| Special to FLORIDA TODAY
As the new year rolls around, many of us are carrying around a few extra pounds.
Holiday indulgences can add inches to our waistlines. But now, thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns, some of us already had put on a bit extra, even before the holidays approached.
So, what’s the best way to get rid of that spare tire now that the holidays are over, and life resumes to the “new normal?”
There are about as many weight-loss diets out there as there are stars in the sky, so choosing a plan can be a daunting project.
I assume you want to keep off any weight that you lose, right?
So that eliminates about 90% of them.
Most fad diets offer quick weight loss, but what they don’t tell you is they also lead to quick weight re-gain!
And that re-gain most likely includes a few extra pounds that you didn’t have before.
It goes without saying the best plan is one you can stick with over the long haul.
Let’s take a look at some popular weight loss diets and examine if they work, and how they work.
Intermittent fasting is popular right now. These diets allow you to eat at specified times, with nothing in between. There are a few versions of this.
The two most popular are the 5:2 and the 16:8 plans.
The 5:2 diet allows you to eat what you want for five days, then fast for two days.
The 16:8 diet gives you an eight-hour window to eat, followed by a 16-hour fasting period. A more complicated version of this is called the Dubrow Diet.
Just for the record, I don’t recommend any of the modified fasting plans.
Your body burns calories 24/7, and it just doesn’t make sense to put your metabolism on a roller coaster of starvation and overload. You need to fuel your body consistently throughout the day to maximize metabolism and energy.
The Keto Diet is another fad diet that’s enjoying its 15 minutes of fame.
This is an extremely high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
It recommends 65-70% of calories as fat.
By contrast, a healthy balanced diet contains between 20-35% of calories as fat.
The Keto Diet was developed for, and is useful in, certain clinical situations, such as treating seizures, but is NOT a good diet for a healthy person.
Any diet that recommends extremely low or high amounts of macronutrients isn’t balanced or healthy.
Much of the weight you lose on this diet is likely muscle and water.
Plus, it gives you stinky breath — and who wants to be around that?
The CICO Diet is just a gimmicky name for counting calories.
CICO stands for “calories in, calories out.”
The idea is you can eat anything you want, as long as you don’t take in more calories than you burn each day.
So how do you know how many calories you burn?
If you want to lose weight, just take your desired body weight and multiply it by 10.
That will give you the recommended amount of calories you should consume in one day in order to lose weight.
Of course, the potential problem with this is that you could select foods that are fatty, sugary, and generally unhealthy, and still fall within your recommended calorie level.
There are many good diet plans out there that are uncomplicated, healthy and balanced that work.
And what I mean by “work” is you actually lose weight on them, you feel food, you have energy, you’re not hungry and the weight stays off.
That’s what we all want, right?
We’re all familiar with the old stand-by, WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers).
This is a balanced diet with a reasonable amount of calories that allows for weight loss without starvation.
WW utilizes a point system assigned to foods.
If you stay within your allotted points each day, it automatically keeps you within your recommended calorie intake range.
This is among the best structured diet plans. It’s easy to follow and you don’t have to change your life to make it work.
Another good one is called Volumetrics. The concept behind this plan is to consume foods with high volume and low-calorie density — that is, high water content.
This plan is rich in fruits and vegetables and recommends a lower intake of higher calorie-dense foods such as starches and meats.
The goal is to fill up on these lower calorie foods in order to satisfy your hunger. All in all, this is a good plan.
For the ultimate best diet plan, consult a Registered Dietitian for a customized meal plan that includes all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs, and the correct amount of macros (carbohydrate, protein and fat).
A Registered Dietitian will design a plan for you that works with your lifestyle, likes, dislikes, allergies and intolerances.
This is the diet plan you are most likely to follow and stick with long-term.
Beware of “nutritionists” who may not have adequate training, education and expertise.
To find a Registered Dietitian in your area go to eatright.org (the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). Tap “Find an Expert” to locate a dietitian near you.
Susie Bond is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in private practice. Contact her at NutritionistOnCall@gmail.com