"Its not about perfect. Its about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's how transformation happens - Jillian Michaels"
The weight loss industry is full of myths. People are often advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them.
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a permanent lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the calories you consume with the calories your body uses.
What is healthy eating plan ?
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 external icon, a healthy eating plan:
Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
Stays within your daily calorie needs
Lets move on to 5 diet plans for weight loss
#1 What is Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting means eating during a set period. This can help people reduce the number of calories that they consume. It may also help boost metabolism.
Some people believe that this method works by supporting the body’s circadian rhythm, which is its internal clock. However, this might not be feasible for everyone but some experts advise finishing food consumption in the early evening, as metabolism slows down after this time.
Facts of intermittent fasting
Research from 2016 reports that men who followed a 16:8 approach for 8 weeks while resistance training showed a decrease in fat mass. The participants maintained their muscle mass throughout.
A 2017 annual review notes that animal research has indicated that this form of fasting reduces the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer.
Intermittent fasting and weight loss
Intermittent fasting boosts metabolism and fat burning while preserving lean body mass, all of which can aid weight loss.
Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells uses for energy. If our cells don’t use it at all, we store it in form of fat.
Eventually insulin level falls, signaling the body to start burning stored energy because no more energy is coming through food.
Blood glucose falls, so the body must now pull glucose out of storage to burn for energy.
Glycogen is the most easily accessible energy source.
Glycogen is broken down into glucose molecules to provide energy for the body’s other cells. This can provide enough energy to power much of the body’s needs for 24-36 hours. After that, the body will primarily breaks down in only fat for energy.
The entire idea of intermittent diet is that it allows the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat. In essence, intermittent fasting allows the body to use its stored energy.
Hence, intermittent fasting is really good diet plan for weight loss.
How to adopt intermittent diet plan ?
Alternate-day fasting - Fasting only on alternate days like Mon-Wed-Fri but no food restriction on other days that provides about 25% of daily calorie needs.
Whole-day fasting - 1 or 2 days per week of complete fasting or up to 25% of daily calorie needs and no food restriction on the other days.
Time-restricted feeding—Following a meal plan each day with a designated time frame for fasting.
The easiest way is to follow the 16:8 diet i.e choose a 16-hour fasting window that includes the time that a person spends sleeping.
People may choose one of the following 8-hour eating windows:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
noon to 8 p.m.
Within this timeframe, people can eat their meals and snacks at convenient times.
Adopting healthy diet - A balanced diet focuses primarily on consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources like fish, beans, tofu, eggs, low carbs, healthy fats from fatty fish, olives, nuts etc.
In simple words home-cooked healthy food is best for intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is beneficial to focus on healthful eating and to limit or avoid junk foods.
This diet plan permits the consumption of calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea and coffee during the 16-hour fasting window. It is important to consume fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
Intermittent fasting is a popular form of diet plan for weight loss. It is strongly recommended to follow this diet only after consulting a doctor or dietitian for any concerns or underlying health conditions.
#2 What is Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet which focuses more on fat consumption. This diet allows for moderate protein intake and very high fat.
The ideal break up is 75 per cent fats, 20 per cent protein and only 5 per cent carbs.
The main principle behind this diet is to almost eliminate carb sources and considerably increase the intake of fats. Then body starts looking for an alternative source of energy, which in this case is fat storage. When the body starts metabolizing fats to produce fuel, that is called as ketosis.
However, most clinical studies have only been conducted on below types -
The standard ketogenic diet - This is a very low-carb diet, which allows for moderate protein intake and very high fat
The high-protein ketogenic diet. - This diet is similar as standard ketogenic diet however, every 5 days it will allow you two high carb days. It is also called the refueling day. Instead of 20 per cent protein, you can have up to 35 percent protein and the fat ratio comes down to 60 percent instead of the standard 70. However, the ratio of carbs remains the same.
Targeted ketogenic diet - This diet primarily follows the principles of standard ketogenic diet but permits carb intake post high-intensity workouts.
How does Keto diet works ?
Step 1 - Low carb intake will make the body first pull stored glucose from the liver
Step 2 - Next temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose.
Step 3 - Above process continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted,
Step 4 - Blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel.
Finally the liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose.
Keto diet and weight loss
Keto can help you lose weight, lose fat, preserve muscle mass and improve our immunity.
Unlike with calorie restriction, keto helps us to lose weight by putting our body into ketosis.
In simple words when we eat minimal carbohydrates our body produces ketones for energy. Ketones are made in our liver from fatty acids found in food or our own body fat. Therefore, our liver actually burns fat to make ketones. Ketones are used for energy in lieu of carbs.
In one study, people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also improved.
Some research suggests ketogenic diets may reduce lipogenesis. Its the process of converting sugar into fat. Hence, decreased fat storage.
Ketogenic diets helps us feel full. This is supported by positive changes in hunger hormones, including leptin and ghrelin. Its a great Appetite suppressant.
Everyone’s keto weight loss story is different. Results vary depending on starting body fat levels, fitness, age, and personal health history.
#3 What is Pegan diet?
The Pegan diet (as in, paleo + vegan) is created by celebrity functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, M.D. The diet advises filling 75% of your plate with plant-based foods and 25% with lean, sustainably raised meats.
Eat five or more cups of vegetables, four servings of carbohydrates, three servings of proteins, two servings of healthy fats, and one dairy substitute every day. (Easy to remember: 5-4-3-2-1.)
Pegan diet includes -
Proteins - Appropriately 25 percent of a pegan diet contains lean animal protein, such as chicken, eggs, fish, and lean beef. Protein should be grass-fed and free of antibiotics
Fats and grains - Heart-healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts etc. And whole grains like oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and wild rice. Basically, anything that doesn’t contain gluten.
Pegan diet does not include
Starchy vegetables like beets, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and parsnips as they're too high on the glycemic index for this diet.
Dairy, sugar, soy, and legumes as they can be hard to break down which can cause gas, bloating, and sometimes constipation.
Pegan diet and Weight Loss
The pegan diet is loaded with fiber-packed vegetables and satiating fats and helps us feel fuller longer which can effectively contribute for weight loss says Pam Bede, R.D., sports dietitian for Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition.
But its important to enjoy the diet and be able to maintain the diet to sustain the weight loss.
Please note before you start priming yourself for this trendy diet plan strategy, we should know that we might feel highly restricted initially as we are suppose to exclude intake of sugar and daily products completely for better results for weight loss journey.
Besides, this diet is not recommended to athletes or super-active people because they might accidentally skimp on workout-boosting protein, calcium, and iron or other nutrients which is must to keep their body running for high intensity physical activities.
#4 What is Carb Cycling Diet?
Carb cycling is usually higher in carbs and is slightly different from the traditional keto diet and does not involve the same high fat intake.
That's not to say they don't have their fair share of similarities. After all, at their most basic, both diets place an emphasis on managing carb intake. And because of this, some people loosely combine the two regimens and do something called keto cycling.
Carbs are not public enemy as they're a perk-packed part of a healthy diet. But, yes, eating too many can also contribute to fat storage and excess pounds.
How does carb cycling works?
On the days of our high-intensity workout at the gym or training carbs are our BFF.
Our body burns through carbs along with fat for energy instead of protein. That allows the muscle-powering nutrient (protein) to get utilized for that purpose.
But on days when we don't leave the couch, eating extra carbs could encourage our body to store that unused glucose in our fat cells and thereby high chances of gaining weight. By eating less carbs on a rest day our body turns to fat for energy instead of the sugary and starchy foods
How Carb cycling and weight loss interrelated
Carb cycling has become a popular way to overcome weight loss plateaus as long as portion control, patience, and the prescribed eating plan is followed.
Carb cycling program often includes a calorie deficit as most people are less likely to over-consume fats and proteins which will eventually promote weight loss.
There is an important and significant link between carbohydrate intake and blood-insulin levels. Carb cycling can help break the cycle. of insulin concentrations in the blood and fat storage that remains at a high level.
Carb cycling should never become an excuse to binge or overly restrict your eating. Sometimes, the meticulous tracking required by a program like carb cycling can trigger disordered eating patterns.
Check-in with yourself regularly or consult dietitian before inculcating this diet.
#5 What is Calorie Deficit Diet
When we eat fewer calories than we burn we create a calorie deficit.
When we create a calorie deficit, our body gets energy or fuel from stored fat. This is the extra fat that we carry on your hips or thighs in our belly and throughout our body. When our body burns fat for energy we lose weight.
Calorie Deficit to Lose Weight
To lose weight our body must use more calories than we eat. That means that we either need to increase our energy expenditure or decrease our calorie intake or do a combination of both to create a calorie deficit.
Most experts recommend creating a total calorie deficit of 3500–7000 calories per week to lose 1–2 pounds of body fat per week. So to lose weight we should consume calories more than our BMR but lesser than TDEE.
BMR - The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) indicates the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment. And most important calorie intake should not fall below BMR as those calories are must to run the body during rest.
TDEE - TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It is the total energy that a person uses in a day to burn per day during workouts. TDEE is hard to measure accurately and varies day by day. It is calculated by first figuring out our Basal Metabolic Rate, then multiplying that value by an activity multiplier.
How to Create a Calorie Deficit for weight loss
Eat less food by cutting down portion size on snacking and choose lower-calorie foods.
Being active consistently daily is beneficial for calorie deficit diet as burning calories each day depends on our activity level.
Combine diet and exercise is deadly combination for weight loss. Lets take small example to understand this. Imagine any person consuming 250 fewer calories each day and then opts for high intensive workout to burn an additional 250 calories. The calorie deficit would total 500 calories
There is no need to spend money on expensive programs to slim down. Create your own calorie deficit by setting small goals and making small changes throughout the day.
It doesn't matter which plan you choose to create an energy deficit. Different plans work for different dieters.
Rightly quoted "Eat for the body you want. Not for the body you have"
If this blog sounds complicated ? It's not too hard, once you get the hang of it.
.You don’t have to ditch your regular food habits or make massive changes to your diet, you just need the best balanced diet plan to get fit. What matters most is consistency. If you have a bad day, laugh it off, and get back on track tomorrow
Dieting sucks! And we all know that but attitude is everything so be strong than your excuses.
Stay hydrated! Follow diet! Enjoy weight loss journey!
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