Keto, Paleo, vegan, intermittent fasting….what’s the best diet to lose weight? It’s the million dollar question – and one researchers have asked.
Well, the results are in.
Whether you go on a low carb diet, restrict calories or practice fasting, all diets are about equal when it comes to weight loss.
You can lose weight by eating pasta.
You can lose weight by intermittent fasting.
And you can lose weight by eating every two hours.
You can lose weight by running.
Or by walking, swimming, dancing or lifting weights.
So, what is the best diet to lose weight?
The truth is that all diets work. As long as you can stick to them. Science says.
But most diets are utterly unsustainable.
Which is why I believe the best diet to lose weight is no diet at all.
In fact, the best way to lose weight is to not even focus on weight loss.
Think about it for a sec. If dieting and hating your body helped you lose weight and keep it off, wouldn’t you be at your goal weight by now? What would happen if you stopped trying to control your weight and instead, focused on health?
What you’ll find is that your body will naturally find its own happy, healthy weight – its sweet spot… No struggling or obsessing or restricting needed.
Your body wants you to be a healthy weight
At your healthiest weight, you have more energy, your hormones are balanced, your mood is lifted – and your body wants that for you.
The problem with pursuing weight loss is that having a pre-conceived ‘goal weight’ can throw you off course and muck up motivation.
You see, weight loss isn’t linear. It’s curvy and complicated. Sometimes, your weight goes up even if you’re being ‘really good’. So if you are only eating and exercising to lose weight, you’ll lose motivation when you hit the inevitable weight plateau or regain weight along the journey.
Or you’ll reach your goal weight and then slip back into old habits only to regain the weight again.
Making weight loss the goal makes you more susceptible to inevitable speed bumps and humps. And as you live in the real world – and don’t have a personal assistant/nutritionist/chef/nanny – there are plenty of those.
There’s always going to be another birthday, party, Easter weekend, long weekend, wedding, work party or Christmas event on the horizon (yep, even in a pandemic world).
This is why all-or-nothing doesn’t work.
Your body, not the Instagram model, is the real health expert
Diets make it hard to eat intuitively and listen to your body’s internal wisdom because they cloud your brain with rules and restrictions. That’s why you should stop looking for the best diet to lose weight today.
Your body will feel hungry when it needs more energy and tell you when it’s eaten enough. And it will crave exercise and salads if you stop making it feel like a punishment.
Stop listening to crappy health advice and wellness wankery, and time to start tuning into your wonderfully, intelligent and intuitive body.
Give yourself permission to stop recording everything you eat in an app (as though it can measure your worth when it sure as hell can’t). It’s OK – and beneficial – to stop counting macros and cutting out whole food groups.
Instead, it’s time to adopt a new healthy habit… one at a time. Bit by bit.
The best way to lose weight
Step 1: Choose a healthy habit. Start small and then build
Once you’re in the habit of going for a short walk (when it feels effortless and fun), you can gradually talk longer walks, or go more often. Set health – not weight loss – goals and let your weight find it’s own sweet spot all by itself, no hustling needed. Here’s a blog post I wrote with 29 healthy habits to give you some ideas.
Step 2: Make it enjoyable
There is nothing wrong with your willpower. But you’ll only ever stick to things that you enjoy. So find ways to make little healthy actions enjoyable so that they never feel like a chore.
Step 3: Keep it gentle
In my mind, goals can (and should) be gentle. They don’t need to be accomplished perfectly from day one. So if you haven’t made much traction with your new healthy habit once month after you first tried, you haven’t failed. There are still 11 more months (plus the rest of your life) to keep practising and improving. This blog post Unhappy with your weight? Read this might help, too.
Step 4: Keep adding more habits as you go
Ditch any that don’t support you anymore. And in a year from now, you’ll look around and realise you made major changes and they have all stuck around.
With time, your body will find it’s own healthiest weight – wherever that is. It’s a long term process, but it’s really a lifestyle change.
Scared that non-dieting will mean you can’t get to your goal weight?
Do you want to eat intuitively but also want to lose weight?
I get it.
I’ve been there myself and I receive a lot of questions about how people enter into the world of non-dieting when they are still wanting to lose weight for health reasons or quality of life.
I’d love for you to listen to this episode of my podcast No Wellness Wankery. When we received a really great email from a lovely listener named Sarah, we knew it was time to have an honest conversation about the tricky topic of navigating weight loss without dieting.
I think you might find this very helpful, so click below to tune in.
Healthy stops & healthy swaps
I hope you can choose to be the healthiest and happiest version of yourself – not the skinniest. So:
- Stop avoiding carbs, because they are your body’s preferred source of energy.
- Stop quitting sugar, because making foods ‘off-limits’ only makes you crave them more.
- Stop counting calories and recording everything you eat in an app, because it’s depressing, unsustainable and sure as hell won’t measure your worth.
Instead… Swap THIS for THAT:
“I want to lose X kgs by…” → “I want to walk 1-2 more times a week”
“Don’t eat sugar” → “Crowd in more veggies. Aim to eat 1 more serve/day” (this blog I’m trying to eat less meat. Here’s how I’m doing it a healthy way might help, too)
“Eat less junk food” → “Turn off the TV/put down my phone when I eat”
“Cut out carbs” → “Normalise forbidden foods so they become less tempting”
These goals are much more positive, achievable and enjoyable.
Now it’s your turn
What healthy habits do you want to start? Grab a pen and jot down a few simple healthy habits you can start right now.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Go for a 10-minute walk when you get home from work to help you get headspace and set up the ritual of daily, enjoyable movement.
- Practice waiting to feel hungry to eat instead of eating because it’s a mealtime.
- Add in an extra serve of vegetables to your day until you’re eating 5+ a day.
- Meal prep once a week to set you and your family up for a healthy (and delicious) week ahead. Check out Back to Basics for a new Meal Prep video every Sunday!
- Start your day with a simple kickass breakfast to start on the right foot – aim for a yummy combo of wholegrains, protein, healthy fats and veggies (e.g. wholegrain toast with scrambled eggs, avocado and a handful of spinach with EVOO) you find lots of FREE recipes on my website)
- Order your groceries online so you save time AND eat healthily don’t get tempted to buy unhealthy food as you wander the aisles. (Pssst… did you know you can order groceries directly from Back to Basics recipes? Trust me, it’s a gamechanger.)
Want to eat healthily without dieting or obsessing over food this year? Join Back to Basics – it’ll take the stress, guesswork and confusion out of food and make cooking simple and fun.