When it comes to trying diets, I’m well versed. Believe me, I’ve tried nearly every diet out there, but there are a few that just make sense. Before my car accident, I was never overweight. Twelve surgeries later, and an overuse of morphine and antibiotics played havoc with my metabolism. Now, fighting obesity is a lifetime challenge.
If you are anything like me, you eat the right foods, don’t drink sodas or other sugary drinks, avoid fast food like the plague, and only enjoy organic fruits and veggies. So, why do we have a weight problem? My guess is that even the greatest efforts to avoid food additives become sabotaged during social interactions, potlucks, dining out, and shopping in average grocery stores.
Let’s face it, eating healthy is not the most affordable choice in the world, but when you compare it to health care costs, eating healthy is the only option you can and should employ.
Out of the hundreds of diets I have tried, a handful made sense for my lifestyle and food desires. My body still does not resemble my youthful figure by any measure, but my pain is gone, and I feel more energetic than I have in years, thanks to the suggestions in these diet plans.
Wesley Virgin’s Fat Diminisher System
The first diet that impressed me was one I had purchased over the internet. Unlike others I had tried, Wesley Virgin’s Fat Diminisher System was easy to incorporate into my daily life.
It did not suggest horrible food choices, or impossible exercise regimes that a 55+ woman in chronic pain would rather avoid. Instead, his suggestions fit around my life like a well-worn kid glove. Like most good diets, he promotes organic veggies, fruit, and healthy lean protein. But, his signature is seven minutes of exercise and drinking smoothies. The moral support was fabulous, and the supporting information that accompanied the system was intriguing and relevant to my personal challenges.
- Replace one to two meals with a healthy smoothie
- Exercise for seven minutes a day. Because I write all day long, sitting in a chair, I did the following:
- Work for an hour, then get up and do one minute of exercise (burpees, sun salutes, situps, etc.)
- Walk 2500 steps (approx. ½ mile)
- Work for another hour and do another minute of exercise.
- After having an early dinner, walk another 2500 steps.
- By day’s end, I completed seven minutes of exercise and 5000 steps
- Eat often, including healthy snacks
- Small meals consisting of meat and veggies
- Enjoy a nightcap smoothie
The Virgin Diet
The Virgin diet is great for those who feel like a walking toxic waste site. My husband and I went on a bender for a few weeks where we ate whatever we wanted—we will never do it again. By the end of those weeks, we both felt chronic pain, lethargy, and had no ambition to do anything. We were toxic.
The Virgin Diet has three stages. The first stage lasts three weeks, where you eliminate sugar, wheat, peanuts, corn, and all dairy. Sounds horrible, I know, but after the second week, our pain ceased, and the brain fog had lifted. By the end of week three, we had both lost twelve pounds and were feeling great. The last two stages introduce some of the foods you have lived without through a systematic approach. You quickly learn what you can and cannot eat.
The Virgin diet is our go-to remedy for detoxing and getting back on track. It’s a tough one to follow, but worth the effort.
- Eliminate sugar (even the alternatives), dairy, wheat, peanuts, and corn from your diet for three solid weeks.
- Week four, introduce wheat in two out of your three meals for four days straight. Check for any adverse reactions to determine if you are wheat intolerant.
- Introduce one of the eliminated foods to your diet as you had done the wheat. Each food item takes a full week to test.
- After you have determined what foods you can and cannot eat, you may eliminate those you react to, and incorporate those you can tolerate.
The DASH Diet
The DASH diet was voted as the best diet for the sixth year in a row. It was originally intended to reduce high blood pressure. It follows the Mediterranean diet philosophy and contains a balanced meal plan that is easy to follow. If you have high blood pressure and need to lose weight, this is a good one to follow.
- Customized to fit your individual needs
- Caters to vegetarians
- Diet consists of mainly fruits and veggies with some dairy and meat for those who can tolerate it.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fruits, nuts, veggies, some pasta, and select cheeses. If you like fish and a large variety of flavors, this may be the diet for you. It is easy to follow, but food prep time can be consuming.
- Offers a comforting balance between veggies and carbs.
- Flavorful meals with lots of colors.
- Eat light meals often throughout the day.
- Meals can be prepared ahead of time for busy schedules.
- Meals are portable and do not require heating.
Importance of Water
Water is the key to good health and proper weight. As a guideline, implement these rules:
- Drink two 8oz glasses of water when you first wake up. Water helps to jumpstart your organs and prepares your body for food.
- Drink 8oz of water 30 minutes before each meal. Prepare your body for food and satiates your appetite.
- For every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume, drink two 8oz glasses of water.
- Drink at least one gallon of water throughout the day (16 8oz glasses of water)
- Drink 8oz of water before you go to bed.
If you feel as if your body is not absorbing the water and you visit the bathroom more often than normal, make sure you are consuming enough electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and magnesium). If your body is deficient in electrolytes, your cells cannot absorb the water efficiently.
If you drink too much water or exercise with vigor, you can deplete your body of electrolytes. Make sure you eat enough foods that supply essential minerals:
Sodium — Mineral salt (sea, Himalayan, volcanic, etc.) Do Not eat table salt.
Chloride — olives, seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery.
Potassium — baked and sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, peas, beans, and avocado.
Calcium — milk, active-culture yogurt, hard cheeses, broccoli. Collard greens, kale, and sardines.
Magnesium — Avocados, dark chocolate, almonds, spinach, kale, chard, black beans, banana, and figs
A Note About Healthy Oils
Healthy oils are a vital part of any diet. Please do not eliminate them from your life for the sake of saving a few calories. Organs such as your brain rely on healthy fats to thrive and function.
Coconut oil remains my favorite choice. If you are not a fan of the coconut taste or do not care for the saturated texture, try MCT oil, instead. It is a medium chain triglyceride made from coconut oil. It contains a fraction of the calories and 100% of the benefits of its saturated sibling.
Avocados are another great addition to your daily diet. Strive for eating one of these healthy fruits a day along with raw organic veggies. Your body will thank you.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is another one of my favorite treats. I especially love to season it with herbs and fresh garlic. Try dipping a piece of multi-grain bread in Balsamic vinegar and then in seasoned olive oil for a rare treat.
A diet is only helpful if you can make it your lifestyle. The things I love to incorporate include:
- Eating small meals often (include raw organic veggies, fruits, and healthy proteins)
- Eat nothing after 6 pm
- Exercise every day (using variety)
- Break up long days of sitting with one minute of exercise
- Do not deprive yourself of anything. Everything in moderation.
- Never give yourself a reason to binge. See the comment above.
- Love yourself for who you are and not what you think yourself to be.
- Life is short. Enjoy every moment as if it were your last.