The Best Diet Programs:
What's Their Secret?

What are the best diet programs out there? And what're their secrets for working?

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Here are the top 4, as well as some guidelines for how to choose the one that'll works best for you.

Battle of the Diets: Who's Winning?

This video has Christopher Gardner of Stanford University presenting his findings about 4 of the most popular and widely used diets around. They are...

  1. Atkins


  2. The Zone

    (equal carbs, proteins, and fats)

  3. L.E.A.R.N.

    (The 'Standard' Diet, cutting calories with relatively high carb)

  4. Ornish

    (vegan, really low fat)

So, What Are The Conclusions of the Diet Video?

First, this is a gross oversimplification of the video - which you should totally watch when you have the time! But the major findings of the study were...

  • Most Diets Don't Work Long-Term
  • All Diets That You Stick To And That Cause A Calorie Deficit Will Make You Lose Weight
  • Atkins Worked Best For Health and Weight Loss, Though NOT Much Better Than Others

So, how's that for wishy-washy? All the best weight loss diet programs can work, as long as you eat less. But I think the nuances that Gardner talks about are worth looking into.

First, he noted that those who go on the Atkins diet did not just lose weight, but actually were healthier. This is in terms of cholesterol levels and other health indicators. Though, strangely enough, they were eating a diet heavy in red meat that has been criticized for years.

Also, Gardner mentions the paleolithic diet as one that, while not tested, would seem to be a good decision. I follow something similar to a paleolithic diet now, so I liked that bit ;-)

But most important, Gardner makes the point that all of the diets have low long-term success. Virtually whatever your diet, if you can stick to it then you can keep off the fat but sticking to it is the sticking point.

Try Atkins if you like fat and protein. Try Ornish if you're more of a veggie person. And The Zone and L.E.A.R.N. both give you a more balanced intake of carbs, protein, and fats - but each have their own special points.

Here are some further guidelines that I've come up with to help you choose the best diet program (or programs) for yourself. Look them over before you start your diet; it's better to diet once effectively than several times ineffectively. Trust me.

Guidelines For Choosing The Best Diet Programs...

◆ Diets That Reduce Your Calories

You have to eat less to lose weight. It's as simple as that.

This is the best diet tip, trick, or technique - whatever you want to call it.

Every diet that does this, either through directly telling you to eat less or through restrictions and tricks that will make you eat less, will help you lose weight. Any diet where you eat the same amount of food (or more) will not.

That means that you could lose weight on a diet of simply iced cream. Which is quite appealing to me, since I'm rather fond of dulce de leche and chocolate chip cookie dough.

But an ice cream diet would not be one of the best diet programs. I'd probably lose a fair amount of muscle mass and have other complications. But I would lose weight, if I ate fewer calories overall.

◆ A Diet That Does Not Encourage Fast Weight Loss

Weight loss of around 1 - 2 pounds a week is healthy. If you're especially obese (or using a special diet to make a weight class for an event), 2 or 3 or 4 pounds or more can be done.

However, losing more than 1 - 2 pounds a week is rarely sustainable or healthy. You will be horribly hungry, your metabolism will eventually tank, and the cravings will make it intolerable.

Despite the promises of slick marketers out there, don't try a crash diet. To really keep the weight off and have your body adjust to your lower level of body fat, lose the weight slowly - right in line with what all the best diet programs recommend.

I know this can be frustrating. But doing it right the first time will save you a lot of time later on.

◆ The Best Diet Programs Are Ones That You Can FollowAfter Your Diet

This is counterintuitive. A diet that you can follow after your diet?

But yes, this is important. You need to adopt a diet that will work to keep the weight off after you've finished you diet. Since the vast majority of your life will be post diet.

Check out this article on how to maintain weight loss. This will help you assemble a personalized plan for what to do after you've lost the weight - to keep it off.

◆ A Diet That Fits Into Your Lifestyle

Whatever diet you choose, it needs to work for you. Whether you fit it or it fits you, the diet has to work with you to lose weight.

Otherwise you won't stick with it. And to get results with any of the best diet programs, you need to stick with them.

Right now, my diet is kind of a combination of the different nutrition and diet info I've read. It's pretty close to a paleolithic diet, but there are definitely times I stray from that (ice cream...). As long as you can lose weight (and keep it off), mold the diet that you choose so that it fits you.

◆ A Diet That Is Flexible

Your body is never static. You are either gaining or losing body fat, and gaining or loosing muscle.

And your life changes a lot, too!

Choose one of the best diet programs that reflects this. Counting calories is a bulletproof way to lose fat - when you have the time to count and tally them...

Perhaps you might combine calorie counting with eating low carb, or with not drinking any calories?

And when you've lost the fat you want to lose and are working on maintenance, be reasonable. Your body fat will go slightly up and down, and you will gain (or lose) muscle as you work out and life happens to you.

If you accept that you can't completely control your exact weight to the tenth of a pound, even with the best diet programs, you will be much happier. This is a mature way to look at your eating habits; they support and fuel your lifestyle, but they aren't set in stone.

To keep long-term weight gain off, you will need to keep an eye on the scale to prevent fat from creeping on. But don't stress horribly about perfection - there's much more to life than achieving absolutely the "perfect" weight.

◆ Choose One Of The Best Diet Programs That Allows You To Show Off - That Works!

Above all, no matter who's told you about what’s the best diet, find one that works! If you try one and, after a few weeks of rigid adherence, it isn't working - try something else.

Or, if you try one and after a few weeks realize that you can’t adhere to it – try something that you might be able to stick to. You've got nothing to lose!

This may take a little time and customization to find the one that's perfect for you. But try your hardest and, when you find one to try, commit fully - that'll give you the best results!

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

• Click here to learn more about how to Create Your Own Best Weight Loss Plan!


• Click here to leave 'The Best Diet Programs - What's Their Secret?' & go back to the Home-page!

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