Tag Archives: healthy diet

effective diets for weight loss

5 Effective Diets for Weight Loss

Learn 5 effective diets for weight loss so you can better understand which diet might be better for your weight loss goals.

With so many diets out there, you may wonder: Which diets truly work? 

It seems like every week there is a new fad diet and a lot of hype around a “secret” solution for weight loss. 

The truth is that what it takes to lose weight isn’t much of a secret. There are a couple of features your diet should have if you want to lose weight–and the most effective diets for weight loss all have these things in common.

What is necessary for weight loss?

There are certain similarities between most diets, especially if you’re following that diet to lose weight. When you start a diet to lose weight, you’ll want to ensure your diet helps you do these two things: achieve energy balance and cut out processed foods.

  1. Achieve a calorie deficit

To lose weight, it’s important to achieve the right energy balance. 

Energy balance is when the number of calories you eat is equal to the number of calories you burn. There are a lot of factors that influence your energy balance, like exercise, genetics and body composition. But one of the most important factors is diet because that is how you consume calries that get used by your body.

When you want to lose weight, you want to change the balance of energy in your body. Instead of taking in too many calories to burn, or instead of taking in just enough to remain at the same weight, you want to achieve what’s called a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body burns overall.

Achieving a calorie deficit is important for any of the effient diets for weight loss. But it’s also true that your weight is related to many factors of your body and health working together. That is why it’s important to not just focus on calories alone but to also look at other health factors and activity level when you start a diet to lose weight.

2. Cut out processed foods

Even diets as polar opposite as the carnivore diet and the vegan diet have one thing in common: they cut out the vast majority of highly processed foods found in the American diet. You’ll find that this is true of almost every diet out there.

Food is considered processed if it’s been altered in any way during the preparation or packaging process. Some processed foods make only slight modifications–like baby carrots or canned vegetables. But other processed foods change so much that they lose their original nutritional value and have so many additives that they’re in many ways unrecognizable compared with the original food it was derived from.

Processed foods are particularly unhealthy because of the high levels of sodium, fat, or sugar they contain. Diets high in all of these are correlated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other conditions and diseases.

As far as weight loss, these foods are particularly damaging to weight goals because they are not filling but have more calories than whole, natural foods. It’s easier to eat more calories than you should when you eat heavily processed foods. And it’s made especially easy to overeat when you consider how addicting these foods are as well.

5 effective diets for weight loss

Although it’s important to achieve energy balance and reduce your processed food intake, there are multiple effective diets for weight loss. There is not a single, one size fits all solution that everyone who wants to lose weight must follow.

Instead, with the right knowledge and support, you can achieve your weight loss goals with a diet that suits you. There are diets that emphasize carbs, and other diets that cut carbs out. There are diets that manage the timing of meals while other diets are more flexible.

You can choose to eat food that suits your taste and lifestyle while still losing weight.

  1. Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the best diets–if not the best–for overall health. It is one of the most helpful diets to get diabetes and heart disease under control.

The diet can be helpful specifically for weight loss goals as well, but it does require being proactive about calorie counting. There is a bigger variety in what you can eat on the Mediterranean diet versus other diets. It’s a diet if you want more flexibility and don’t need as much structure.

The Mediterranean diet is also a primarily plant-based diet, but you can eat meat in moderation. Another bonus of this diet is that some who want to be able to continue drinking wine in moderation are able to on this diet. While limiting alcohol to rare instances is best for overall health, you can drink a glass of wine a few nights in a week on this diet.

Check out our Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet article to see the whole picture on why this diet is ranked by doctors as being the best.

2. DASH Diet

The DASH diet is right up there with the Mediterraean diet as one of the best and healthiest options. It’s especially helpful for those who want to improve their heart health.

DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet emphasizes choosing foods with lower sodium content and eating predominantly fresh, whole foods as much as possible. It’s a flexible diet compared to many others, and is one of the most sustainable diets for that reason. Plus, when combined with a calorie deficit, it’s a healthful option to lose weight.

Look at our Why the DASH Diet Is One of the Best Diets article to get a better idea if this is a diet that can help you achieve your health and weight goals.

3. Keto Diet

The Keto diet is an increasingly popular diet. It cuts out carbs and emphasizes eating proteins and fats. The diet is high in meat, healthy fats, while low in carbs.

Many have cited successful weight loss results from the Keto diet. But it is one of the more extreme diets because it restricts a lot of the foods you can eat. Some find it difficult to sustain for the long run.

Read our Keto Diet article to get a better idea if it’s right for you and how to follow the diet.

4. Intermittent Fasting Diets

Intermittent fasting is when you use timing of meals versus strict elimination of foods to manage your diet. When you do intermittent fasting, you don’t eat meals at traditional times on a consistent basis. Instead you go for extended periods of time without eating, and then eat what you normally would for the rest of the day.

Learn more about intermittent fasting in our Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work for Weight Loss? article.

5. Paleo Diet

The goal of the Paleo diet is to eat as close as possible to what our ancestors ate. It’s one of the best diets for cutting out processed foods and emphasizing fresh, whole foods. It has been connected with weight loss and improved health outcomes like lower cholesterol.

Check out our Benefits of the Paleo Diet article to learn more about following the Paleo diet.

Get a diet tailored to your goals and the best weight loss support in the Valley

At Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you achieve your weight loss goals with personalized support from our doctors.

You are more likely to lose weight when you have the support of a professional. We offer a number of weight loss programs and diet plans. When you follow any of them, our doctors learn your health history and track your progress to make sure you lose weight safely and efficiently.

To get your first appointment with us and finally achieve your weight loss goals, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.

intuitive eating

What Is Intuitive Eating and Can It Help You Lose Weight?

What to try when all of the diets have failed. Maybe for your goals, a diet isn’t the answer and intuitive eating can help.

One of the hardest parts of adopting a healthy lifestyle is finding a diet that works.

There are so many diets out there, with new fad diets popping up all the time. For each one, you’ll hear stories of success and many more of failure. What ultimately works for one individual might not work for someone else. And the reasons for that are varied—because of genetics, psychology, or lifestyle. 

What can become a barrier to sticking to a healthy diet though is the feeling that none of them work. When it feels like you’ve tried everything, it can feel like a healthier lifestyle is forever out of rhea. Like it just isn’t possible at all for you.

But, for many people who feel like they yo-yo between diets, there is an alternative that can help improve your relationship with food and overall health.

It’s called intuitive eating.

What is intuitive eating?

Unlike traditional diets, intuitive eating does not have restrictions. Intuitive eating is all about learning how to listen to your body and hunger cues.

Although knowing to eat when you’re hungry and to stop when you’re full is an idea that sounds obvious, in reality, it’s harder to make that happen.

The truth is that we often don’t just eat because we are physically hungry. This is when your body is telling you to replenish your energy stores and nutrients. When you feel properly hungry, you might experience irritability or something often called being “hangry”—feeling angry because you’re hungry.

But there’s also emotional hunger. Many people eat in emotional circumstances, whether it’s sadness, stress, or loneliness. And others eat when they’re bored. This habit of eating in times even when your body isn’t actually hungry can lead to weight gain and detrimental health effects.

The goal of intuitive eating is to learn how to listen to when your body is truly hungry and develop the lifestyle habits of listening to your body.

Listening to your hunger cues means eating when you’re hungry without guilt, but also stopping when you’re full. For many, this is the hardest part. Many have ingrained that it’s wrong to not finish a full meal when it’s put in front of you. So we learn to ignore our body’s cues that we’re full and ultimately overeat more often than we want. Intuitive eating means being okay with saving the rest of your food for later, or even the next day, when you recognize that you feel full.

Many doctors and dieticians who teach patients to eat intuitively will often enourage them to reflect on a few important ideas around food:

  • Think about your cravings—is there a pattern between what you crave and when you crave it? 
  • What is going on internally or externally for you when you have certain cravings?
  • What does it feel like when you reach a state of being full?
  • Reflect on how you feel after each meal. Do certain foods make you feel tired, give you a headache, or make you feel unwell?

The point of these reflections is to start to recognize when you have a genuine craving for a particular food versus using it on an emotional level.

Is it effective for weight loss?

Intuitive eating is associated with lower BMI and healthy weight maintenance.

But it’s not usually the option for those who want to lose weight on a set timeline or who have ambitious weight loss goals.

Part of the reason for that is that when starting on a weight loss journey, it is difficult to regain control over your relationship with food. It’s a challenge to listen to your hunger cues after years of ignoring them. As a result, the lack of structure and ability to keep any food in your diet can make intuitive eating harder for those who are already struggling with food and their weight.

The association with lower BMI and healthy weight maintenance is in part because those who listen to hunger cues are less likely to consistently eat beyond what their body needs to replenish their energy and 

In time, learning a healthy relationship with food is the goal of any diet and weight loss program. The goal isn’t to have to stick to a rigid diet plan for the rest of your life. But for some, at the start, a stricter diet can be helpful for weight loss progress while still learning the principles of intuitive eating.

Are there other benefits?

One of the major benefits of intuitive eating is how it improves your relationship with food.

Many people, whether they are overweight or even at an ideal weight, have an unhealthy relationship with food. 

What does an unhealthy relationship with food look like? There are a few indicators actually, including:

  • Binge eating
  • Feeling guilt or shame for eating certain foods, or for simply wanting to eat certain foods
  • Having a rigid of “good” food vs “bad” food and practice extreme restrictions with food
  • Food is rarely enjoyable and you worry about the scale every time you eat

Anyone can have an unhealthy relationship with food, and oftentimes diet culture promotes and prolongs an unhelpful outlook towards food and lead to increased psychological stress.

It can create a vicious cycle of feeling guilty for eating “bad” foods or looking at dieting through an all-or-nothing lens (that feeling of being a failure or like the day is ruined if you break your diet for one snack).

It turns out there is a connection between intuitive eating and improved psychological health. This is because there is more flexibility in a diet with intuitive eating. You also learn how to understand your real hunger cues, improving your perceived body image and self-worth.

Find a weight loss program that works for you

When you come to Valley Medical Weight Loss with your weight loss goals, we help you get a personalized approach to diet, exercise, and supplements so you can achieve your goals. We’ve seen our patients reach and exceed their goals with the dedicated support of our doctors and staff. 

If you’re ready to reclaim your health and find a weight loss plan that works for you, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss today for your first consult.

DASH diet

Why the DASH Diet Is One of the Best Diets

The DASH diet is considered one of the healthiest and most sustainable diet options out there. While it was designed for individuals dealing with hypertension, it can help anyone improve their health and lose weight.

The DASH diet has once again been ranked, along with the Mediterranean diet, as one of the best diets for overall health. And it’s consistently ranked #1 for heart-healthy diets.

DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Around 108 million Americans live with hypertension, with only 24% of them having their condition under control. Many Americans have hypertension without knowing it, or they know it but find it too challenging to manage. 

While a common way of treating hypertension is through medication, many people are wary of using medication that can lead to unwanted side effects. The DASH diet came about as doctors and nutritionists looked for a way to treat or prevent hypertension through diet instead of medication. 

The DASH diet is all about eating the heart-healthy foods you’ll find in many other diets

Real-life benefits of the DASH diet

The diet is known for reducing the risk of developing hypertension, also called high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is how much force your circulating blood exerts on your arteries. 

It’s broken up into two measurements–systolic and diastolic. The systolic measurement is how much pressure is behind your blood when your heart contracts. The diastolic measurement is how much pressure exists when your heart relaxes (or in between heartbeats).  

A healthy range is considered at or below 120/80 mm Hg. The top number is the systolic pressure and the bottom number is diastolic.

When blood pressure gets too high, it can cause heart attacks, stroke, and kidney disease.

The causes of high blood pressure are varied. For some, the causes are largely due to lifestyle factors like lack of exercise, high-sodium diet, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, stress, or being overweight.

And for others, the causes can be due to conditions like adrenal or thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, and other genetic factors. 

In a series of studies, the DASH diet proved to be one of the best solutions for overcoming high blood pressure without using medication, even for those who already have high blood pressure.

Researchers have also discovered benefits that go beyond lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet also:

So the DASH diet isn’t only for those at risk of developing high blood pressure or trying to lower it. 

This is a diet that anyone who wants to maintain a sustainable healthful diet can benefit from. And even anyone who wants to lose weight can benefit from this diet.

What to eat on the DASH diet

One of the benefits of the DASH diet is that it’s not an extremely restrictive diet. As far as diets go, it’s flexible and considered sustainable for the long term. 

The overall goal of the DASH diet is to focus on eating whole and natural foods. Like most diets, the DASH diet requires avoiding most highly-processed foods, especially those that are high in extra salt. High sodium diets contribute to high blood pressure and by avoiding extra salt, those with hypertension can make measurable improvements in short periods of time.

Foods to Eat:

  • 6-8 Servings of Whole Grains
  • 4-5 Servings of Fruits
  • 4-5 Servings of Vegetables
  • 2-3 Servings of Dairy
  • Fewer than 6 servings of eggs, fish, or lean chicken per day

Foods to Avoid:

  • Red meat—it’s not something you can never eat on the diet. But once or twice a week maximum
  • Processed meats like pepperoni or salami
  • High-fat meats
  • Chips, cookies, ice cream, and other snacks that have a lot of added sugar or salt. Just like with red meat, you can have these in moderation–meaning 3-5 servings of a sugary or savory snack per week.

What about alcohol?

As for alcohol consumption, it’s not recommended on the diet. While the Mediterranean diet works some red wine in moderation into the week, the DASH diet does not.

And it comes down to the fact that for many people, the health costs outweigh the small potential gains.

Consuming too much alcohol is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. So when patients start the DASH diet with their doctor, they’re generally advised not to continue drinking.

Wondering if the DASH diet is right for you?

Whether or not you’d benefit from the DASH diet depends on a few factors.

Limiting salt to such a degree isn’t necessary for everyone. Some studies found that limiting salt intake for those with normal blood pressure and salt levels doesn’t have much of an impact. And there seem to be some people who are more sensitive to salt. So even slight increases can lead to increased blood pressure.

These are all reasons it’s beneficial to talk to a doctor before choosing to start a new diet for your health or weight loss goals. They can look at your health history and current health indicators to determine if cutting out certain types of foods

While cutting out saturated fats and processed sugars is considered healthful for everyone, how much you should cut out and stay healthy will depend on your particular situation and needs.

That’s why all of our doctors at Valley Medical Weight Loss go over your health history and your goals to decide on the right path forward for you. When you want to lose weight, there isn’t just a cookie-cutter method. And you deserve the option that will be right for you.

Visit us at one of our locations to start your personalized weight loss journey.