Great news for anyone trying to lose weight!   One-size-fits-all diet plans are finally going by the wayside.  The latest research shows the best way to succeed in losing weight is to do what is right for YOU.  According to an article in a recent issue (6/05/2017) of Time Magazine, the best kept secret about weight loss is, "no single diet from low carb and Paleo to low fat and vegan will work for everyone." In other words, meat lovers do not have to go vegan to shed pounds.  If you feel run down and fatigued on a low carbohydrate plan you can succeed another way.  If going Paleo in a non-Paleo world is too much stress it's okay to modify and you will still reach your goals.  You do not have to white-knuckle a diet that you hate because someone else succeeded or told you it was the "best."

This modern thinking on diet stems from studies showing that two people on the same exact diet often have very different results.  One person may lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off for years.  At the same time, a different person  on the same exact diet may actually gain weight. Sustained weight loss is more complicated than a prescription diet and generic exercise plan.  True success requires a more personalized approach that involves matching each individual with the right food plan based on their biology (how their body responds to food), preferences (what they like and don't like)  and motivation (high vs. low). 

But wait! If no single diet can ensure success then what is there to guide us?  According to the National Weight Control Registry there are some similarities among people who lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. The N.W.C.R. conducted a 23-year study and identified the following behavior patterns in people who succeeded in losing and keeping weight off:

  • 98% modified what they ate and used portion control

  • 94% increased their physical activity with most using walking as their preferred exercise

  • A vast majority ate breakfast every day

  • A majority weighed themselves weekly and watched less than 10 hours television per week

  • 1 hour of physical exercise per day was reported, on average

  • Most were motivated by something other than looking good such as better health and longer life

What's also very interesting about the group studied is that 55% of the people who lost weight followed a structured diet while the other 45% created their own food plans.  Also, most of them had to try more than one diet or way of eating before finding one that stuck.  

The takeaway from all this is that losing weight successfully requires some lifestyle change and persistence until the right formula is found for each individual.  A  person needs to eat differently, move more, have strong motivation, and keep track of their weight. But, beyond that, they have the freedom to do what works best for them, fits with some of their preferences, and is SUSTAINABLE in the long term.  There is no need to force a food plan that is likely to fail just because it worked for a neighbor or a television star is promoting it. 

A mindset shift away from dieting is necessary. Start where you are right now. Look at your plate. Make some positive changes.  Drop something you know is not good for you.  Add more healthy food.  Check in with yourself after a couple weeks of making changes.  How do you feel? What is your weight? And go forward from there.  With persistence and some creativity you may finally find yourself with the body and health you have always wanted. 

For more information check out the article in Time Magazine