A Natural Approach to Weight Loss

 

Lose Weight Naturally Without Paid Diet Plans

Most of us, at one time or another, have been on a diet to lose weight. Not only does weight loss make you feel and look better, being a healthy weight plays a huge role in your physical health. Being overweight can increase the risk of numerous health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, joint pain and disability, and other chronic diseases. There is also an incidence of increased mortality in people who are overweight.

The good news is that losing even a small percentage of excess body fat and weight can significantly improve your health and your risk of health problems.

When it comes to losing weight, there are many paid weight loss programs to choose from, some more effective than others to help you lose weight and keep it off. This includes Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and Nutrisystem, just to name a few.

While these approaches work, you’re not limited to paid programs to achieve weight loss. The methods listed here can help you lose weight naturally on your own. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight and size is a lifestyle change – these weight loss techniques naturally help you lose weight at no cost and teach you how to choose healthy foods in your daily diet.

Mayo Clinic Diet

A diet created by medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic, the Mayo Diet is developed according to scientific research. The focus of the diet is on eating healthy foods and adding more physical activity to your day. The diet can be modified to fit your own lifestyle and is intended to be a diet for life. Food options are based on a Healthy Weight Pyramid, eating plentiful amounts of unlimited low-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables. Other food groups eaten in smaller amounts include lean sources of protein, legumes, whole-grain carbs, and low-fat dairy.1

During the first two weeks you can safely expect to lose up to 10 pounds as you learn how to eat healthy and make good food choices. As you follow the diet plan and add more fitness to your lifestyle, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week until you reach your goal weight and learn how to maintain. The Mayo Diet is a safe and effective diet plan that is widely recommended by doctors around the world.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is popular not just for weight loss but is also beneficial for optimizing your health and lowering your risk of certain illness such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Also known as the “caveman diet”, the Paleo food plan is based on the foods our ancestors ate when they were hunter-gatherers. The Paleo food plan includes fish and meat, fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and healthy oils and fats. It excludes legumes, most dairy products, all processed foods, sugar, margarine and vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats.2

If you’re following the Paleo plan, you’ll lose up to 10 pounds in the first week – much of this is water weight that is lost when you start to restrict the number of carbs you eat. After this first week, weight loss will slow down considerably – there’s no counting calories when you’re following the Paleo food guidelines. Your body will naturally start to lose weight as you focus on eating a diet that’s healthy and nutritious.

The 5:2 Diet – Intermittent Fasting

There’s a lot of discussion about intermittent fasting, which was popularized by Michael Mosley, a British journalist. The 5:2 diet, also called “the fast diet”, has helped thousands of people lose weight quickly and easily. Research shows that the diet is good when used short-term for weight loss – once you’ve lost weight, you’ll need to stick to a healthy food plan for long-term maintenance.3

The food plan for the 5:2 diet is easy to follow – it’s based on a reduced calorie food plan. For five days of the week you eat as you normally would, with two days of intermittent fasting. The days you choose to fast during the week are up to you. You’ll have more success on the plan, and feel fuller and more satisfied, if you stick to eating a healthy diet of lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables. On fasting days there is no restriction on the foods you can eat so long as you stick to the maximum daily calories of 500 for women and 600 for men.

Vegetarian Food Plan

More people who want to lose weight are switching to a vegetarian food guide. But giving up meat and fish isn’t enough for weight loss if you continue to eat a diet that’s high in fat, sugar, and processed foods. In order to lose weight on a vegetarian food plan, you’ll need to eat a “clean” diet. You’ll also need to eat foods that are high in protein – adequate amounts of protein each day can make you feel satisfied and more likely to stick to your food plan. High protein foods include quinoa, soybean, eggs, and legumes.

When following a healthy vegetarian food plan and consuming no more than 1200 to 1500 calories per day, you can expect to lose from 1 to 2 pounds each week. When you reach goal weight, you can add 300 to 400 calories to your daily diet to maintain your weight loss.

Vegan Food Plan

A vegan food plan excludes any animal products, including eggs and dairy. As with the vegetarian food plan, you’ll need to increase your protein intake and prepare healthy meals that are high in fruits and vegetables. Restrict sugar and processed foods from your diet.

If you choose this type of diet, you can expect to lose weight slowly and consistently depending on your calorie intake. Numerous studies show that consuming a vegan diet will not only help you lose weight, it’s also better for weight maintenance and lowering your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.4

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been extremely popular for weight loss due to its few limitations. Eat mostly fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Dairy, eggs, and chicken can be eaten in small portions. It’s recommended that you eat seafood and fish at least twice a week. Healthy fats are allowed on the diet, including olive oil, olives, and avocados. Red meat and sweets are allowed occasionally.

How much weight and how fast you lose it when on the Mediterranean diet varies for each individual. If you count and restrict calories to 1500 for men and 1200 for women, you can expect a safe 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week. Even if you don’t count calories, following the diet plan for 6 months to one year will result in a significant weight reduction.

Juice Diet

Another popular diet is juicing, where fruits and vegetables are blended together, often with the addition of supplements. Juicing allows you to consume a lot of nutrients without eating whole foods. For some people, juicing is an effective way to lose weight short-term. Many people find that they’re hungry on this diet – because of the restricted calories many people also feel weak and fatigued when consuming only juices.

There are different ways to approach the juice diet. Many people follow the diet for three to five days, followed by one to two weeks of eating a healthy diet. Then they repeat the cycle. Other people choose to follow the juice diet for up to 10 days, which can result in a weight loss of up to 10 pounds. Research shows that a juice diet can lead to rapid weight loss however, once you stop the juice diet, you’ll need to consume healthy foods and watch your calorie intake to avoid weight gain.5

The Whole 30

The Whole 30 is a food and nutrition plan that’s designed to change your food and eating habits in 30 days. During the 30 days you remove a variety of foods and drinks from your diet that may potentially be causing inflammation and allergies in the body. This includes alcohol, dairy, grains, processed foods, sugar and artificial sugars, and junk food. You’ll replace all these foods with “clean” foods, eating three healthy meals each day.

Not created as a weight loss program, but rather a food plan to heal your body and eliminate toxins, it’s also very effective for losing weight. Even without restricting calories, you can expect to lose 5 to 10 pounds in one month just by focusing on eating foods that are healthy and nutritious and eliminating sugar and “bad” fats from your diet.

Diet

Developed by Heather and Terry Dubrow, this diet plan is similar to intermittent fasting. There is no calorie or macro counting on the diet. Weight loss is based on fasting for 12 to 16 hours each day. Outside of the fasting zone, it’s recommended that you eat the right amount and types of foods in order to lose weight. Food options include plenty of green vegetables, chicken and fish, legumes and nuts, non-fat yogurt, and nut butters.

There are three phases to the diet. Phase 1 prepares the body for 16 hours of fasting after which you move to phase 2 for three different periods of fasting – 12, 14, and 16 hours. Weight loss is broken down per fasting period with an expected loss of .5 to 1.5 pounds per week when fasting 12 hours, 1 to 2.5 pounds per week when fasting for 14 hours, and 2 to 4 pounds per week when fasting 16 hours.

Healthy and Natural Weight Loss Tips

With so many different diets and food plans to choose from it can quickly become confusing. What’s going to work for you and your lifestyle for losing weight? Choose a plan that easily fits into your life – the less complicated it is the more likely you are to stick to the plan. Here are a few tips for healthy weight loss and healthy eating:

  • Increase your physical activity. Adding just 30 minutes of activity to your day can help with weight loss. It can also keep you focused on your weight loss journey when you spend time doing some type of fitness, even if it’s just walking around the block.
  • Watch your portion size. Use smaller plates so it looks at though you have a full portion. Using large plates can cause you to eat more.
  • Weigh yourself. Step on the scale at least once a week. You’ll be able to see if there’s a small weight gain so that you can adjust and modify your food plan for the next week.
  • Keep a food journal. A recent study shows that people who tracked their food lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t.6
  • Less screen-time. Watching less television and spending less time on the computer can lead to a more active lifestyle.
  • Practice mindful eating. Being more attentive to what you’re eating can prevent you from overeating. Being mindful can mean taking small bites and chewing well, setting a timer to eat for a full 20 minutes, and eating with your non-dominant hand. The goal here is to reduce calorie intake and learn to enjoy food.7

Losing weight naturally and on your own is possible when you make the right diet choice for you. Whatever diet you choose, make sure that you develop a strategy for maintenance after you’ve lost the weight. One of the biggest problems for people who successfully lose weight is keeping it off.

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/mayo-clinic-diet/art-20045460
  2. Klonoff, DC. (2009). The Beneficial Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Type 2 Diabetes and Other Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. J Diabetes Sci Technol. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787021/
  3. Ganesan, K. & Muacevic, A. (2018). Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle. Cureus. 10(7): e2947. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128599/
  4. Turner-McGrievy, G. & Mandes, T. (2017). A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. J Geriatr Cardiol. 14(5): 369-374. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466943/
  5. Henning, SM. & Yang, J. (2017). Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome. Sci Rep. 7: 2167. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438379/
  6. Duke University. (2019). Tracking food leads to losing pounds. Science Daily. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190228154839.htm
  7. LeWine H. (2013). Distracted eating may add to weight gain. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved on May 25, 2019 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037

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