The reason I went on these trendy diets is because I never like to bash something before I try it. In the health industry, most people have tried an insane amount of eating and workout styles and eventually stick to one that suits their body or blend them all together into one super-plan.
Since every body is unique and very different, a little background into my personal body might be helpful for you to compare.
I have the body type that puts on muscle pretty quickly and also unfortunately puts on fat quickly. My metabolism used to be extremely sluggish, although through some different techniques i’ve made it much faster. I have a ‘thicker’ build meaning I will never be a size 0 or 100 pounds because that’s not healthy for me. My body was made to be strong and put on muscle (or fat!). Choosing wisely for my body type means quickly seeing results from strength training, HIIT, and clean eating.
So let’s dive into the different diets i’m sure you’ve heard about and let’s see what I thought about them.
Disclaimer: What did/didn’t work for me will be different for you, so I actually encourage you to try these out for yourself if you’re curious!
DRUMROLL PLEASE… the first ever ‘diet’ I went on! :
While the others were more of a lifestyle change, calorie counting was a straight-up diet.
How It Works:
By figuring out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), you discover how many calories your body requires just to function on a day-to-day basis. That means having enough energy to efficiently and properly flow blood through your body, pump your heart, and supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain. For many women, their BMR is right around ~1,200 to 1,500 calories/day. Where most people get confused is that they think they should eat no more than their BMR. NOT TRUE!!! BMR is if you were laying in your bed all day and only needed energy to make your organs function properly. Since most all of us are not like that, and we lead extremely busy and active lives, we need much more than that.
Calorie counting is, in my opinion, the worst way to maintain your weight in a healthy manner. First of all, a calorie is not a calorie. Eating 500 calories worth of cookies is differently metabolized by your body than 500 calories worth of lean protein and veggies. That’s the harsh truth, sorry.
Secondly, I always got sick while calorie counting. I thought 1,500 calories was the right amount for me to eat. I was constantly hungry, irritated beyond belief, and always lacking energy. Not to mention I became extremely obsessed with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods while restricting my calories like crazy.
This is a pro but it’s also a con. I definitely lost weight while calorie counting, but it was quick and not easily maintained. Calorie counting didn’t make me feel good mentally or physically so there was nothing keeping me ‘on the bandwagon.’ I went off the rails a lot and would gain weight back, only to lose it again.
If done correctly (i mean eating ENOUGH. More than you think!) of healthy, clean food.. this can be maintainable.However, it’s not for me.
A person who eats no animal or fish flesh, but still includes dairy and eggs in their diet.
Pros: Because I chose this lifestyle for my spiritual beliefs, I did like it for a short period. It made me feel like I was living in accordance to my morals and values which was fantastic.
In addition, I also noticed I was adding tons of veggies and beans and tofu into my diet which was new for me. I was definitely eating more healthy foods than before.
Cons: I missed meat. Beans, tofu, and tempeh are all great but my body just felt lethargic after awhile. It was hard to recover after workouts and my body was begging for something ‘hardy.’ This is not to say everyone can’t function on a vegetarian diet, because many people thrive off of it.
A person who excludes all animal protein and by-products (no milk, cheese, dairy, eggs, gelatin, etc.)
Pros: Definitely got very experimental during this phase of my diet! I started to eat a plate full of roasted vegetables for breakfast, craved salads, and made tons of fresh vegetable and fruit juices. During this time I was also introduced to quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax oil, nutritional yeast, bok choy, collard greens, kale… you name it, I tried it!
Being vegan was really fun. There’s this feeling of peace and something like euphoria that comes over you when you are living this lifestyle. It’s calming, refreshing, and exciting. Personally, because my body works best with some animal protein, I could not maintain this for a long period of time, but I will always recommend this for someone looking to cleanse and re-start their healthy lifestyle in the best way possible.
Cons: Since vegan options are not easy to find in all parts of the world, you will most likely find that eating out and eating during social gatherings becomes a real pain in the ass. In fact, it can feel kind of lonely and depressing at times to not be able to eat your old favorites or split a dessert with your friends because there is dairy in it.
I also experienced weird blood sugar dips I had never experienced before. Very strange, but went away after eating more.
Overall, this is an amazing cleanse and an extremely empowering lifestyle for those who thrive off vegetarianism. Although it didn’t work for me long term, I have no doubt that I will probably return to this way of eating as a re-start or healthy way to get back on track.
Gluten = the proteins found in wheat; causes digestive problems in many as well as other adverse health problems.
Pros: Going Gluten-Free was something I did not want to do. I simply did it because my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was really bad at the time, and I read that gluten could have something to do with it. Desperate for relief, I went gluten free. I lost a little bit of bloat weight as well as started eating healthier.
Cons: Just like with veganism, it was hard to feel included at social gatherings. Gluten is in EVERYTHING! It’s almost impossible to go out and eat something without gluten. This means putting tons of work into planning meals and figuring out how to eat all over again. Of course, these problems would go away with time, as you become more comfortable with the lifestyle. However, I also found that I wasn’t satisfied after eating. Perhaps with some tweaking I could have gotten used to this, but I didn’t feel any ‘miraculous’ benefits from not eating gluten. I was just hungry and craving a bagel.
“The Eat-Clean Diet”:
This is a lifestyle based on the principle of eating only whole, ‘clean’, nutritious foods without chemicals, preservatives, or additives.
Pros: If followed, you will feel amazing. Your skin will glow, your hair will shine, and your nails will grow strong. You’ll most likely see weight loss within the first week and your mood will stabilize. This is a wonderful way to live – if you can handle it.
Cons: I love junk food (read: chocolate and fries and chicken tenders), so following a diet that only allowed me one treat meal per week was tough. In fact, it was annoying. It drove me crazy. Once again i’m sure that if I kept at it, my body would adjust, but I quickly decided that following this diet 80% of the time would work better than 100%.
After seeing the success of tons of family members, I decided.. why not try it out for myself. Once again, I love experimenting so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
How It Works: Based on the fat/protein/fiber/carbs of a food, it is assigned a point value. Depending on your weight/height/age/activity level, you are assigned a certain number of points per day. However, you also can get points for working out as well as 49 extra points to use for whatever you want. Vegetables and fruit are 100% FREE PTS! Eat as many as you want.
Pros: I love, love, LOVE that fruits and veggies are free. I find myself reaching for way more fruit than I ever have before and I feel great. I also like that I can consciously fit in a glass of wine or fries or even chocolate cake. This is the first ‘diet’ i’ve ever tried where I thought, WOW I could really do this!
Cons: It does require a lot of planning because unplanned meals and snack foods can add up really quickly. Also, if you’re a college kid and go out to drink, watch out because alcohol is worth a lot of points.
Overall, this is my favorite so far because it teaches you how to eat RIGHT, not eat less. It also encourages working out, moderation, and satisfaction.
Based on the idea that we can retrain our bodies to honor our hunger, indulge smartly, and practice balance.
Pros: When you really concentrate on practicing the principles in the book “Intuitive Eating,” you will start to feel liberated and free. Food no longer controls you. You can eat a snack of goldfish and not feel guilty about it. You can have ‘just one’ and move on. In fact, I did also notice that when I reallllllly focused on applying these principles, I lost weight. I felt that this lifestyle taught me to remove the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels to food and reduced my guilt and obsession around food significantly.
Cons: Some people are born ‘intuitive eaters.’ You know – the people who stop eating when they are almost full, don’t snack when they’re not hungry, and can keep half their meal on the plate without being phased by it. However, there are those of us who are NOT like that. For many of us, eating this way actually is incredibly hard. We crave structure and some sort of ‘rules’ or else it’s too easy to land right at the bottom of an empty Doritos bag. For me, it was hard to constantly remind myself to be SO conscious and SO aware at meal times/snack time/any time I was hungry or not.
I also didn’t notice any health benefits aside from losing a little weight while practicing Intuitive Eating.
So these are the diets that stuck out to me… What ones have you tried? How did you like them, or what didn’t you like about them? Let me know in the comments below!
Lots of love,