In a sort of continuation of To Eat or Not to Eat Breakfast, I uncovered studies that found evidence both for and against any benefit of eating breakfast. Not surprisingly, attempting to identify the best diet plan has proven similarly inconclusive. A group of researchers decided to compare several diets that were popular in 2000 to see which was more effective. Another study looked at the Atkins Diet and found that its effectiveness dropped precipitously after the first six months. Like the effects of breakfasting or not, their main finding was that no one diet proved better than any other, but that the biggest hurdle people encountered in attempting to lose weight was sticking with the diet to reach a healthy weight.
Ultimately, the only important factor in choosing a food plan is that you can stick to it, as I discussed in Start Now! Commit to a lifestyle change by choosing a plan that you can realistically stick to and work to implement dietary changes you can live with in the long-run, or you’ll continue to be on the-feeling-like-you-need-to-lose-weight treadmill indefinitely. A lot of people go into weight loss thinking in terms of a diet as a one-off thing, which, as the above research confirms, most likely will result in failure.
So find a healthful approach to losing or maintaining your weight that is realistic and suited to your needs. If you opt for a low-carbohydrate plan, but you have a two pack-a-day M&Ms habit, it’s likely to fail. Instead, figure out what you can live with work with it. When I started my lifestyle plan, I knew I needed more vegetables in my diet than recommended if I was going to stick to it, so I made that adjustment.
At that time in my life, I also needed a sugar hit after dinner, so I compromised with a few Jelly Bellys. I made sure to buy only enough to have four each night. That way, if I went crazy and ate all of them (which, amazingly, I never did), it wouldn’t happen more than once in a week.
It undoubtedly took me longer to reach the weight where I felt good, but so what? I’d tried and failed so many ‘diets’, following them to the letter, but never had any success. Instead, my approach was: ‘Do I feel better today than I did before I started my lifestyle change?” and the answer was always, emphatically, Yes! I knew I had to be more flexible if this plan was going to work. So I was successful with this approach where I’d failed numerous other times. taking draconian measures that left me feeling deprived and/or starving.