The beginning of the year offers so much opportunity and getting healthy and losing weight is a top priority for lots of people (myself included). I usually fall of the wagon a bit during the holidays and I am usually pretty eager to get back on track with healthy eating and moving more. If you are looking for a diet and exercise plan you can stick with long term, this post will have the ones I recommend.
I have to give you a disclaimer- if you are thinking about starting a diet and exercise plan, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor first especially if you have medical conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure. The recommendations below are my personal opinion and the programs I have recommended to others, but just make sure your doctor is ok with you exercising.
Ok, now that is out of the way!
There are so many diet and exercise plans out there so which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t?
I certainly favor some diet plans over others as I would frequently get asked by patients which ones were worth trying and which ones were a waste of time. My opinion may differ from yours, but nonetheless, I am going to give you a list of the ones I like that are well balanced and that work the best (in my opinion).
First, if you are in a position to make better choices with healthy living and you struggle with emotional eating, take my free course. It is geared toward helping you avoid emotional eating. It is something I have struggled with for years, but I feel like I have learned a few things and wanted to share those with others. You can sign up for that here.
When you are investigating a diet and exercise plan, I suggest that you find something that you think can work for you long term. It will only be disheartening to you if you lose 20 pounds in a few months only to gain it back 6 months later. Healthy living is a long term strategy instead of short term weight loss. Aim for healthy living instead of just losing the weight.
How to Choose a Healthy Diet and Exercise Plan You Can Stick With:
Here are a few things to consider when you are thinking about the right diet and exercise plan for you:
- Is it something you can live with long term?
- Do you have to give up food groups you love?
- Is it well balanced?
- Do you believe in the core values of the diet/health plan?
- Is it something that will make you happy?
- Do you look forward to eating the food each day?
- Is exercise part of the plan? Is it reasonable?
These are just a few considerations to make when you are deciding which diet and exercise plan fits into your life the best. My biggest tip would be to make sure it is something you are excited about. Eating well doesn’t have to be boring and when your mind is in the right place, it helps significantly!
The diet and exercise plans I would recommend are:
I have personally used Weight Watchers and I love them. I loved the meetings, the speakers, how easy it is to track points and the plan makes sense. You eat all the time which is a big bonus for me. I love to eat. If you like to eat several meals per day, Weight Watchers is great. You have the option to do the online version of Weight Watchers or you can attend meetings. I do recommend that you attend a meeting or 2 because the accountability is key. If you can’t attend meetings, find another way to stay accountable to someone. You can also check out one of my favorite Weight Watchers cookbooks by clicking here.
You can learn more about Weight Watchers here.
Cooking Light Diet
I have to admit, I didn’t really know this existed until I started doing some research on the other plans I love. I have subscribed to Cooking Light magazine for years because I love the lighter version of recipes they have in the magazine. The Cooking Light Diet Plan is great if you need help meal planning. They plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for you. You can also get customized shopping lists to make shopping easier. Basically, the recipes are from Cooking Light magazine. They are a lighter version of comfort food which I personally think is great. If you don’t want to make drastic changes or just want a lighter version of the foods you love, this is perfect. I love the Cooking Light magazine so this is a very reasonable, healthy diet to lose weight. You will just need to come up with exercise that you love to do. Cooking light has the annual cookbook edition with all the recipes from 2016. You can check that out here.
You can learn more about the Cooking Light Diet here..
Fast Metabolism Diet
I read this book several years ago and it was so easy to read because the author Hayley Pomroy is hilarious! I have recommended this book to everyone who will listen. It works. I have personally used it also and I was able to push through a plateau and lose some extra weight. If you love dairy, this may be hard because she doesn’t recommend that you eat much dairy as it slows down the metabolism. The first 30 days can be tough (I am just being honest) but it is worth it if you put in the time. But, remember the steps I mentioned above? If you can’t do it long term, it may not be the healthy diet for you? This may fall in that category if you love dairy. (Although, Hayley says that you are allowed to have some dairy in the maintenance phase.) I would suggest this book if you have hit a weight loss plateau and if you feel that your metabolism is slow, but keep in mind that you have to incorporate foods you love in order to maintain healthy living long term.
Jenny Craig is another program we would often tell patients about. It is a little different from the others in that you buy their food. Basically, they create a plan tailored toward what you are looking for and they meet with you to go over your goals and how you are doing. If you have struggled with accountability, this may be what you need. The people are there to help you achieve your goals and you will be more successful if you have to stay accountable in some way. I do think this is a great program especially if meal planning is tough for you and you need some extra accountability and motivation.
You can learn more about Jenny Craig here.
21 Day Fix
This is a great healthy diet and exercise plan to lose weight also. I love this plan and the approach. My sister has tried it and is actually starting the New Year with this plan. The 21 Day Fix has more to do with portion control and really focusing on eating a well balanced diet which is perfect for long term healthy living. The program includes exercise videos which I have done and I really enjoyed. The best part was they weren’t hard at and they only lasted 30 minutes. The videos each have a modifier to make them a little easier if you are new to exercise. Most of us can fit in 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 days per week. I definitely think this program is a very good option.
You can check out the 21 Day Fix by clicking here.
Eat to Live Diet by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Dr. Fuhrman is a family doctor who has also studied nutrition as a source of healing the body. If you are looking for more of a naturopath way to heal the body of illness, this would be the plan for you as his diet plans follow ways to heal the body from the inside out. I have one of his books and I think it is great. The book I have is called Disease Proof Your Child and it talks all about how the American diet for kids seems to be more focused towards processed foods instead of whole foods. I loved the book and I would recommend it if you have children. Eat to Live is a popular book that I first discovered while working in Cardiology. We would recommend it to our patients with heart disease.
You can check out the Eat to Live Book here.
Well, there ya have it. If you are trying to find a diet and exercise plan that will fit your needs and you can do long term, these are the ones I recommend to the people I know.
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