About: When you read Ayah’s blog, it’s almost like you can hear her accent. And that’s what drew us to her blog — the idea that no matter how different cultures might be, we all struggle with the same things. As Ayah puts it, she’s a person just like anyone else, a person who’s fought to lose weight, gone up and down multiple times and these days just tries to maintain her fitness while sharing her journey (and tons of great recipes) along the way.
Regardless of which of these diets appeals to you, the biggest challenge for any of them is that you have to have at least some ability in the kitchen -- and for some you have to be pretty competent -- because all of them are based, at least in part, upon purchasing and preparing your own, whole foods. That may be a challenge if food prep is not your thing or you're often pressed for time. In that case, Weight Watchers is probably the easiest program for the non-cook to follow. They not only have a complete line of prepared foods, they also have tools to give you the points values for the menus of many popular restaurants. If you really want to make dieting as simple as possible, skip on over to our discussion of the Best Prepackaged Diet Plans for some really convenient weight loss plans.
Meal prepping takes a few hours a week, but it's worth it: By getting your meals ready ahead of time, you won't be so tempted to order your go-to Chinese takeout when you're tired and hungry after work. "When you plan an entire week of dinner in advance, you're way less likely to go off course and indulge in foods that aren't good for you," says Pamela Salzman, a certified holistic health expert and cooking instructor. And since you planned things out, you'll actually get the protein, fruit, and veggies your body needs — and you'll lose weight in the process.
After losing 40 pounds, certified personal trainer Gina Harney was on the hunt for guides on weight maintenance. But at the time, her options were limited. So she started The Fitnessista, which is focused on fitness advice and healthy recipes that only sound indulgent (think: pecan pie oatmeal, pumpkin pie protein smoothie bowl, and chocolate protein donuts).
If you can keep up motivation and accountability without the assistance of an app or a like-minded community, the book should give you all necessary tools. While we weren’t floored by Mayo’s online offerings, the app does have one cool feature (if you can get it to work): Enable your camera to eyeball the correct size of any food item in comparison to a virtual baseball, hockey puck, set of dice.
Eating sugary foods might be satisfying in the moment, but they can increase your cravings for more sugary foods in the future — and that only leads to trouble. "Many foods high in added sugar are also higher in calories and fill you up less than lower-calorie, still-sweet alternatives like fruit," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. But there are still ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without ODing on sugar. "When you're baking, cut out some of the sugar in recipes by adding in vanilla extract or cinnamon, blend unsweetened cocoa powder into a smoothie instead of honey, top your French toast with unsweetened frozen fruit instead of syrup, and nosh on a slab of watermelon instead of cookies."
Gina Harney started The Fitnessista after she’d already lost 40 pounds. At the time, she was in maintenance mode in Georgia where, as she explains it, “healthy options were pretty scarce.” The blog was her way of chronicling how she sought out those healthy choices and often created them for herself. Today, Gina works as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and weight loss specialist. She loves sharing tips with her readers as they embark on their own journeys toward health. Visit the blog.