Weight loss has always been a hot topic among many people, if not all. Since the COVID-19 social distancing order, I have gained 5 pounds during self-quarantine. Now is the time to initiate a weight loss plan for myself.
Many of us want to try a magic diet and expect to shed 5 pounds the next day. This magic is absolutely not going to happen. Weight loss takes persistent effort and willpower to resist the temptations of indulging upon delectable foods. However, we should try our best to avoid binging foods such as hot fudge chocolate pudding cake, Tiramisu, milkshakes, etc. Instead, we should stay on a diet that is as lean as possible.
The weight loss journey is certainly torturing everyone, physically and psychologically, including me. We need to keep one principle in mind, which is to always minimize the amount of calories we gain from foods. At the same time, however, we need to spend more calories for our body on our daily activities. These ideas seem contradictory. Any weight loss program that doesn’t follow this principle is not a legitimate weight loss plan. In order to lose one pound of body weight, we need to reduce 3500 calories by limiting total daily calories intake and increasing our daily physical activity levels. It is ideal to lose one to one and a half pounds a week. To break down the 3500 calories into 7 days, we need to keep a 500 calorie deficit compared to the total calorie needs every day.
There are many different weight loss programs or diets that claim to help us lose weight. Before deciding on which is the best weight loss plan for us to choose, we need to do our own due diligence based on our own current circumstances. One plan that fits someone else may not fit you or me. There are many different diets, such as the low carb diet, the low fat diet, and the vegan diet.
Low Carb Diet
The Atkin Diet is an example of a low carb diet. The Atkin Diet has been out in the market for multiple decades. It has been evolving since it was first developed in the 1960’s by Robert C. Atkins. This diet puts more restrictions on carb intake while focusing on protein and fat consumption. The grain food group and sugary foods are typically the cut-out foods. People with kidney disease need to consult doctors before trying out this diet. The approach is to utilize body fat for fuel, and as a result can lead to weight loss. The body adapts to the diet pattern by utilizing fat as the source for energy fuel and allows the by-product ketone to build up as a result. A very high protein, very high fat, but low carb diet may cause a health condition called ketoacidosis due to high ketone level in the blood. It is life threatening and needs immediate medical attention.
Low Fat Diet
A low fat diet usually suggests us to limit total daily fat energy to lower or equal than 15% of total daily calorie needs. The current dietary guidelines for fat energy is lower than 30%. This diet may be effective for short-term weight loss goals, but for long-term weight loss, benefits remain unknown. Young children or pregnant women are not recommended for a very low fat diet as they need fatty acids for appropriate nerve development. It is more beneficial to limit saturated fat intake rather than total fat consumption. When limiting fat energy, we also decrease the supply of essential fatty acids, vitamin A, D, E, and K for our body. Researchers have proved that the essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids provide many health benefits and are associated with lower risks of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, depression, etc. We also need Vitamin A, D, E, and K (fat-soluble vitamins) to participate in many of our vital body functions. It is very important to take the vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids supplements when choosing a very low fat diet.
The vegan diet eliminates all animal tissues or products from meal planning. What we have left for food are grains, vegetables, nuts, and fruits. When protein is missing in our diet, we are also missing good sources for B12, iron, zinc, which are usually rich in animal products. It is important to gain these nutrients from supplements to prevent deficiency. A vegan also wants to consume adequate plant protein alternatives to prevent malnutrition as a result of the lack of animal protein calories. A vegan diet can be healthy and greatly reduce risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer if it is well planned and nutritionally balanced.
Find Your Best Diet
Each diet has its benefits along with its drawbacks. You need to find one that fits best for you. Be sure that it also makes up for the resulting drawbacks. Consult your doctor or a RD for advice. I wish everyone good luck on their journey to their weight loss goals…