We pulled the top 14 of the best commercial diets (marketed to the public for profit) and the top 12 of the best diets overall. We also threw five of the most popular diet apps into the mix. Since these are largely tracking devices that don’t espouse unique eating habits, they don’t appear to meet US News’ definition of diet, but are still potentially effective weight loss tools.
Keep your exercise regimen interesting. Variety is the key to both promoting a healthier you and keeping you motivated. When you do the same exercise day in and day out, you put yourself at a higher risk of injuring yourself. You are also more likely to become bored, thus making it harder to find the motivation to keep exercising. While at the gym, switch between machines, join a fitness class, and add some resistance training into your schedule.
Scrolling through your social media one last time may be most people’s pre-bed ritual, but it can seriously mess with your sleep cycle. The light from your screen can suppress melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep. And getting plenty of shut-eye is important for your waistline; a study published in the journal Sleep found that people who didn’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night were more at risk for weight gain. Try to put your phone away 20 minutes before your bedtime to avoid the light distraction.
Gabby is a mom, health blogger, and writer of Half Of Gabby. Additionally, she holds two degrees—a bachelors in Psychology and a masters degree in Social Work. At one point in time, Gabby weighed 262 pounds but lost nearly half of her own body weight (120 pounds)—which inspired the name of her blog. Fascinated with the human mind, Gabby delved into the psychology of being fat. She believes that eating right and exercising may be the means to lose weight, but it’s not what allows you to lose weight—it’s 100% mental. Without altering the way you think, it is impossible for a permanent change to occur. She learned how to tackle her obesity from the inside out and her entire blog revolves around teaching others how to do the same.
An increase in fiber intake is also recommended for regulating bowel movements. Other methods of weight loss include use of drugs and supplements that decrease appetite, block fat absorption, or reduce stomach volume. Bariatric surgery may be indicated in cases of severe obesity. Two common bariatric surgical procedures are gastric bypass and gastric banding. Both can be effective at limiting the intake of food energy by reducing the size of the stomach, but as with any surgical procedure both come with their own risks that should be considered in consultation with a physician. Dietary supplements, though widely used, are not considered a healthy option for weight loss. Many are available, but very few are effective in the long term.
It would be wonderful if we could get all the nutrition our bodies need to optimally fuel energy, metabolism, and health through food alone. Reality too often gets in the way with a quick paced lifestyle, reliance on convenience foods, and depleted agricultural conditions (which results in food with lower nutrient density) - all in addition to our personal stressors. Each of these factors increases our nutritional needs further. Here are some essentials for women.
About: Sanji started her blog in 2009 as a personal journey to discover what adventures life would bring her, including religion, dating, traveling and more. Fast forward 7 years later, and Sanji is married and has a child. Recently, she morphed her blog into a place to share about her weight loss journey and efforts to live healthy. Add in her long-time writing experience and willingness to get vulnerable, and you’re sure to find it’s a journey you can relate to and find inspiration.
The sad truth is that conventional ideas – eat less, run more – do not work long term. Counting calories, exercising for hours every day and trying to ignore your hunger? That’s needless suffering and it wastes your time and precious willpower. It’s weight loss for masochists. Eventually almost everyone gives up. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic. Fortunately there’s a better way.
Lisa Cain is a mother and writer for the healthy living blog Snack Girl. After learning from her doctor that she needed to gain control of her weight, Lisa was devoted to finding a new strategy and approach to weight loss that would help her make a long-term lifestyle change. Her blog is dedicated to creating healthy versions of her favorite snack foods and providing helpful tips for enjoying the process.
About: Shae is a Wichita native, and, as she puts it, she is “not skinny.” But she’s blogging about fitness and healthy eating anyway, with a few (ok, a lot) of complaints. Her blog features an impressive combination of her quirky, laugh-out-loud style and visually stimulating photos that tell the story or show the recipes as well as the writing itself does. Once you start reading, strap in. Because you’re not going to want to stop.
In addition to improving your health, maintaining a weight loss is likely to improve your life in other ways. For example, a study of participants in the National Weight Control RegistryExternal* found that those who had maintained a significant weight loss reported improvements in not only their physical health, but also their energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence.
When you drink liquid carbs, like the sugar in soda, your body doesn't register them the same way as, say, a piece of bread, according to a review of studies published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. That means, even though you're taking in calories, your fullness cues aren't likely to signal that you're satisfied once you finish off a can. And that can lead to consuming more overall.
For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
The HMR Program uses meal replacements – think low-calorie shakes, meals, nutrition bars and hot cereal – in phases, coaching from experts, physical activity and an emphasis on fruits and vegetables to help dieters shed pounds fast. While last year the diet shared the No. 1 ranking in this category with the Biggest Loser diet, this year it has the top spot to itself. "This diet makes it easy to lose weight fast and would likely be effective for someone who wants to lose weight for a specific event," one expert said. "However, as far as long-term healthy-habit-forming, this diet falls short" in part because dieters don't learn to make their own healthy food choices.
How would you like to hear something more about Jennifer? She is about 30-ish and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and she has decided to share all of her experiences with you. In the year off 2009, she managed to weight a bit more than 280 pounds. This is when she said enough. She joined a weight loss programme and just two years later, she could say hi to her new figure and goodbye to 100 pounds that she lost. Even though her goal is to lose 160 pounds, and she is still working on that, Jennifer decided to share her life changing experience with everyone. Besides being a teacher in an elementary school, her part time job is this blog. Here she shares all the recipes, races (because she started running after she lost 100 pounds), the reviews, triumphs, defeats, and her overall journey through which she hopes she can motivate you to start your own journey.
Stopping eating after dinner is an easy way to easily cut back on mindless munching and extra calories, and can help boost weight loss, White says. One way to prevent that post-dinner grazing is to brush your teeth almost immediately after your last meal of the day. The minty flavor in your mouth will make all your favorite foods taste gross anyway, and you won’t want to go back and brush your teeth all over again.
21. Keep it simple. "I take a minimalist approach to nutrition: My diet consists of lean protein (chicken breast, egg whites, ground turkey), complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal), healthy fats (coconut oil, almonds, avocados), and leafy green veggies. I eat as clean as I can—locally-grown vegetables, organic when possible, and minimally-processed everything."
Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.
Useful goals should be (1) specific; (2) attainable (doable); and (3) forgiving (less than perfect). "Exercise more" is a great goal, but it's not specific. "Walk 5 miles every day" is specific and measurable, but is it doable if you're just starting out? "Walk 30 minutes every day" is more attainable, but what happens if you're held up at work one day and there's a thunderstorm during your walking time another day? "Walk 30 minutes, 5 days each week" is specific, doable, and forgiving. In short, a great goal!
Calorie counting is going to be hard at first, but you can do it!! You know what you should and shouldn’t eat and the main thing is to listen to your body, when your hungry eat, when your not stop. I know it’s easier said then done!!! I’ll be honest, I’m on the calorie counting yo-yo! I stop counting, then I start back up. I’m off the counting right now, hopefully I can do it this time!!! Stop back and let me know how you are doing!!
But vegetarians may suffer high rates of chronic disease if they eat a lot of processed foods. Take India, for example, where rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and stroke have increased far faster than might have been expected given its relatively small increase in per-capita meat consumption. This has been blamed in part on the apparent shift from brown rice to white and substitution of other refined carbohydrates, packaged snacks, and fast-food products for India’s traditional staples of lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Continuing weight loss may deteriorate into wasting, a vaguely defined condition called cachexia. Cachexia differs from starvation in part because it involves a systemic inflammatory response. It is associated with poorer outcomes. In the advanced stages of progressive disease, metabolism can change so that they lose weight even when they are getting what is normally regarded as adequate nutrition and the body cannot compensate. This leads to a condition called anorexia cachexia syndrome (ACS) and additional nutrition or supplementation is unlikely to help. Symptoms of weight loss from ACS include severe weight loss from muscle rather than body fat, loss of appetite and feeling full after eating small amounts, nausea, anemia, weakness and fatigue.
If you watch TV often, you've probably seen a commercial pop up for Jenny Craig. When you do the diet, you receive a unique weight loss plan for your specific lifestyle and have a personal consultant to check in with at least once a week. And, the meals are delicious: There are more than 100 menu items to choose from for your meals, which are five a day plus one snack of your own.
If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend consuming half your body weight in grams of protein a day (at the very least). For those seeking to burn fat and build muscle, aim to consume 0.7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should be getting 75 to 150 grams of protein a day (depending on your goals). Checkout this list of these top protein foods.
About: Helen’s a sweet and simple kind of girl. She’s a runner in mid-life whose goal is to live healthy while mixing in a bit of adventure too. But what really makes her blog special is the number of delicious, healthy recipes she has developed along the way. They’re easy to follow and loaded with pics. And although Helen does sometimes take long breaks between posts, when she does do an update, they're among the most well-read on her blog.
Another frontrunner on the U.S. News and World Report 2016 list (it came in at number two in the weight loss category), the HMR Weight Management program is used in over 200 medical facilities around the U.S. Dieters embark on two phases, the first centered around HMR's products (meals, shakes, snacks) and the second transitioning towards a sustainable plan emphasizing fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
This incredible woman, Mary Mack, started on her own journey about nine years ago, when she lost about 45 pounds. This is when she decided that a change was in order, s she started training and just a couple of years later, she became a certified trainer. What she truly does is she enables other people to make some lifestyle changes, including fitness, nutrition and well-being, because she does it from the heart. She also loves cooking, gardening, and spending quality time with her husband and her son. But what is so interesting about this blogger is that she openly admits having a problem. The biggest obstacle that she had to overcome so far was definitely herself. The struggle of embracing her sobriety, losing weight and eating clean, as well as building herself up from the bottom is all documented on this blog. A true inspiration.
If you’re eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, odds are you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to help boost weight-loss and lose weight fast. But it’s also a good idea to take vitamins that can supplement your diet; B vitamins (especially B2 and B12) can boost energy, vitamin D can regulate appetite and aid in weight loss, and magnesium can trigger lipolysis, a process where your body releases fat from where it’s stored.
There's a reason you've been hearing so much about cutting meat out of your diet lately. It's not just great for your body, but also a quick way to shed some extra pounds. "Consider swapping a few meat-centric meals each week for ones centered around vegetarian proteins — or give a full-fledged vegetarian diet a try if that's of interest to you," Gorin says. "Research shows eating a vegetarian diet may boost and speed up weight loss, resulting in a loss of up to 10 pounds." Gorin recommends topping a salad or filling a veggie taco with vegetarian protein sources like pulses — which are beans, chickpeas, lentils, and dried peas — to give your weight loss a boost. One study found eating ¾ cup of pulses daily led to a loss of close to a pound over about six weeks, versus people not eating pulses daily.
Motivation and encouragement: Every person has different needs when it comes to what motivates them to succeed. Think about how you have met other important goals, or quit bad habits in the past. Would you be more likely to succeed using social media, in-person meetings with strangers or acquaintances, or expert counseling using text messaging, phone calls or email?
Many of our best-rated weight loss programs have tracking software available online, as well as mobile apps, or even paper-tracking programs for those who prefer hard-copy journaling. Other programs or diets may not have dedicated websites, but there are a wealth of free calorie and activity tracking websites that offer community support, recipes and even free exercise videos.
Keep your muscles guessing by cross training and trying different workouts or tweaking your usual routine. You’ll work new muscles and beat boredom while trying something new. Also, studies show that you’re more likely to stick with your daily exercise routine if you switch up your workouts. Are you a CrossFit junkie? Stretch out at a yoga class. Is running more your style? Try adding some speed intervals throughout your usual route.
About: Holly’s story starts and ends with food. Years ago, Holly spent every waking minute obsessing over every calorie, every bite and trying every yo-yo diet she could think of to shed pounds. But then one day she woke up and realized she would never find happiness living that way. She began focusing on finding a love of healthy food and cooking, a love she now shares on her blog and sees as her true purpose in life. There, you’ll find everything you need to learn to enjoy food again without all the guilt.
The study began with 609 relatively healthy overweight and obese people, and 481 completed the whole year. For the first month, everyone did what they usually did. Then, for the next eight weeks, the low-fat group reduced their total fat intake to 20 grams per day, and the low-carb group reduced their total carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day. These are incredibly restricted amounts, considering that there are 26 grams of carbs in the yogurt drink I’m enjoying as I write this, and 21 grams of fat in my half of the dark chocolate bar my husband and I split for dessert last night.
Make sure that the diet has been studied extensively for safety — and discuss any changes with your physician or registered dietitian before beginning a new diet. (If you don’t have a dietitian, find one in your area at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.) And do a self-check to ensure the diet fits with your own values and preferences.
About: Caitlin’s approach to healthy living is three-pronged: mind, spirit and body. She believes that finding true health means finding balance in all three, and her mission with her blog is to take people along the way as she figures that out. She’s a self-taught yogi with a passion for natural, balanced food and fitness — all things she shares exponentially in her blog to help others figure it out too.
Considering that only 1 in 10 Americans meet their produce requirements, it’s pretty safe to say you need to eat more veggies. And no matter what food philosophy you subscribe to, veggies are a big part of the program. Vegetables have a lot going for them: They fill you up for very few calories, and they flood your body with the nutrients it needs to fight diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
Monica Olivas is a holistic health coach, certified running coach, and writer for the blog Run Eat Repeat. She has been a passionate runner for almost 10 years and has completed over 50 half marathons and 30 full marathons. Running has helped her lose 20 pounds and uses her blog as a way to share healthy recipes, running tips, and motivation to help you do the same!