Are you struggling with weight loss? Here are some free resources to determine whether the keto, paleo or Whole30 diets are best for you to try first!
There are so many different diets out there these days, and it seems like everyone suggests something different.
The following three diets are ones I have personally had success with, and have seen so many others have success with as well. In fact, for the most part, I still follow a combination of keto and paleo most of the time myself, with a yearly Whole30 reset.
I definitely practice what I preach, because I wholeheartedly believe that a good diet is the basis for a happy, healthy life.
Intro to the different diets that aid in weight loss
A low-carb, ketogenic diet is all the rage these days, and it’s no wonder why! SO many people have had huge success losing weight, increasing their energy and improving their cognitive performance through following a diet where all sugar and higher-carb foods are eliminated from the diet.
This diet focuses on eating tons of healthy fats, plentiful low-carb vegetables, healthy higher-fat animal products and the occasional sugar-free sweet. There are tons of ways to follow a keto diet, from “if it fits your macros” to “clean keto”.
You can even do a paleo version of keto, for those with dairy intolerances. I stick to a lower dairy way of eating, and it’s not hard to make keto work with low or even no dairy involved.
The typical premise of keto is to stick to a net carb count per day of around 20 g of carbs, or if you don’t want to do the math on carb counts, approximately 50 total carbs. Some people track their carbs (it’s recommended at first), but others don’t, especially if they have a history of eating disorders.
One thing to note is that for those who are transitioning from a higher-carb diet, that there is something called the “keto flu” which hits some people, and can essentially make you feel like you are getting sick.
Very abruptly eliminating sugar, carbs and other foods from your body can be stressful on it as it adapts. This can be helped at least in part by either easing into the transition, or by increasing your daily sodium and potassium intakes.
Most people usually get over the keto flu rather quickly, and suddenly feel so much better than they have in the past, or potential ever have remembered feeling. It’s definitely at the top of my list if you are up for the challenge!
See below for a starter 5 day meal plan if you know that keto is the right diet for you, or would like to give it a try to find out!
I love the paleo diet for it’s anti-inflammatory benefits. This is because it eliminates many of the pro-inflammatory foods in the Standard American Diet, such as gluten, grains, processed sugar, dairy, rancid oils, and other processed foods.
Paleo is an incredible place to start for someone interested in improving their health, but wants to take a more moderate approach to health.
While someone looking at the list above is probably like “um, that’s not moderate in any way”, let me assure you that the switch to Paleo can be done very gradually, for the person who may not be ready to give up their donuts and ice cream right away.
There are also a significant number of paleo-approved foods coming out these days (both in the stores and that can be made at home), for anyone who may want to indulge in those sweets and breads that they don’t want to completely give up on.
Like with keto, there are many ways to do paleo as well. Some people don’t do a lot of desserts and baked goods, stating that our ancestors did not have access to lots of sugar year-round.
Others take a more modern approach, and say that as long as the ingredients are considered paleo, some sugar in the form of coconut sugar is acceptable.
It’s ultimately up to the individual to decide how they want to approach this divide, but know that if you replace your cupcakes, pancakes and other baked goods with paleo-approved versions, you may not get the weight loss that you desire.
However you decide to approach paleo, know that I am fully in support of the decision you make. Removing the most inflammatory foods from your diet is a significant portion of the battle to regaining your health.
See below for a starter 5 day meal plan if you want to give the paleo diet a try!
Whole30 is one of the best things I can say I’ve done for my health, overall. It got me started on a path to wellness after years of struggling with really bad headaches. It was what helped me to diagnose my food-related mold allergy, which you can read about by clicking here.
What is so nice about Whole30 is that the timeline is 30 days, so there is an end date in sight. For those who are perhaps rather overwhelmed by their change in diet being “forever”, or they risk sliding back into oblivion, know that Whole30 is an elimination diet.
An elimination diet is not meant to last forever, it simply is a tool to help you determine which foods are best for you and your body. For 30 days, you eliminate gluten, all grains, soy, dairy, legumes, processed sugar, preservatives and alcohol.
After the 30 days is up, you slowly reintroduce each food one-by-one and see what kind of effect it has on your body. It usually has a revolutionary impact on the way people eat forever, because they you know exactly what effect each food has on your body.
Does gluten give you a headache? Well then going forward, you get to decide whether than piece of French bread is worth the negative result.
See below for a starter 5 day meal plan if you are ready to try a month of Whole30 (it goes quickly, I promise).
General dieting advice
The one thing I don’t advocate is a calorie-restrictive diet. I don’t think it’s sustainable, and if your body is craving food, it means it is devoid of nutrients, and depriving it of nutrients will lead further down the road to dysfunction.
As mentioned above in each of the intro sections, below are some starter meal plans for keto, paleo and Whole30. Give them a shot if you’re not sure where to begin with meal ideas.
5 Day Easy Keto Meal Plan
5 Day Paleo Meal Plan
5 Day Whole30 Meal Plan
No diet working for you? Too restrictive? Try out intuitive eating
If no matter which diet you try, you always fail, then maybe it’s worth giving intuitive eating a try. Normally, I only recommend intuitive eating for someone who has at least already done a successful round of Whole30, and understands their food intolerances, but if you are really struggling, then it could be worth a shot.
You could also have other underlying issues, but those are best discussed with a medical professional, as everyone’s health is very individual.
The importance of mindset and stress reduction in weight loss
Diet is of course the most important piece to developing a sustainable weight loss plan, but you can have the most picture-perfect diet and still not lose weight. There are several other factors at play, for why that could be the case.
The most common is that you are too stressed out, or you don’t believe you are capable of losing weight. You know the old saying “energy goes where attention flows?” Well, it’s totally true!
If you don’t believe you are capable of losing weight, and you spend all of your time thinking about how you can’t and won’t, then your body is in a perpetual cycle of stress and worry.
If you guys want me to go into more depth about this in the future, I can totally do so. Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll get on that right away, if you are interested!
I wrote an article on why mindset and stress reduction are important in general, as well as some techniques to help reduce your stress load. Click here to read that article.
Don’t forget about exercise!
Another important part of weight loss is movement of some sort. This does not need to be your traditional “go to the gym and run on a treadmill for 45 minutes” exercise, especially if you are achey or unwell. Gentle exercise is my favorite, as I outline in this article on the importance of exercise.
As you begin to feel better, maybe you will incorporate cardio into your routine, or maybe not. It’s up to you, but daily movement of some kind is crucial!