To all the diets I've loved before
*** My attitude to food and diets has changed yet again, so I’m updating this page of diets with the one that trumps them all, that I’m doing right now and will continue to do so. If my thoughts on a particular diet have changed, I’ll make it known in the heading without changing the actual copy, if that makes sense. ***
I used to be a serial dieter. I pored over NW purely to see what new diet fad was out, try it for a week and then get bored of it and move on to the next one. Most new years resolutions are to eat better or lose 5kgs or whatever, so if that is you, here are all the diets I've done and what was good or ghastly about them. This is lived experience or that of friends' lived experience. My goal for this blog post is that you see what kind of diet BS is out there and avoid it like the plague.
I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST OR DIETICIAN. PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE TRYING ANY OF THESE RANDOM DIETS.
In the 1980's Harry Secombe authored a book on how to get from morbidly obese to clinically overweight. He lost 25kgs in 6 months and my Mum did this diet when I was about ten years old. I wanted to do what Mum was doing and so she let me eat what she was eating. All I remember from this diet was the unholy amount of dry shredded chicken on my plate. And so the aim was to fill up on this bland and dry chicken to the point that you were so full there is no way you'd want to eat anything else. Ever. Mum lost heaps of weight. I don't remember what effect it had on me except knowing that diets were gross and terrible and to probably not do them again.
I started weight watchers when I was 76kgs and freaking out. I went with my friend and essentially all the food had a points value against it. Based on your age and height, weight watchers had decided on a weight that was healthy for people and that had a certain number of points. If you measured your food out, and stuck to your points, you lost weight. There was also weight watchers brand food that had fewer points than regular food and I expect they wanted people to buy it but it tasted ghastly. You could go to meetings or use their app which I did in round three of trying their diet. I lost 8kgs the first time and maybe 4 or 5kgs the second and third times. But put all of that weight back on the second I stopped eating their gross food and measuring everything out by the gram, which lead me to the next diet.
Kiwi Kiss diet
This was actually very cool. We were given a grid with tick boxes next to different types of foods. A bit like bingo, you scrubbed out a box when you ate that particular food. At the meetings, we weighed in and then the founder (Carolyn) would hold a cooking class so we could learn how to cook healthy meals. I learned all about Quinoa and lost about 4 or 5 kgs. Put it back on when I stopped going to the meetings.
This diet was all about removing everything processed out of what I put in my mouth. Single source carbs were ok. Sugar, wine, dairy were not. I survived about 2 weeks of no cheese and wine, and so quit this one with a withdrawal headache rather than any weight actually lost.
Plant based *Edited to add that I now eat animals. Can’t look a cow in the face yet, but the cow is delicious.*
Probably one of the times I've felt the most healthy was when I was on this diet. Like clean eating, except only 80% of the time. So a moderate amount of cheese, wine, and sugar were ok. No meat though which I was cool with as I don't particularly like eating animals anyway. Massive detox with this one though, I was sick for 9 weeks. Like a flu that wouldn't quit. Lost ten kilos until I got pregnant and turned into a vampire with the worst craving of bloody steaks. Resisted for about 8 weeks of my pregnancy simply by sniffing burger wrappers and hanging out in butcher shops with the blood smell (told you. vampire) till I gave in.
I watched an old boss at the council suffer with this diet. She was as thin as a rake but felt she needed to lose weight to be happy. Basically, she ate bacon and eggs and sausages everyday. No veggies or other nutrition. She lost her hair, she was tearful a lot. I don't know if she perhaps wasn't doing it right, but I gave this diet a wide berth. It seemed to be the most unhappy of all of them. Even the shredded chicken diet.
I did this in my late teens. Eat only from one letter a day. So the letter A was apples, avocado, austrian sausage, etc. B was biscuit, beans. I did this for about three days. Enough said.
Blood type diet
Apparently people with A+ blood types should only eat a plant based diet. I'm A+ and so it totally made sense to me why I felt so healthy on plant based. However, when I tried this not so long ago, I felt so sick and tired and lethargic. Far out, it did not work for me after having children. Not sure if my kids permanently exhaust me, or some other physiological reason, but I cannot be plant based any longer.
A long time ago, one of my jobs as a junior PR consultant was to order my boss's Jenny Craig meals. Internships! They rule! Anyway, they would arrive and I would stock up the kitchen at work with them. My boss who was such an awesome woman lost a tonne of weight on Jenny Craig and to this day she has kept it off - so 20 years or something like that. At the time, to my uneducated eye it didn't look like nearly enough food to keep a busy woman energised, but she did it really well. It used to be really expensive to do, and I'm not sure if it's still expensive, but according to my former boss and several other people I know, it works well.
Everyone I know who has done this diet has lost their gallbladder. If you are fond of your gallbladder, really consider not doing this diet. It's expensive, it's incredibly hard work, but you do lose a lot of weight quickly. So quickly, your gallbladder can't slow down its bile production, giving you horrid stones and it's very unpleasant. My friend who did this recently, said her gallbladder was only about 400g in weight which was disappointing given the pain she was in while waiting for it to come out.
Arbonne 30 days diet *Edited to add that because food is delicious, I will not replace it with a gluggy shake of any kind*
This is a great diet if you are ok with drinking meal replacement shakes. I'm not great with shakes, but they do taste ok and I lost a couple of kilos over two weeks of trying to tolerate shakes.
I have a friend who only put on 6kgs through her pregnancy while supported by Arbonne supplements. She is healthy, her baby is healthy, it's a good happy ending for her. She did have her obstetrician's support to drink Arbonne through her pregnancy and if you want to do it too, you need to run it past your specialist or midwife.
Keto *Edited to add that I will never do this diet again, especially not at New Years, I do not need to kickstart my body for anything
This is the results diet. It essentially retrains your body to take energy source from your fat rather than carbohydrates you just had for lunch. So if you want to lose weight quickly, and you want to have a tonne of energy while you're doing that - this diet is for you. If you love meat, eggs, frying things in butter and generally not eating much else, you'll do very well on this. I lost 2kgs in just over a week. But then I got what's called Keto Flu where you just wish you could hibernate and not be a part of society until it's over. The keto flu part lasts about two weeks for some people (a week for me) and if you can get through that without caving for processed carbs, you'll be ok. I did not survive my keto flu and had a massive pile of potatoes to feel better again.
Other downsides of this diet can be hair loss, or thinning. But that only happens if you don't have any veggies at all. I'll probably do this diet again after New Year to kickstart my body and this time I'll do it properly so I can avoid keto flu.
Low Carb High Fat *Edited to add that this is not my diet anymore, and compared to what I eat now, it’s not that super*
This is my diet now and it's super. It's the graduation from a strict keto diet when you want to slow your weight loss down or not be so obsessed with what you shove in your mouth. I think this diet is far healthier than keto, it's far more balanced and "normal". No bread, pasta, rice, potatoes. Obviously no cake or biscuits or anything carby. High fat - so eggs, avocado, cheese, butter, coconut oil. Moderate protein, so don't go nuts like on the Atkins diet. But fry any meat in butter and you're doing good. A good amount of veggies. Actually go hard on the veggies, because they keep all sorts of things in your body in a good state. Keto diet restricts veggies down to practically nothing and so if I'm doing keto, I'll only do it for a couple of weeks. I fried broccoli in butter the other night and it was the best thing ever. When I stick to this diet I lose about 500g to 1kg a week, but because it's Christmas and I've been eating and drinking a lot of shite, my loss has slowed to about 300g a week. I feel really good when I do this diet properly. Lots of energy, no carb coma, etc. I highly recommend you consider this one.
Carb Cycling *Edited to add that I didn’t give this one a go after last Christmas. I will say that it’s quite good for level 2 and 3 nutrition if you’re an athlete training for a thing, or a body builder etc, but 90% of all of us are not level 2 and 3*
I'm trying this one after Christmas. It's basically like Low Carb High Fat, except you get to have single source carbs - potatoes, rice, etc - every third day. So it's much easier than LCHF, especially if you're a spud addict like I am. The point is to re-feed your body with carbs so in theory it kicks your metabolism up a notch - reminding your body of the good times you have with carb in your diet. Then you go back to very few carbs, and your body is still processing energy at the same rate as it would trying to bust down carbs. Or something like that. As I said, I'll give it a go after Christmas and update this page on how I'm going.
My diet right now *Added on 18 December 2018*
Since my study with Precision Nutrition, my approach to food is vastly different to any of these diets. You can read more about it here - https://www.fitbyforty.nz/my-diary/2018/11/6/how-i-lost-weight but in short, most of the food I eat has not been messed with. Lots of vege, meat, fat, carbs, along with water, and exercise is pretty much how I do life now and it' works well for me. Taking out the obsession and stress suits my very busy life better than anything else I’ve discovered so far.
And that's it. All the diets I've tried before. There are others but those really are quite ridiculous so I've left them out for now. *Edited to add that some of the diets I’ve done that didn’t make this list were not all ridiculous, but actually I had forgotten about them, which probably indicates they did not go well, so you’re not missing out on much. Feel free to message me about a particular diet if you want to give it a crack though, as I’ve said, I’ve done pretty much all of them.*
Happy Christmas! Eat all the things, worry about it later. That's my intention anyway. *Edited to add that this statement is pretty accurate and I’m going to have a good Christmas eating lots of whole foods, but also quite a bit of trifle and pav, too.*
Remember to check with an actual health professional who knows what they are talking about before you start any diet or exercise. I am not a trained professional, this is purely lived experience. *Edited to add that I am now a certified Nutrition and Fitness coach, but definitely not a dietician or registered nutritionist.*