Updated: 10.05.2016 (We've added infographic you can save on Pinterest)
The Holidays are over, and it is time to start your New Year’s Eve resolution.
I know from my experience, that almost half the people make a resolution to lose weight in the New Year.
And it is not as easy as it sounds. For starters, there are tons of different diets.
How do you know which one to choose?
Which one is the best for you?
Well, fear no more, as I have broken down some of the most popular diets to the simplest rules, all so you can choose the one that is most suitable for you.
I’ve previously written in-depth about the alkaline diet.
In a nutshell, alkaline diet supporters believe that regulating your pH value and finding a balance between alkaline and acidic foods is the way to lose weight.
You need to avoid acidic foods such as sugar, fish, dairy, grains, meat, and processed food.
In the same time, you want to increase the intake of alkaline foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, and legumes.
The pros of alkaline diet are that consciously or unconsciously you are increasing your fruit and veggies intake, and that can only be a good thing.
In the same time, you are consuming whole food products and reducing processed foods and sugar.
The problem is that the diet is very, very restrictive, and it doesn’t combine well with an exercise plan.
And if you want to lose weight, simply sticking to a diet plan is not a good solution unless you build some muscles in the process as well.
Without meat and fish, you are hardly getting any protein (you rely on beans and tofu). But for those who like to maintain a vegetarian diet, the alkaline diet is a good choice.
Often called the raw food, the paleo diet is very similar to the way our ancestors consumed food thousands of years ago.
The main idea is that our bodies cannot absorb processed food as good as raw food, and, therefore, we should focus on raw and unprocessed foods.
When you opt for the paleo diet, your menu consists of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.
What you must avoid is dairy, legumes, sugar, grains and processed food.
The benefits of the paleo diet are that you are mainly consuming natural whole foods, and you are adding tons of veggies to your diet.
You can eat almost as much as you like, you do not have to count calories, and you will not feel hungry, which is not something you can say for many diet plans.
The problem is that organic products are much more expensive, and paleo diet requires a lot of cooking.
Steaming and other healthy ways of cooking are something you will have to embrace if you want to fully experience the paleo lifestyle, and the diet can be restrictive in terms of what you can and cannot eat.
However, if you love natural foods, paleo diet might be the best option for you if you want to lose weight.
Unlike many diets on this list for weight loss, the Dukan diet has four phases.
The first phase is the attack phase, where you eat as much protein as you can.
Then, the cruise phase comes to play where you alternate between protein days and vegetable days.
The first phase lasts for as many as 7 days while the second phase lasts until you reach your true weight.
After you’ve reached your true weight, the consolidation phase comes to play, where besides protein and vegetables, you can slowly start adding fruits, cheese, bread and “cheat meals” to your diet.
During the whole diet plan, you are taking one or two tablespoons oat bran per day.
The last phase is the stabilization phase, where you have one pure protein day per week, and eat whatever you like during the other days.
However, you increase the intake of oat bran to three tablespoons per day.
One of the things I like the most about the Dukan diet is that it has great structure and it is very well planned.
Additionally, it is a long-term plan that you can sustain for a longer period.
And in the same time, you will get quick results due to the first seven days when you eat mainly protein.
Now, the downside is that the plan is quite complicated to follow.
There are way too many rules to follow, and some people like to keep things simple.
However, if you want to lose weight and you can survive without carbs, the Dukan diet is the best choice.
The 5:2 Diet
People often call the 5:2 diet a “fast diet”, since you are mostly fasting.
The trick here is to eat as much as you like for five days of the week, but in those 2 days you are fasting, you are restricting yourself to just 500 calories per day.
If you are a man, you can get to 600 calories.
There is no strict rule which days to fast and which days to eat as much as you like, so it is up to you to come up with the plan that works best for you.
That flexibility and versatility are the biggest selling point of the 5:2 diet, since you can still eat your favorite foods on a daily basis, and the truth is told, almost everyone can restrict himself to 500 calories per day.
You have no restrictions for your social life, for example, if you need to go out on a dinner, you won’t be the odd man out drinking just water the whole night.
The problem is the 5:2 diet doesn’t focus on healthy eating.
Instead, it gives you freedom and relies on your conscience to make the healthy choice.
Another problem is that you might feel the lack of energy and fatigue at the beginning, especially when those fasting days come to play.
However, if you are a type of person who doesn’t want to give up his favorite food, but still wants to lose some weight, the 5:2 diet is the ideal choice for you.
A diet created by a team of fitness professionals, the weight watchers diet forces you to track points.
The idea behind the diet is not to focus on the number you see on the scale, but on your overall health instead.
You can eat whatever you like, as long you stay within the allowed points.
It is a little complicated to understand, but you get points for what you eat and what you do during the day.
You can eat your favorite unhealthy food, but you have to do it in smaller portions and not as frequently as you are accustomed to doing.
There are some strict guidelines and structure, but in the same time, you have the freedom to choose the food you want to eat.
And the best part is you are not focusing only on losing weight, but keeping overall good health as well.
The problem with the diet is that it is heavy on carbs, which is not good for your insulin level.
The diet also sanctions fat way too heavily, and the result is you are cutting fatter than you would prefer.
Additionally, the weight watchers diet sanctions protein, which tends to lead to losing weight from muscles, not from fat deposits.
But if you do not want to give up on chocolate, potatoes, bread and similar treats, the weight watchers diet might be the best weight loss program for you.
Jenny Craig Diet
The trick here is to eat controlled meals until you reach your desired weight.
Unlike other diets, you can allow yourself six meals per day, but they are way smaller than what you usually consume.
You add some fruits and veggies to the diet and focus on whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
The diet provides you with ready to eat meals, and once you reach the desired weight, you can start to cook your own food.
The biggest advantage of the Jenny Craig diet is that you do not have to think about anything, you get everything ready and served for you.
Prepackaged food, online tools, workout plan, everything is in place for you.
Since you do not have to make many choices, they are all made for you, the diet is extremely easy to follow.
The problem, as with many similar diets is that it is expensive.
One day costs around $20 for the packaged food, which could equal up to $600 per month.
However, if you can afford it, and you prefer someone else to make the choices for you, Jenny Craig’s diet is a great no-hassle diet for losing weight.
The Dash diet started as a way to stop hypertension, as the name itself stands for “Dietary approaches to stop hypertension”.
Created mainly for health purposes, the Dash diet became a popular weight loss diet as well.
For five years now, the diet has been nominated as one of the best overall diets.
When you practice Dash diet, you are focusing mainly on veggies, fruits, low-fat or dairy without fat, fish, whole grains, lean meat, beans, and nuts.
The only thing you will have to cut down is sugar, red meat, and fat.
The positive side is that you are not cutting any major food group, meaning it is less restrictive than other diets out there.
All you have to do is implement small changes, and you will actually lower your blood pressure while losing weight.
The problem is that the diet is boring and it doesn’t have a clear structure that you can follow.
It is carb heavy, and it takes away almost all sodium from your diet.
But, if you are someone who wants to eat normal cooked food, but in a healthier way, the Dash diet is the way to go.
The Slim fast diet is a variation of standard diets and diets where you buy prepackaged food.
You only cook your dinner, and you replace your breakfast, lunch and everything in between with shakes and bars.
Your dinner should contain as many as 600 calories for women and 800 calories for men while the idea is that your snacks contain only 100 calories, and your slim fast lunch and breakfast contain 200 calories.
The advantage of the slim fast diet is that it is easy and simple to follow since you have to make a choice only for your dinner.
The meal replacements are good, but you still eat some home cooked food for dinner.
The problem with the slim fast diet, as well as other diets where you rely on shakes and bars, is that it doesn’t promote healthy lifestyle and cooking.
From my experience, calorie counting might be the most complicated diet on this list after the Dukan diet.
It can be very irritating as you must count every meal in your day.
The trick here is to consume fewer calories per day, which equals losing a pound or two per week.
One pound equals 3,500 calories, so you actually have to reduce your calorie intake for 3,500 calories per week or 7,000 if you want to lose two pounds.
On first glance, it sounds simple to cut 500 calories per day and you are good to go.
The good thing is that you can combine with working out, so if you are burning more calories by working out more, you do not need to cut as many calories.
The biggest advantage of calorie counting diet is that it promotes a healthy lifestyle, and soon after you start it, you will start making better food choices.
The diet is not restrictive, at least not as some other diet. And it even doesn’t exclude other diets.
You can combine calorie counting with an alkaline diet, with paleo diet or any other diet you like.
The only downside is that it is too complicated to follow, and it penalizes healthy fats as they contain a high amount of calories.
This diet was created specifically for people with irritable bowel syndrome, but it has turned out to be good for weight loss as well.
When you follow the Low FODMAP diet, you avoid foods such as legumes, onions, fruits like mango, honey, lactose, polyols.
The trick here is to avoid foods that cause symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Once you eliminate all of the products that might be creating discomfort (and you need between 2 and 8 weeks to do so), you start bringing them back one by one.
This allows you to find out which foods you are intolerant.
The single biggest advantage of the diet is that people suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) will reduce their symptoms.
The downside is that you will have to seriously restrict your diet for a while, which might be hard for some people to process.
Next step: Save this infographic on Pinterest