Over the past 15 years, I’ve tried almost every diet program known to man. Some where very popular, well known diet plans, others were (at the time) lesser known diet plans, and others still were diets of my own creation (or modifications of other diet plans). I’ll list the diet programs, and give a brief overview of how they worked (or did NOT work) for me:
- Carbohydrate Addicts Diet: This was the first book-based diet I tried, way back in 1996 or 1997. Basically, you eat low-carbohydrate foods during the day, and then eat a reward meal at night. The diet worked, and I lost about 12 pounds in just a few weeks. Eventually, however, I stopped losing weight, I ate tons and tons of low-carbohydrate foods, and the weight began to come back. Three months after starting the diet, I weighed about 10 pounds more than when I started.
- Atkins Diet: You know all about the Atkins Diet (unless you’ve been living under a rock.) Basically, you eat low-carbohydrate foods. Again, I lost weight for the first month of the diet. Then, I found out that my wife was going to have a baby, I began to eat what she was eating, and the weight came back, followed by another additional 15 pounds. I’ve subsequently tried the Atkins Diet (at least a dozen times) but I’ve failed to have any real success. I wonder if my body adjusted to the initial shock of the low-carbohydrate diet, and it doesn’t react like it did the first time I tried Atkins. Either way, the thought of bacon and eggs 4 or 5 times a week makes me want to… you know… yuck.
- Weight Watchers: I’ve officially joined Weight Watchers SIX times in the past six years. I must admit, when I stuck to the program, I lost weight. But, I found that I was hungry almost all of the time, and that the points system made me OBSESSIVE about my food. All I think about when I try Weight Watchers is FOOD. All day long, even when it’s not time to eat, I think about food, food, food. And the once a week weigh in KILLED me. Why? I would starve myself the day before and the day of, and then after weighing in, I would eat like a maniac for the next day (or two, or three). WW also has a non-point-based system, which allows you to eat certain foods “until you feel full”. Needless to say, I never feel full, and would just eat and eat and eat.
- Slim Fast: I’ve bought more cans of Slim Fast than I care to admit. Every few months, I’ll decide to give Slim Fast another chance, stock up on cans and cans of the stuff, follow the plan for a week or two, lose a little weight, give up, and end up hating the unused cans in the fridge. The worst feeling in the world is the hunger that remains after I’ve already consumed my can of lunch. In fact, Slim Fast actually makes me HUNGRIER. I think it’s the chocolate flavoring. One smell and I’m ravenous.
- NutriSystem: I’m sorry, but NutriSystem was a COMPLETE failure for me. Unlike the other diets listed above (which actually produced some limited results) NutriSystem did not work at all. I was on the plan for a full month, and the scale barely moved. Plus, the system if very, very expensive. (Quite frankly, they lie in their television campaign. You do NOT get full meals! Be careful if you are considering purchasing the NutriSystem product. It costs around $300 a month, and you still have to add other items to complete each meal.) The only good thing about NutriSystem? I was able to sell the excess food on eBay and recoup some of my costs. I don’t really care what Dan Marino says!
- South Beach Diet: I read the South Beach Diet book, and like most diet books, it’s about 40 percent introduction, 50 percent recipes, and only about 10 percent real advice. I tried this low-glycemic and had some pretty decent initial results. Like most diets that focus on carbohydrate restriction, I lost some initial weight, about 8 pounds in just 2 weeks. But, after 3 months of following the diet, I was still stuck with my initial weight loss. I’ve tried the diet several times, but it never seems to “stick”.
- Low-Fat Diet: The first diet I ever tried (back when I weighed 170 pounds and thought I was HUGE!) was the low-fat diet. I bought everything labeled “low-fat” and I ate those things. Needless to say, consuming all of those extra sugars and starches caused weight gain. A year later, I weighed 180 pounds.
- Fasting: I once tried to live on bread and water for 40 days. I lasted 6 days. I lost about 10 pounds, all of which I put back on in less than 2 days. Starvation is silly. Don’t do it.
- Organic Only: In an effort to “purify” my system, I’ve tried various organic-only diet plans. Many of them come from books advocating eating “close to the earth”. Organic-only eating can be very, very expensive. I found that when I ate organic foods, I’d still eat too much food. Just because it say “organic” does not mean that it will not make you fat. I’ve never managed to lose much weight eating only organic foods. In fact, because I’ve considered these foods to be “healthy”, I’ve actually found myself eating WAY more than I should of them.
- Grits Only: This is a strange one. I live in the South, and one of the more popular foods in this area is Grits (are Grists?). When I was 16, and weighed just 148 pounds, I was convinced that I was overweight. Grits are very filling, so I created a diet where I only ate grits. That’s all. No meat, no vegetables, no fruit. Just grits. I ate this way for about 2 months and I DID lose weight. I lost about 10 pounds. Of course, no one can survive on grits alone, and eventually I went back to my old way of eating. Somehow, my weight did not go back up, but that’s probably because I started working around this time, and I was more active. My weight hovered between 135 and 150 until I was 19, and then I really began to pack on the pounds, at a rate of 10 pounds per year for the next 10 years or so.
There you go. A list of diets that I’ve tried. Almost all of them, to some degree or the other, brought about some weight loss. None of them, however, proved to be (for ME) a sustainable way of eating. My current way of eating draws from my experiences with the above (and other) diet programs. I am currently learning how to feed my body, and not my stomach. I’m also learning the values of healthy eating, exercise and calorie intake. I am not using a diet plan or program. I am eating foods that make me healthier and stronger, and not foods that make me weaker or tired.