Diets That Work


These pages about diets and weight loss are written by one of my closest friends:

Whether it is for weight loss or health reasons, we are all searching for diets that work.

When you invest so much time and effort into changing your diet and lifestyle, you want to be certain that at the end of the day you have made the right choice.
No one wants to endure months of misery to lose just a few pounds – and the good news is that you don’t have to!
There are hundreds of diets that work, so finding the right one to favor you is going to be child’s play.

Firstly you need to establish what it is you want from your diet.
Is it to lose enough weight to get back into your jeans?
Is it to lose enough weight to look and feel better about yourself?
It is because you have been advised to lose weight for your health?

Let’s just establish some facts – if your body mass index (BMI) is above the healthy range for your age and height, then you can benefit from losing weight. From the moment you start to lose weight you will be improving your health.

Obesity is fast becoming a world wide epidemic.
No longer just being restricted to the more developed western countries, now doctors and health officials are beginning to see the signs of obesity in places like India and China.


And let’s not be coy about it, obesity is a killer. Being overweight makes you more susceptible to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers, as well as the strain it puts on your body causing joint and back pain.

This is why taking a look at this list of diets that work will be some of the best few minutes you have spent today.

Choose a diet which favors you

At the heart of every diet that works is a nutritionally balanced and varied menu plan.

Cutting back doesn’t mean you have to miss out, some of the more successful diet plans allow you to have a little of what you fancy every now and then.

I know that my social life seems to revolve more and more around food and drink – even my book club meets in a different bar each month!
So I follow a diet that lets me have the occasional glass of wine and bowl of fries.

Choosing a diets that work will be different for everyone, I know that my husband would go crazy on a no carb diet, but I can feed him a heart healthy diet without him even realizing!

Don’t delay!

You might be searching for diet to make you feel more healthy, give you more energy or perhaps to try and control a medical condition. Or maybe you want to detox!

Whatever the reason, don’t put it off. There are diets that work out there. It is too easy to say, I’ll start Monday, I’ll start after New Year, I’ll start when the kids are back at school.

This procrastination has to stop – now!

So, which diet to choose from all of the diets that work?
There are the tried and tested weight loss diets that work which have been around forever, such as Weight Watchers and the Atkins Diet, and there are the more recent celebrity endorsed diets that work such as the Suzanne Somers Diet and the South Beach Diet.
And there are more health specific diets that work such as the gluten free diet, the anti candida diet or the lactose free diet.
And then there are diets that work for quick weight loss, such as the cabbage soup diet.

Here, I have collated a list of some of the best diets that work all in one place. Spend a few minutes to read through to see which diet suits you the best.

Remember that if you choose a plan and find it isn’t working for you, then try a different diet that works. I must have tried five or six before I found the right one for me – and I’ve never looked back. Being able to play ball with my son in the park, and still have enough energy to go to a spin class in the evening is the best feeling in the world!


Weight Watchers

Probably the best known of the weight loss diets that work.
This diet has undergone many a metamorphosis over the years, but it is still essentially a healthy eating plan that restricts your intake of saturated fats and high calorie processed foods.

It encourages sensible portion control and focuses on fresh vegetables (full of fiber) to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.
Regular classes keep you motivated and after you have reached your goal weight there is plenty of support to help you to maintain it, and manage your weight for life.

What can I eat?

Anything – within reason! This diet prides itself on the fact that no food is off limits, but there are caveats.
You could have fresh cream donut for breakfast, but that would probably be it for the rest of the day, so you are better off making sensible and informed food choices.
Fruit and vegetables can be eaten freely.

Who does it favor?

Weight Watchers suits just about anyone.
Families, singletons, young or old, it really is one of the best weight loss diets you could follow. And, there are lots of ready meals and other basic cooking ingredients in the Wight Watchers range available to buy if you are short of time.


The Atkins Diet

Another famously well known of the diets that work, but as I always say, the Atkins Diet is not without its controversy.
These are on the whole unfounded concerns, made by people who are not familiar with the program.

Yet it remains one of the best diets that work and is great for a fast weight loss boost. This four phase diet plan can be restrictive initially, but as you progress the Atkins diet food list becomes ever more expansive.

What can I eat?

Meat, fats and eggs in unlimited quantities. The Atkins Diet is a high protein low carb diet, so pulses and sugars are off the menu, or at least restricted to a daily allowance.


Who does it favor?

I wouldn’t put young children on this diet as I think the limited fruit and vegetables do not provide a balanced enough diet for a growing child.
Adults, the severely overweight and those that love their meat would all find the Atkins Diet a really easy program to follow.
There is some great online support from the Atkins community on the website forums, and there are plenty of books available to guide you.

Read more about the Atkins Diet here.


Slimming World

This is a personal favorite of mine, and one of the best diets that works but I don’t think the recent changes have necessarily made it a better diet.
How does the old adage go? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
It was already one of those diets that worked, and worked well. There has been a bit too much fiddling and tinkering to this plan and I don’t believe that in its new format it as easy to follow as it once was.

Having said that, it is still a healthy diet plan and produces some great results, so I would still recommend you give it a try. This is the plan I follow, and I’ve been able to stay at my target weight and maintain it for over six years!

What can I eat?

This is about food combining. You can choose each day which plan you want to follow – an original (red) day, a green day, or a combination.
On all plans the bulk of your meals are made up from vegetables, which along with fruit can be eaten freely.
On an original day you eat fewer carbs, and on a green day you eat less protein.

Imagine you have divided your dinner plate into thirds, two-thirds will be full of vegetables and the final third will either be protein or carbohydrate depending on which plan you are following.
Fat free yogurts, very low fat cheese, Quorn and tofu are among some of the foods you can also eat freely.

Who does it favor?

Great for vegetarians, family friendly and with easy to prepare recipes, this is a great all rounder.
The quantities of fruit and veg you end up eating are quite phenomenal!
There are weekly classes or you can go it alone and follow the plan online. If you ever feel hungry, then you are doing it wrong!



The American Heart Association Diet

This is not necessarily a diet for weight loss, although if you are overweight you will see the pounds drop off.

As a lifestyle choice, this is one of the most healthy diets that works.

This diet was devised by doctors who specialize in heart health. It is high in wholegrains, and low in saturated fats.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and lean meats form the basis of many menus, helping to make it a low cholesterol diet.


This diet is more about lifestyle change – its about eating healthily for the rest of your life to help prevent heart disease.
Exercise is also a big part of this program.

This diet is all about lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

What can I eat?

Foods high in fiber, plenty of wholegrains and lots of fruit and vegetables. Salt is restricted, as is alcohol. Saturated fats should be avoided where possible, and oily fish which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, should be eaten at least twice a week.
So no burgers and fries washed down with a thick shake!

Who does it favor?

This is an easy diet to follow and really should be the sort of eating plan that everyone should strive to follow. There is no one that this diet would not benefit.



The South Beach Diet

This is a diet that is very popular with celebrities.
There was once a time when a celebrity couldn’t appear on a talk show without mentioning the South Beach Diet at least twice!
And not without reason, it is one of the many diets that work. A celebrity as well known as Eva Mendes wouldn’t endorse a diet that didn’t work.

It is a low glycemic diet and uses food charts to detail where certain foods fall within the glycemic index so you can plan your meals.

What can I eat?

This is a three phase diet that initially cuts out nearly all carbs. After following this for 15 days they are gradually reintroduced.

Who does it favor?

Definitely a diet for those with some self discipline, especially for the first 15 days.
It is quite restrictive initially and might put some people off – but the results are amazing.
If you think you can stick to it then I would highly recommend the South Beach Diet as one of the better celebrity diets that work.



Low Cholesterol Diet

This is a broad category.
The American Heart Association Diet could also fall under this heading, but basically, a low cholesterol diet is one that is low in saturated fats and high in wholegrains, fruit and vegetables is one of the best health diets that works.

What can I eat?

Plenty of wholegrains – so unrefined flour, brown rice and wholewheat pasta. Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans. Lots of vegetables including plenty of leafy greens. Fruits high in antioxidants, such as berries.

Who does it favor?

This is another diet that would benefit anyone who tried it. Those with high cholesterol will see their levels decrease, and those with high blood pressure will also see positive results by following a lower cholesterol diet plan. It has been scientifically proven to be one of many diets that work.



The Liver Cleansing Diet

This isn’t a diet you often hear much about, but it is one that targets many western health conditions, such as obesity, high cholesterol, allergies, hypoglycemia, indigestion and gall bladder disease.

It is an eight week plan that aids weight loss and helps to eliminate some of the more unpleasant side effects of obesity – bad breath, lethargy, headaches and mood swings – the things that are not often mentioned.

What can I eat?

Plenty of fruit and vegetables, the intake of raw vegetables is encouraged.
Pulses and legumes rather than animal proteins.
You should drink at least 8-12 glasses of water per day and avoid alcohol and sugars – which the liver converts to fat.

Who does it favor?

Most people would be able to follow this diet easily, especially vegetarians. There are plenty of websites and books which can help you to devise liver cleansing diets that work for you.

Want to read more about liver cleansing? Try this website.



The GERD Diet

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a digestive disorder that occurs when acid from the stomach refluxes back into the esophagus.
It causes severe discomfort and a burning sensation, and obesity is a risk factor.
If left untreated continuous reflux episodes in the esophagus can lead to cancer.

What can I eat?

This is not such an easy question to answer. Unfortunately with GERD, what triggers the symptoms in one person may have no affects in another.

The first step in creating your own personal GERD diet is to make a list of all foods that cause reflux to occur, and try to avoid them – it is a process of elimination.
By trial and error you should build up a picture of which foods you can eat safely to help reduce your acid intake.

However, it is recommended that you do include the following foods: pineapple and papaya, to help with the digestion of protein, and if you can handle it, then you should eat oily fish, although for many GERD sufferers this is almost impossible, in which case try an omega-3 supplement.
And, against most medical advice, you should also increase your intake of iodized salt, this is because low iodine levels can contribute to hypothyroidism which is a condition often associated with acid reflux.

If you want to read more about a GERD diet I can recommend this website.

Who does it favor?

Really, the GERD diet is a tailor-made plan and favors only the individual that it has been designed for.
If you suffer from GERD then you should try, by process of elimination, to create a healthy diet plan to suit your own requirements.



The Hay diet

This is a diet that was formulated back in the 1920’s so it is almost a century old and is still being followed today – which just goes to prove that it is one of the oldest diets that works.

Foods are categorized into three groups – protein, carbohydrate and neutral.
By combining these groups you can lose weight and feel healthy.
No foods are banned, but the way you combine them is changed.

What can I eat?

Depending on which group the food falls into you can combine either proteins and neutrals or carbohydrates and neutrals, you should never combine protein and carbohydrate.
Fruit and vegetables make up the bulk of each meal.
The diet does go into much more detail than this, categorizing foods further as acid, alkaline and neutral depending on how they are digested.

Who does it favor?

This is an easy diet to follow once you get your head around the food groups. If you find it too difficult then try Slimming World instead which follows the Hay principles quite closely.



The Dukan Diet

This is still proving to be popular, essentially because it is one of the diets that works. It is a high protein diet that results in an initial fast weight loss, so it can be encouraging for those that like to see quick results.

What can I eat?

During the attack phase you can eat from a list of 72 low fat, high protein foods – but you can eat as much as you like from this list. Later, you can start to add back some carbs into your menu plans.

Who does it favor?

This favors those with a busy lifestyle. There are no classes to attend, you follow the program by yourself. Some people find it to be a restrictive diet, so if you like variety then maybe this is not one for you.

Because you can eat as much as you like, if you tend to struggle with hunger pangs then this is one of those diets that works to relieve those symptoms.



Other Diets That Work

The list of other diets that work could be endless, there are a lot of good diets that work to choose from.

However, among the diets that work which are worth mentioning is the fast acting cabbage soup diet.
Now, I have followed this diet just the once, and that was to lose a few pounds to get into a dress for my friends wedding. It is not a long term diet! For those of you that want to know (and I’m always amazed how many of you there are), and who are brave enough to try it, here are the details.


The Cabbage Soup Diet

This a 7-day diet for quick weight loss.

Day 1: cabbage soup and fruit
Day 2: cabbage soup and vegetables
Day 3: cabbage soup, fruit and vegetables
Day 4: cabbage soup, x8 bananas and skimmed milk
Day 5: cabbage soup, up to 20oz beef, and up to 6 tomatoes
Day 6: cabbage soup, beef and vegetables
Day 7: cabbage soup, brown rice, vegetables and unsweetened fruit juice.

The cabbage soup diet recipe

Chop, boil and blend 6 green onions (also known as salad or spring onions), 2 green peppers, 1-2 cans of tomatoes, 3 carrots, 10oz mushrooms, 1 bunch of celery, half a cabbage. Season to taste.
Tastes about as delicious as it sounds! But it is only for 7 days, and you could lose up to 10 pounds. Just remember to open the windows and get in enough supplies of toilet paper!



Detox diets

There are plenty of detoxification diets, these are diets that work through cleansing the body of toxins, to leave you with glowing skin, healthy looking hair, bright eyes, and lots and lots of energy.

They are tough to complete, but for some the results are more than worthwhile.
If you are feeling sluggish – perhaps after Thanksgiving – and you feel you could do with a quick acting diet to pep you up, then try a quick detox.



Lemon detox diet

This is one of those diets that works by cleansing you from the inside!

You can even do it alongside your regular diet if the ingredients permit, although ideally it should be used as a fasting diet.

You can buy the lemon detox diet from most good health food shops. It is made from a mixture of maple tree syrup, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper.
At the end of the detox period you will feel invigorated, rejuvenated and cleansed of bodily toxins.




Recently, ADHD and diet has been in the news, but is it really one of the diets that works?

Whether there is a link to highly processed and refined, so called junk foods and behavior is still being debated, but many parents have noticed some remarkable changes in their child’s behavior once they have been put onto an ADHD diet.
Their levels of concentration increase, they sleep better and more deeply, and mood swings are less pronounced.

Having a diet rich in proteins (beans, cheese, meat, eggs, nuts), omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, walnuts, olive oil), complex carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables) and low in simple carbohydrates (honey, sugar, corn syrup, white flour, potatoes) can benefit some ADHD sufferers.
But, in reality it is the type of varied diet a growing child should be eating anyway.



Diets that work – what’s the next big thing?

It is difficult to predict the next big diet craze. But word on the street is there are two to watch out for.



The O2 Diet

The O2 diet, which lists Mariah Carey and Kim Kardashian as early followers, is a two phase plan that is high in antioxidants, and purports to protect your body against heart disease, the effects of aging and certain cancers.

It includes lots of “super foods” such as beet, papaya, pomegranate and wholegrains.



The Rosedale Diet

The other new diet is the Rosedale Diet, whose proponents include Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson.

This is a diet that targets the hormone leptin, which controls your hunger levels. Starch and wholegrains are completely cut out for 21 days.
This is a low carb, low protein program.

Whether these are just celebrity fad diets or whether they will catch on, only time will tell. So watch this space!


Just try it

As we spoke about earlier, diets that work for some might not work for others, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Pick a healthy weight loss diet and stick to it for at least a month. If it doesn’t work out, then try something else, there are plenty to choose from.

The most important thing about a diet that works, is that it works for YOU.

If you are dieting for weight loss then select a diet that you can work around your family, or work life.
Make sure it is a diet that you can afford – high protein diets can be expensive, so picking a diet that doesn’t rely so heavily on meat as its main ingredient can save you money.

Make sure your diet is going to keep you interested – you are starting a healthy eating program for life, so it has got to keep you satisfied with a variety of recipes and new ingredients.

Just try it – you have nothing to lose but those ugly pounds!

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