Trying to get fit in today’s world can be a bit overwhelming. There are countless trendy workouts to try, juices to drink, supplements to take — gone are the days of healthy diet + exercise = simple and guaranteed success.
On that note, it could be argued that the most overwhelming part of adopting a healthy lifestyle is deciding which diet plan will work best for you. Unlike workouts, which you can try once and make a judgment, you have to do your research and figure out which healthy meal plans work best with your time available for prep, fitness goals, taste buds, etc. And, you have to give each one at least a few weeks to see if it works before you scratch it and try something new.
To make that process a bit easier, we’ve gathered information on six of the most popular diet plans out there today. You’ll find a description of each one that’ll make it clear whether or not it’s the right fit for your lifestyle. That way, you can try it with a bit more confidence that it’ll help you achieve the results you seek.
Weight Watchers: A restriction-free diet? The Weight Watchers program makes it possible, though you’ll have to watch your portions in order to make this dream a reality. On Weight Watchers, the foods you eat will be assigned a certain point value, and you’ll have an overall number of points you can consume each day in order to achieve your fitness goals.The program has been around since the early 1960s, though it has gone through a recent metamorphosis to encourage participants to move more and choose fruits, vegetables and lean meats over other options that might be lower in both calories but also in nutritional value. For first-time dieters, this might just be the right plan: you’ll learn how to practice portion control and how to work some movement into each day.
21-Day Fix: Some say that it takes 21 days to adopt a healthy habit, and the 21-Day Fix revolves around that idea. National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified trainer Autumn Calabrese created the plan as a way to kick-start her clients’ healthy lifestyle goals, and it seems to have worked: some claim to lose up to 15 pounds on the three-week plan.Once you purchase the starter kit, you’ll be armed with containers designed to portion out your food for you. This does mean that you’ll have to engage in lots of food prep in order to ensure you eat the right number of vegetables, fruits, etc. each day. You’re also encouraged to drink shakes from the Shakeology line, which can be pricey, but supplement your weight-loss goals.The program also comes with a workout schedule, making it a great option if you’re trying to incorporate both a healthy diet and exercise plan into your life.
Paleo Diet: The Paleo Diet takes it way back — the name is short for the Paleolithic era when cavemen roamed the earth. During that time, there wasn’t a fast-food joint or grocery store in sight. Instead, the first men and women on earth would hunt and gather for what they ate.The Paleo Diet takes its cues from this natural lifestyle, though you don’t have to hunt or gather. Instead, you’ll stick to whole foods as consumed by our cave-dwelling ancestors: meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and a bit of healthy fat from coconut or avocado oil. The pros and cons of this lifestyle have been heavily debated, of course, but it’s another option if you think your diet needs to be brought back to basics.
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Whole 30: The Whole 30 diet challenges participants to give up foods that are commonly inflammatory and, as such, can keep weight on your body, cause joint aches, and spike energy levels just to let them crash.On this program, your diet will consist of the basics: some fruits, lots of vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs and healthy fat from oil, fruits, seeds and nuts. Your 30-day plan will not allow you sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or additives likes MSG — these are the inflammatory foods mentioned above.
The Atkins Diet: The Atkins Diet has gone through a renaissance in the eyes of healthcare professionals, as it has been discovered that saturated fats aren’t as detrimental to one’s health as once believed.The diet encourages participants to go low carb for weight loss, staying full with high-fat, high-protein foods instead. After an introductory two-week phase of 20 grams of carbs per day, you can slowly reintroduce some fruits, nuts and other veggies into your plan. Once you reach your goal weight, you can fine-tune how many healthy carbs per day you can eat in order to maintain your new weight and voila.
Mediterranean Diet: There are more beautiful things about Greece, Italy and Spain than the landscape, though these Mediterranean countries have views for days. Their residents adhere to what’s now known as the Mediterranean Diet, though they do so just by habit. You can make it your habit, too, by following its simple tenants.Your diet will revolve around seafood, healthy grains, produce and healthy fats, which falls right in line with the meals you’d have at an authentic Spanish, Italian or Greek restaurant by the sea. Those who follow this sort of meal plan typically weigh less and have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
So, have you figure out which diet is right for you?