Some say that eating healthy should be simple. And I guess if I wasn't focused on losing weight it could be but I find that figuring out the right combos for optimal weight loss can be tricky. You cut calories but you don't pay attention to carbs, you cut carbs but then your fat %'s are too high, and then what about fiber - am I getting enough fiber?!?
Here are a few nutrition camps of thought that I've either done or have at least considered (of course there are a million variations but I've found most diets follow the main concepts of one of these):
- The WW type plan - basically reducing calories and fat. And loves fiber! Doesn't really look at carbs (from what I know - I've only done WW briefly). This plan works over the long term but weight loss can be slower and is decried by many who claim carb reduction is a must and fat reduction isn't as important as people claim it to be.
- The NutriSystem type plan - everything is pre-made and packaged for you. As long as you buy their stuff you'll be ok (makes meal planning simpler). However, the downside is you never learn how to eat correctly on your own and I, personally, get caught up in thinking about all the preserving chemicals and sodium content.
- The Atkins type plan (including its many variations) - not focusing on calories or fat but on reducing carbs and increasing protein. Upside, weight comes off quickly - downside, it comes back just as quickly when you stop the plan. Further downside - I love carbs and the fat percentages scare me.
- Paleo type plan - like Atkins but far more restrictive. So in addition to the other downsides it basically cuts out any food I like and forces me to eat more of the crap I don't like.
- Juicing/Fasting type plans - uh no. I like food and it might jump start your weight loss but it all comes back too.
- Clean Food type plan - not focusing on any numbers but just eating healthy portions of organic/non-processed foods.
- The Biggest Loser/Zone type plan - mixes some of WW and Atkins together but allows far more carbs than Atkins. Calories are restricted and the % of calories (for BL) are 25% fat, 50% carbs, and 30% protein.
If I ever get to the point of maintaining or just being ok with whatever weight I'm at, I'm philosophically more inclined towards #6 - the Clean Food plan.
For now though, my plan with MyFoodDiary is most like #7 above but the percentage ranges are a bit different. It allows more carbs and reduces protein. However, if you've ever bothered to read my previous entries you know I don't stick with those % numbers exactly.
I've had great longer term success with this type of plan but the loss per week is usually 1-2 pounds. And eventually I get tired of counting everything so I've never lasted more than a few months. But since I know it works I come back to it.
Currently, my focus is still following the basics of my % plan but cutting carbs (though not to Atkins/Paleo levels). I'm experimenting this week of having an average of 110-115g of carbs each day. This means my fat and protein levels will be higher than previous weeks. I'm curious to see two basic things: 1) what it does for weight loss (i.e. do I lose more this week?) and 2) how does it make me feel?
I have Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism and there are quite a few "experts" that say to cut out all gluten or watch carbs (though one article said not to cut carbs - so confusing). I'm skeptical of the gluten thing - not against it, I'm sure it helps many people but for myself I'm skeptical. So when I say I want to see how reducing carbs makes me feel it's more than how much energy do I have for exercising - it's how do I feel throughout the day.
Cutting sugar and crap out of my diet has already made me feel a lot better so I'm sure this will help too. But as mentioned previously, I'm not for long term carb cutting. Though I'm getting more on board to try and keep the 150g or less as long term.