Weight Watchers is still the best choice for both short-term weight loss and long-term healthy eating, while Jenny Craig rules in the prepackaged convenience category. But if neither of those works for you, we also review the top diet books, low carb diets, the Paleo diet and more. We even recommend less-expensive alternatives to the top commercial diets.
“If you have ever lost a substantial amount of weight then gained some back you probably have an idea of that devastating feeling of going backwards — I think those feelings were more painful at that time than when I was overweight,” Ruby wrote on Instagram, adding that it’s been helpful to practice mindfulness at this point in her journey. “I had to remember that a transformation is far deeper than physical.”
So often, we have the best of intentions but life gets in the way. That is, unless you plan for it! If you like working out right after work, join a gym or hit up a class that’s near your office. Do you prefer doing yoga stretches in the privacy of your home? Designate an area as a yoga-only zone with your mat and candles to strike a pose whenever the urge hits.
Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, has spent her career looking into what it takes for children and adults to succeed. She has investigated our mythology around talent or giftedness and effort. She is passionate about working with young students and teaching them to apply her strategies towards developing grit. Her work targets students who are considered talented and those who are considered not so talented.
Red wine can actually be good for your health, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, which studies have shown is good for your health and could help you lose weight. But any more than one glass, and you’re opening yourself up to extra sugar, empty calories, and a boozy buzz, which may inhibit your ability to make healthy food choices. If you’re out to happy hour, stop at one glass and opt for club soda (which is calorie free) or water with lemon instead.
Other diabetes medications. Insulin-releasing tablets (e.g. sulphonylureas) often lead to weight gain. These include: Minodiab, Euglucon, Daonil, and Glibenclamide. Tablets like Avandia, Actos, Starlix and NovoNorm also encourage weight gain. But not Metformin. The newer drugs Victoza and Byetta (injectable) often lead to weight loss, but possible long-term side effects are still unknown. More on diabetes
Hannah Howlett is a YouTuber and healthy lifestyle blogger for High Carb Hannah, formerly known as Raw Till Whenever. Her philosophy for achieving lasting weight loss without all the dieting gimmicks, restrictions, and rules is to eat a whole food, plant-based diet in whatever way works best for you. By changing her mindset about eating, no longer revolving her life around what she ate, and never forcing herself to eat, she lost 55 pounds and continues to inspire and encourage others to do the same. Her blog is a compilation of healthy recipes, cookbooks, and meal guides to help you achieve a life and body that you love.
About: Brand new to the blogging world, Ayla’s story is a familiar one. She started out her journey at about 200 pounds and tried tons of different things to lose weight — pills, dieting, the gym, you name it — none of which seemed to work. Finally, Ayla gave it one last go using Insanity workouts and overhauling her diet, and, what do you know, it worked. Ayla lost 63 pounds, and now dedicates her time and energy to sharing tips and tricks that worked for her with others. Her blog has easy-to-follow, quick-hit guides and ideas for losing weight quickly and effectively.
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The most important thing when it comes to weight-loss plans is to view them as a tool rather than a set of restrictions. If you don’t like one of the exercises or want to substitute one ingredient for another, go for it. As soon as a weight-loss plan becomes a weight around your neck, your motivation and dedication will take some serious knocks, so making sure the plan suits you is your best chance of success.
And my motivation is people! I have a friend that goes to almost all of my gym classes with me, so I look forward to going just so I can see her! I found running buddies who go to races with me, so running a 5k is actually fun(ish) and it’s more of a social experience than physical torture. And my Fitbit helps me to be more conscious of my movement on a daily basis. I don’t know why, but those silly little flashing lights make me want to get my 10,000 steps in everyday!
#11 – Most importantly, set a goal and try to achieve it! Don’t give up, even if you mess up for a day or two. Just get back on that horse and keep going. Along that note, you need to reward yourself! If you reach a mini goal, then treat yourself to a pair of jeans, or something you desire. I bought clothes at every 5lbs loss. A little crazy, but it worked and I felt great!!
A few years ago, I embarked on a personal weight loss journey. I had had two pregnancies back-to-back, and had gained considerable weight, to the point where my own body mass index was over 30 (obesity range). I was many months postpartum, and realized that the “baby weight” wasn’t going anywhere. As a matter of fact, I had gained even more weight since my daughter was born.
I wasn’t happy at my heaviest, but I wasn’t really motivated to do anything about it until a ski trip with friends in 2004 put things in perspective. The vacation was a blast, but I quickly lost my getaway glow when I saw photos from our trip. Looking at the physical proof, I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained. Every photo was a “bad” photo of me. I was so depressed that I threw most of them away.
Even listening to music while you eat can lead to weight gain, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Research showed that people who listened to music ate more food, and it didn’t matter the pace or volume of the music playing. It’s best to focus on the food you’re eating while you’re chowing down, which help you tune in to signals of feeling full.
It's a one-time investment you'll never regret. Here's why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you'll slim down. How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges. Use your free weights to perform simple bicep curls or tricep pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you'll soon see a rapid improvement in your physique.
Fighting constantly with your S.O.? It’s time to address your issues head-on. "Research has shown that cortisol, the hormone that's released during stressful activity, is linked to fat storage,” says Gina Guddet, couples counselor and co-author of Love Metabolism. “And poor communication between couples is the most common type of stress that you tend to experience."
When I feel like I’m slipping, I start logging again. Nowadays, I use an online fitness app on my phone to more easily keep track of my daily food intake. Red wine and dark chocolate are always in stock in our house, and that’s OK. Exercise is important, too, but in my book, any and all physical activity counts. Two or three workouts a week help me maintain muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness. If I can’t get to the gym, I run. If I can’t run, I do something at home, like five minutes of in-place kickboxing moves, or dancing around the living room like a crazy person with my kids. I take the stairs wherever I am as often as possible. I use a carry basket at the grocery store, and switch from arm to arm while I shop: biceps curls! Hey, it all counts.
Most people I have met knows someone who is heavy, but disabled in some way that makes it difficult or impossible to work out, or someone trying to lose weight after an injury. I encourage them to move their bodies as much as they can, if it means lifting weights while on the couch, or just working a little harder in physical therapy you can do something to move more.
Can’t carve out a full 30 minutes or an hour of exercise time in one go? Opt for shorter bouts of exercise throughout the day instead. The latest science suggests that several short exercise bursts provide the same health and fitness benefits as a similar amount of exercise done in one longer workout — and, in some cases, reap even more rewards. (1)
About: If ever there were a husband-wife duo who had the chops to back up what they’re selling, it’s Hilda and Randy. And the good news? They’re not really “selling” you anything. They’re two people who care about their faith and want to use their own experiences getting healthy using a low-carb diet to help guide others to wholesome wellness, too. Randy lost more than 70 pounds and overcame Type II diabetes and hypertension, and Hilda is a survivor of the Guillan Barre Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Now, both of them are pastors who blog delicious, healthy recipes, plus insightful, impactful truths about finding health and wholesome lives. Pretty powerful stuff.
Do the raw food diet if you enjoy raw veggies and fruits. If you dislike meat and are tired of cooking, this one's for you. The raw food diet consists entirely of foods that have not been cooked. You lose weight by consuming loads of fresh vegetables and fruits. Coconut milk, nuts, seeds and other uncooked foods are also allowed on the raw food diet.
I am going to be 60 on Feb. 5th. I didn’t have a weight problem when I was young. I am 5’9″ and weigh 196 right now. I am build med. to large boned. I have lost some weight in the past, 15 to 20 lbs. But I go back to my normal eating always and feel so angry at myself. I eat when I am board or angry or stressed. I also have a fit husband and he is my food police, (not my idea). I have depression and really have a hard time in the winter. I have no energy to do anything. I have started to lose weight and do some excercise but always stop. I feel like a failure most of the time.
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."
About: Amy started her weight loss journey after she ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at her heaviest weight ever — and realized it was time to make a change. Fast forward a couple years, she's lost 65 pounds, motivated especially by her father, who she calls her “biggest cheerleader.” Then her father passed away, and things went downhill a bit. Amy gained 40 pounds back and in 2014 started a weight loss blog to embark on the ultimate quest: signing up for races (her most recent was the Star Wars Half Marathon) and letting readers know that she feels their pain — and, most importantly, that they can get through it and make the changes and run races, just like she is.
In 2008 between US$33 billion and $55 billion was spent annually in the US on weight-loss products and services, including medical procedures and pharmaceuticals, with weight-loss centers taking between 6 and 12 percent of total annual expenditure. Over $1.6 billion a year was spent on weight-loss supplements. About 70 percent of Americans' dieting attempts are of a self-help nature.
As my middle 30’s were here, I ate better, more home cooked meals, but again didn’t do any exercise. I was tracking calories, but I wasn’t eating enough. I didn’t know how many calories I needed in a day, I just thought I wasn’t suppose to eat. At work the other day, I was cleaning my desk drawer out and came across papers that had my calorie intake for the day on it and it said I was eating 800, 900 and 1000 calories on a high day! I was shocked, well no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight, I wasn’t eating enough. You can’t go from eating way over 2000 calories a day to practically nothing. But back then I didn’t care, I did that for a few months and gave up. The scale didn’t move, so I figured again, this is the weight my body is comfortable with. (image of my calorie count from January 2009)
If you dislike cooking, abhor making food choices, or simply want low-calorie options shipped to your door, Nutrisystem might slot into your life. But it can get expensive, and food selection and flavor are hit-or-miss. Mostly miss. “It’s enough substance to call it a meal, but the texture of every ingredient was lacking,” our tester reported without enthusiasm.
You do have to track everything you eat, which is easy if you're following a Weight Watchers' recipe or eating a prepackaged food with the points pre-calculated. It gets a bit trickier when you prepare your own recipes as you have to break down the ingredients and do the math -- although that's certainly simpler if all you're doing is, for example, grilling a chicken breast and making a salad. And, under the new "Freestyle" program, that's a meal that could be points-free under the current guidelines, depending upon whether or not the salad is dressed.
The Mayo Clinic Diet is a long-term weight management program created by a team of weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic Diet is designed to help you reshape your lifestyle by adopting healthy new habits and breaking unhealthy old ones. The goal is to make simple, pleasurable changes that will result in a healthy weight that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
1 Reference for 5%: Blackburn G. (1995). Effect of degree of weight loss on health benefits. Obesity Research 3: 211S-216S. Reference for 10%: NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF-1.25MB]External
About: If there’s anyone who feels the pain of bouncing up and down with weight loss, it’s Emily. In 2011, she started working to shed the pounds, and got down to 151 by 2012. Then she went back up again...to 181. 2013 rolls around, and enter: her blog. Emily set out to lose the weight for good. She’s already down to 148, and although she only blogs about two times a month, her quirky style definitely makes them worth reading.
Unintentional weight loss can occur because of an inadequately nutritious diet relative to a person's energy needs (generally called malnutrition). Disease processes, changes in metabolism, hormonal changes, medications or other treatments, disease- or treatment-related dietary changes, or reduced appetite associated with a disease or treatment can also cause unintentional weight loss. Poor nutrient utilization can lead to weight loss, and can be caused by fistulae in the gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, drug-nutrient interaction, enzyme depletion and muscle atrophy.
The good news is that if you're struggling with your size, reducing your calorie intake and increasing your activity level have been clinically shown to help you lose weight. The bad news is that there are no shortcuts and no short-term fixes. Fad diets, herbal supplements, "fat-burning" pills, and highly restrictive diets don't work for long, if at all, and some may cause more harm than good.
Rise and shine—literally! Researchers from Northwestern University found that people who were exposed to bright daylight earlier in the day tended to weigh less than those who didn’t get sunlight until later. So right after you wake up, open the blinds and let the sunshine in. Or better yet, step outside and enjoy your morning cup of coffee on the front porch
Biz is a healthy recipe developer and creator of the blog, My Bizzy Kitchen. For years, she struggled to maintain a healthy weight after working a desk job for close to ten years. When the time came to get serious about her health, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and has since been learning to navigate her weight loss while being an insulin dependent diabetic. She shares her weight loss journey and her healthy, diabetes-friendly recipes, as well as a healthy dose of humor, on her blog.