calories
  • I don’t fully agree that losing weight is just calories in, calories out

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Likes to keep track of things. People who are particularly organized will flourish on this diet.

More information

An in-depth article on counting calories for weight loss

What it’s like to count calories: a post from a calorie counter

Calorie counter success story

 

Low FODMAP

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The diet rules in a nutshell

The low FODMAP diet was designed to help people with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms. The name stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols – molecules that are poorly digested and absorbed by some people and that you should avoid while on this diet.

While on this diet you should avoid foods that contain galacto-oligosaccharides (for example some legumes), fructans (such as onions), a lot of fructose (like honey and mango), lactose (milk) and polyols (apples, sorbitol, xylitol). The reason you avoid these is that they ferment in your gut and cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

You should first eliminate these molecules from your diet (or at least reduce) for 2 – 8 weeks and then bring them back one by one so that you’ll see which products create the discomfort. This will give you the opportunity to see if you have any food intolerances. It is best to do this diet under the supervision of a dietitian.

Hmm, this diet seems good because

  • There is scientific background to this: If you suffer from IBS this diet will probably ease your symptoms
  • If you suffer from bloating, you might get a flatter tummy by following this diet

Hmm, I have my doubts about this diet because

  • Whether you lose weight on this diet or not depends on what choices you make to replace FODMAP food
  • You will have to seriously restrict your diet for a while on low FODMAP diet

This diet is good for the kind of person who

Suffers from IBS symptoms.

More information

Books: The Complete Low-FODMAP diet

Information on low FODMAP diet

Low FODMAP diet food list

Low FODMAP diet success story

 

Bonus: Body for Life and Mediterranean diet

Now there are two more diet programmes that I’ve written about before so I won’t cover them in detail here again.

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Take a look at how I feel about the Body for Life programme.

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Read all the information I’ve written about the Mediterranean diet.

 

Dieting in general

Dieting has a bad name these days. I often hear people saying that they don’t believe in diets. I’m not sure I know what that means. I mean I do get what they mean by that but it doesn’t really make sense to me.

When you are overweight and want to lose weight you need to make a diet plan. You do! Yes, it better be a lifestyle change but by giving it another name doesn’t change the fact that you are changing your diet. Health aspect of a diet is obviously important to me so as you noticed I did not list above diets that I think are very unhealthy. In fact I think all of these diets work for right people.

I think that it’s a good idea to start a diet programme. It will give you structure and knowledge on how a healthy diet plan makes you feel. After you have “completed” a programme, it will be easier to make it a lifestyle. You always pick something new up and incorporate into your lifestyle for good.

When you have more experience and already know what works for you and what doesn’t it’s easier to build your own diet. And yes, it’s still a diet even when it becomes a permanent lifestyle.

Make 2016 a year that changes everything

I suppose that’s the challenge I would like to give to anybody reading this post: If you want to lose weight, make 2016 the year that you’ll find a diet and lifestyle that works for YOU! For good.

And please remember to always speak with your doctor before starting a new diet – just to make sure that he/she thinks it might work for you too.

Share this post with your friends and family and write a comment below – I would love to hear what your plans are for year 2016 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Different ways to lose weight: 10 diet options for 2016

  1. Great article!

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