Food and Fitness Fundamentals
In my last blog I discussed the top 5 best diets overall listed in a recent study that researched various meal plans of 2012. If you are still in search for ways to improve your eating habits but haven’t found the one that best suits your lifestyle and food preferences, check out the next top four diets listed by this study.
The premise of this diet is based on the fact that most people like to eat. It focuses on eating high volumes of low energy dense foods which in turn aids in satiety. No foods are off limits; however, choosing low calorie foods, particularly those with high water content such as non starchy vegetables, fruits, non fat milk, and broth are encouraged. It also suggests keeping food records, being physically active 30-60 min most days, and achieving a realistic weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. It encompasses following recipes from their specific meal plan, which may be quite time consuming for some people.
Jenny Craig Diet
The Jenny Craig Diet focuses on consuming prepackaged frozen foods purchased through their program. The premise for this is to teach people the essence of a well balanced diet including proper portion control. Meal plans are developed per the individual’s height, weight and goals, and consist of 50-60% carbohydrate, 20-15% protein, and 20-25% fat. There are three elements in this program. The first is Food: Learn to eat sensibly and have a plan. The second is Body: Achieve long term weight loss and be physically active. Third listed is Mind: In order to have a good mindset and stay on track, they offer 24/7 support and affirmation. The downsides of this diet plan include following a strict regimen of eating their prepackaged foods (eventually making the transition to real eating) and the cost of the program.
Biggest Loser Diet
This diet is derived from the TV show, The Biggest Loser. This is a 12-week program that emphasizes The Biggest Loser Pyramid 4,3,2,1. Four servings of fruit and vegetables, three lean protein, two whole grains, and one “extra”. The meal plan consists of three meals and two snacks and equates to 45% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 25% healthy fats. Drinking 48-64 oz of water is encouraged daily along with 60-90 minutes of moderate exercise four times per week. No foods are off limits, however the emphasis on natural, healthy whole foods are encouraged to help control hunger and satiety. Although you may not have the powerhouse motivation the professionals provide the contestants, for about $5 per week they offer an online support club, which includes meal plans, recipes, a journal and customized fitness information. A series of books are also available for purchase.
Dr. Dean Ornish is a very well known physician who has conducted numerous diet studies showing the prevention, stopping, and even reversing of heart disease without drugs or surgery. His diet plan is believed to be nutritionally sound and not only heart healthy, but is also thought to benefit the management of diabetes, hypertension, prostate and breast cancer.
Though this way of eating has such great health claims, in actuality it may be quite challenging to follow long term, especially for those who do not wish to be vegetarians and follow such a strict regime. Dr. Ornish categorizes foods as to how often they should be eaten: All of the time, Some of the time, or None of the time. He focuses consumption on a diet of no more than 10% of total calories from fat, and choosing mostly high fiber foods such as legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. He suggests limiting non fat dairy products. Foods to avoid are all meat, fish, poultry, oils, high fat dairy, nuts, seeds, avocado, sugar, alcohol and commercially prepared foods that contain more than 2 grams of fat per serving. This is not a weight loss diet per se, however it can be tailored quite easily to produce loss of excess pounds. Exercise is encouraged on a regular basis, and it is up to the individual to establish a support system.
When setting goals for lifestyle changes, remember to seek behaviors and likes that best fit your needs, daily routines and ultimate goals. Following these steps will help create new habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.