Here we are again on the eternal quest to lose three pounds and attain the bodies we had when we first thought we were fat at age, like, 13. Unfortunately, the world of weight loss can be a complicated one, what with pills, flashy commercials, fake news, and Instagram models telling us to chug laxative tea and work out 20 hours per day to attain our dream bods. Going on a fad diet won’t work, but adopting a lifestyle change and actual diet that you don’t go off of after four weeks will help you in the long run with weight loss, heart health, cholesterol, and more. Luckily, we found a few diets that work, and won’t make you hungry all the time.
The main thing you’ll notice about all of our top five best diets that work is that none of them cut out an entire food group, limit calories to ridiculous amounts, or tell you to continually eat one type of food group over and over again (I see you, grapefruit diet). Tbh, they’re not really diets so much as they are lifestyle changes. They’re all varied, allow you to splurge in places, and are something you can stick with through the best of times (like winter when sweaters cover our arms) and the worst of times (when Tinder bae ghosts you and ice cream becomes your bff).
These are the best diets—that aren’t really diets in the way you’re thinking—that are worth sticking to.
1. Mediterranean Diet
According to Pure Wow, the Mediterranean diet works because it aids in heart health, focuses on all the right food groups and allows you to splurge once in awhile. The “diet” is really just focusing your eating on veggies, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and mostly seafood as opposed to red meat. Plus, you’re saying “nope” to butter and using olive oil in most recipes, so there isn’t as much saturated fat sitting around waiting to f*ck your sh*t up. The best part is that, yes, you can have (and are encouraged to drink) wine with dinner, plus fruit-based desserts here and there. Note: This does not include drinking an entire bottle of red alone while nursing a pint of strawberry ice cream. Sorry
2. Nordic Diet
Eat lots of fish, berries, whole grains, and vegetables to live like the Vikings do, minus the raping and pillaging! According to Harvard Health, following the Nordic diet won’t only help you live a healthier (and probs slimmer) lifestyle, it could also help lower the risk of stroke later on. Like the Mediterranean diet, the Nordic diet limits red meat in favor of fish, tells you to keep your hands out of the cookie jar (and maybe don’t eat so much dessert in general), and advises against processed crap, so say adieu to the morning Danishes and late night pizza rolls.
3. Cooking Light Diet
If you’re familiar with Cooking Light at all, you know that the whole aim is to eat the foods you want, prepared in a way that won’t completely ruin your relationship with your scale or pants. Recipes are created to keep calories minimal but flavor to the max (sorry). The best part of this diet is that you still get to cook and be creative with your meals without adding in all the extra fat. You can go all in and, like, pay to do it (which includes a plan for you, diet tips, reminders to exercise, etc.) or you can just peruse the site for tons of recipes that are low in calories but still satisfying. It’s a great lifestyle plan for those of us that hate being on an official restrictive diet, love to cook, and want to learn to make a healthier mac n cheese (CAN I LIVE).
4. Flexitarian Diet
You’re basically becoming a flexible vegetarian with this one. The best part is that you can claim not to eat meat and pretend to be better than all of your friends when you’re out. The even better part is that as soon as you get home, you can totally inhale a small chicken or plate of fish. Since you’re limiting your meat intake, you’re encouraged to eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, which are good for you anyway. According to Red Book Magazine, “vegetarian and vegan diets typically lead to weight loss … you’ll see results from being a flexitarian, too. Studies show that those who are mostly vegetarian or vegan have a lower BMI than full-on meat-eaters.”
5. DASH Diet
According to US News, “the DASH Diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to do exactly that: stop (or prevent) hypertension, aka high blood pressure. It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber.” So, yeah, eat healthy and chill on the crappy food like cheese, ice cream, sleeves of Oreos, and triple smothered fried chicken, and you’ll be well on your way to a newer, healthier you.
Images: Brooke Lark / Unsplash; Giphy (2)
The ever-present desire to lose three pounds is like the quest for El Dorado—fleeting and seemingly always just out of reach. If you’re one of the literally millions of betches trying to get in shape, lose a few pounds, and get healthier, we’re here to help. But many of us have experienced the frustration of ramping up our exercise routines, cutting carbs and calories, and still not losing any significant weight.
There are lots of sneaky reasons why you’re not losing weight and sweatpants are all that fits you right now, and being familiar with what may be sabotaging your health goals can help you overcome them and become the hottest betch at the gym.
1. You Are, But In A Weird Way
If you’ve upped the intensity of your workouts, are eating healthy, and sticking to your goals but either not losing weight or gaining, it could be that you’re actually gaining muscle at the same time you’re losing fat. “It is a good idea to use something other than the scale to gauge your progress,” says Healthline. “For example, measure your waist circumference and get your body fat percentage measured once per month.” So, yes, check the scale here and there, but keep in mind that weight can fluctuate by as much as five pounds and may be all over the place once you really start your new healthy lifestyle. Plus, if you’re looking FLY in the mirror, use that as a push to keep going. Stop obsessing about the number on the scale.
2. You’re Lying
Keeping a calorie diary seems extreme, but it may actually help you realize what you are and are not putting in your mouth. A lot of the trouble for those looking to lose weight is that they aren’t fully aware of what they’re eating. You may have forgotten about that chocolate bar you had at 2pm or the extra serving of salad with Caesar dressing you ate at dinner. “Total calories consumed matters when it comes to weight loss,” says CNN. “People frequently forget about the little things during or between meals that add up calorically and can interfere significantly with weight loss.” So, yes, track your calories for a week or two to get your spidey senses tingling, then see if you’re still having the same issues.
3. Sunday Funday Is Your Undoing
Yeaaaaaaah. So dieting during the week, when you’re sticking to a strict 9 to 5 schedule, is pretty easy thanks to the same routine day in and day out. However, on weekends, you’re likely drinking more and eating A LOT more. “Three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) of more relaxed eating (and in many cases drinking) can easily erase four days of more perfect effort,” says CNN. So, having a cheat day or days can really f*ck up all those days of logging calories and going for a run before work. Grab a glass of wine or two on Friday night, but don’t follow it up with a calzone because you “earned it”.
4. You’re Skipping Meals
DING DING DING. Do you skip breakfast and only sip on coffee first thing in the morning? I know we’ve all heard it millions of times, but eating breakfast actually wakes up your metabolism. According to WebMD, “Research shows that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. There is a misconception that skipping breakfast—or any meal—saves calories. The truth is that most people who eat fewer than three meals usually end up eating more calories during the course of the day.” So, skipping those meals is sabotaging you into reaching for those jelly beans without realizing it. Or polishing off that extra bag of popcorn because “I barely even ate today.” Grab an egg, piece of whole wheat toast, and piece of fruit for breakfast, eat a filling salad for lunch, then try not to eat a million calories for dinner.
5. You Messed Up Your Metabolism, Fam
This one has always pissed me off more than anything else. Lemme break it down for you. When I went on a crash wedding diet (I KNOW, SO BAD), I was eating maybe 1,000 calories per day and I lost a LOT of weight. Obviously. However, once I tried to get back to healthy, normal levels of eating (like, 1,300-1,500 calories per day), I gained weight. So, naturally, I cut back again and … nope. Scale doesn’t budge. According to NBC News, “when you really cut back on calories, your body thinks you’re in trouble, urging it into starvation mode, and it slows down a lot of the necessary functions that are necessary to burn calories—including your thyroid, metabolism and blood pressure. What’s more, as a woman, it can make your period irregular, which can affect your hormones and lead to weight gain.” COOL, GUYS. So, congratulations, you played yourself. Skipping meals and starving yourself may cause you to lose 10 pounds, but once you break and go back to normal eating, you’ll gain. Then if you try to crash diet again, it isn’t going to work. Take it from me and do it the right way.
Images: Brooke Lark / Unsplash; Giphy (3)