Millions of Americans have asked themselves, “How do I lose weight and keep it off?” In fact, more than 50% of Americans are looking for ways to lose weight by either limiting food intake or switching to a healthy diet. But because there are so many fad diets, it’s hard to determine which is healthy and will help you lose weight safely.
In this review, we discuss the various obese diet plans available to you and give you insight into how they could be the right solution for an obese diet plan.
Table of Contents
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a chronic disease stemming from a wide range of causes, resulting in excessive body fat and even poor health. While body fat isn’t a disease, having too much fat in our bodies can change how it works. Over time, these changes can worsen and may leave a negative impact on our health.
Fortunately, we can improve and even eliminate these risk factors by losing excess body fat, where even a small change in weight may lead to positive results. However, not all weight loss methods will work for everyone since there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Moreover, most of us will need to lose weight over and over again, and taking action to keep the weight off should also be implemented.
The Causes of Obesity
The most basic cause of obesity is the consumption of calories in excess of what the body uses. There are many factors that contribute to obesity, some of which could be individual to you, while others can be found in your environment and even the structure of society. Factors that may lead to an increase in calorie intake include the following.
In families and communities where fast foods are part of their usual diet, it can be all too easy to eat a large number of calories. This type of food is usually high in fat and sugar while being low in fiber and essential nutrients, which only leaves the body hungry for more. Moreover, these kinds of foods are made readily available both in access and cost in many communities.
Sugar in Everything
The truth is that the food industry isn’t designed to look after our health and has been designed to sell products that will keep us addicted and keep us buying more unhealthy things. Some of these leading products are sugary drinks and sweets, which provide added calories and no nutritional value. Even still, many of our standard foods carry high levels of sugar that make them so addictive — it’s become so common that our taste expectations have changed in favor of them.
Our hormones are responsible for regulating our satiety and hunger. Hormones may cause you to crave more food, even when you’re already full, and can make it hard for us to tell once you’ve had enough. There are a lot of things that can disrupt these processes, such as a lack of sleep and stress, as well as variations in our genetics.
Advertising and Marketing
A lot of what we see on TV and in ads pushes for sweets, sugary drinks, and processed foods, which are products that the body doesn’t need but the industry wants to sell. Advertising will make it seem like these products are a necessary and normal part of our lives. Marketing also plays a huge role in alcohol consumption, which only add empty calories to our bodies.
Loneliness, boredom, depression, and anxiety are common these days, and may all contribute to overeating. A primal instinct in humans is to eat to feel better, so we are prone to eating certain types of food that will activate the pleasure centers of our brains. However, these will usually contain high amounts of calories, and while we evolved to find food, we aren’t well suited to process having excess food in our systems.
Some medications prescribed to us for the treatment of other conditions may lead to weight gain, These include steroids, antidepressants, diabetes medications, anti-seizure, and beta-blockers.
Treatments for Obesity
Getting a complete health profile will go a long way toward building an individualized treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will start by addressing urgent concerns first, then move on to a longer-term weight loss plan when you’re ready. Everyone is different, it may take some trial and error to find the right treatment plan for you.
A treatment plan may include a combination of the following.
Any dietary changes provided to you by your doctor will be individualized for your personal needs and preferences. For some, it may be beneficial to cut back on portion sizes or snacks, while others may need to change what they eat rather than how much they eat. In general, most people will benefit from eating more vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
These foods tend to be higher in micronutrients and fiber while being lower in fat. As such, they are more nutritious and provide a fuller feeling for longer.
Any form of regular physical activity plays an important role in long-term weight loss and maintaining body weight. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to sign up for a gym membership — taking walks at a moderate pace is one of the best ways to lose weight. According to experts, all we need is 30 minutes a day for five days a week of exercise; going for a daily walk before or after work can yield great results.
Support groups, counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy could play a role to support your weight loss journey by rewiring your brain to adapt to positive changes. They may also help to manage stress while addressing psychological and emotional factors that may affect you negatively. Weight loss can affect us in a lot of ways, so it’s helpful to get as much support as possible from people you trust.
Your doctor may provide you with medications to supplement your treatments. While medications won’t immediately lead to weight loss, they can help to work on it from a different angle. For instance, appetite suppressants may intercept pathways inside the brain that controls our hunger — for some of us, this won’t help much, but for others, this could be a game changer.
Weight Loss Surgery
For those who have class III obesity, bariatric surgery might just be the right option — while this may be a drastic solution, surgery is an effective long-term solution for weight loss. This is because it works by changing our biology rather than just our habits; all kinds of bariatric surgery will alter the digestive system in a way. As a result, they will restrict the number of calories you can eat and absorb.
They can also alter hormonal factors in the digestive system which affect your hunger and metabolic rate.
Diet Plan for Long-Term Results
Fortunately, there are plenty of obese diet plans available in the market that promotes good health. However, you need to find one that won’t leave you in agony or stressed; so ask yourself questions such as:
- What diet will make you happy?
- Which diet will leave you anxious?
- Will you be able to follow them on a long-term basis?
Be sure to factor in a diet’s flexibility and longevity, as well as the enjoyment you may get out of following it. If you find that a diet is more of a quick fix rather than something that promotes lifestyle changes, it may not be for you. There are extreme diets that provide quick results but aren’t always sustainable, so you may feel deprived and end up binge eating.
Best Diet for Overall Health
There are obese diet plans that are focused on certain areas of our health where weight loss could be a side effect, such as the DASH diet and MIND diet. However, others were created with losing weight as their main goal — it’s necessary to remember that our needs are different from other individuals. Because we all have different lifestyles and health levels, we will need to consider what will work for us, rather than what has worked for others.
For example, if you have a medical condition like Type I diabetes or Type II diabetes, it may not be wise to go on a low-carb diet. Moreover, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take up diets that are too restrictive — remember that pregnancy isn’t the time to lose weight. Talk to your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant.
Is it Safe to Go on a Diet?
Make sure that a diet is safe and has scientific evidence of its results — be sure to talk to a registered dietitian first before going on a new diet. Be sure to check up on your values and preferences to ensure that a diet will be a good fit. If you don’t like eating meat, then steer clear of the paleo diet; if you do a lot of travel and need to eat out a lot, you may get frustrated with the DASH diet.
Make sure that you choose a balanced obese diet plan that’s both safe and effective while considering your own lifestyle needs. If you’re unsure of which option will work best for you, below is a list of the most common and popular diets today.
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb obese diet plan that delivers adequate amounts of protein developed to trigger a state of ketosis throughout the body. This uses our fat stores as the main source of energy rather than carbohydrates. Previous research suggests that this obese diet plan is effective for weight loss — but to get results, you must consistently adhere to meal plans without any cheat days. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck on a high-fat diet eating unhealthy fats without yielding positive changes.
While the keto diet is a common treatment for those with Type II diabetes, this isn’t the best option for those with Type I diabetes and other metabolic disorders. However, this obese diet plan isn’t without its hurdles, and you’ll need to bid farewell to carbs such as bread, pasta, and white rice. According to experts, it may be hard to ensure that you hit the low levels of this diet’s recommended carbohydrate levels, and this will involve planning all your meals ahead of time for events and parties.
Whether you have excess weight or want to maintain your current body mass index, be sure to speak to your physician before getting started with the keto diet.
Many people will believe that the foundation of this obese diet plan is red meat, but it’s actually vegetables. The concept behind this diet is to only eat foods that were available to our ancestors during the Paleolithic period, such as:
As such, salt, grains, legumes, dairy, and added sugars aren’t on this diet — this diet also demands a lot of planning and preparation ahead of time. Reviews in the past have confirmed that this obese diet plan could lead to weight loss but will also leave the body with low amounts of carbohydrates. You also won’t get access to nutrient-dense foods such as dairy, whole grains, and legumes, which means you’ll be missing out on calcium, vitamin B, vitamin C, and more.
The Atkins diet is a high-protein, low-carb diet that has been around for a long time — some people say that keto is the new Atkins, although these popular low-carb plans have many differences. This obese diet plan works in phases, where dieters will go on an extremely low daily net carb allowance of just 20 to 100 grams during its first phase, which means you may reach ketosis. The number of net carbs you must stay under will depend on your obese diet plan.
However, unlike the keto plan, you’re not allowed to add carbs as you continue your weight loss journey. Older reviews suggest that the Atkins diet can provide moderate long-term weight loss results that are similar to eating plans from Weight Watchers. Because this diet is high in protein, it won’t be suitable for people with kidney disease, and because it’s low in carbs, it won’t be appropriate for those who have diabetes.
The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was designed to help individuals with high blood pressure; as such, it is a low-sodium diet. Because most Americans exceed the daily intake for sodium levels, many dietitians will recommend this obese diet plan to treat a wide range of conditions such as obesity and heart disease. It also has a focus on increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables.
In a past study, those who followed the DASH diet saw improvements in their blood pressure. The DASH diet is also consistently listed as a top diet in the annual rankings of U.S. News & World Report.
According to experts, the Mediterranean diet is highly sustainable to use in the improvement of our health since it’s not a short-term obese diet plan nor is it restrictive. It was developed to reflect the eating patterns of those who live around the Mediterranean Sea, which include the following:
- Olive oil
- Dairy and red wine moderately
This diet has been proven to work well for weight loss while reducing the risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s according to research.
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. It was developed to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and features foods to support this. Alzheimer’s is the leading form of dementia and is an incurable condition that over 6.5 million American suffer from every day.
There is research to back up this obese diet plan, including one study that showed a connection between a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and adherence to the MIND diet. Some of the foods encouraged in this diet include:
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
It also asks dieters to reduce their intake of saturated fats. The MIND diet also emphasizes eating fresh, whole foods while focusing on eliminating unhealthy fats. As a result, people on this obese diet plan may be able to achieve healthy weight loss.
There are many diets including the keto and Atkins diets that fit into this category, where the typical low-carb diet will limit carbs to no more than 57 g each day but can vary according to the specific obese diet plan. All low-carb diets restrict carbohydrates which are found in sugary foods, pasta, and bread, while also being high in fat, vegetables, and protein. While there are different kinds of low-carb diets, studies support that they can help to improve our health and aid in weight loss.
One review observed that those who follow a low-carb diet will see moderate weight loss, but long-term results will need more research. However, following this kind of eating plan may result in a few nutritional deficiencies, so pregnant or lactating women, along with children should avoid this option.
There are plenty of ways to achieve intermittent fasting, which could last for a few hours per day for up to a whole 24-hour period for up to two times a week. For example, if you’re looking to kick a habit of eating late at night, then it may be beneficial for you to stop eating earlier during the day. There are many kinds of intermittent fasting, so be sure to pick a schedule that will work for you and will support a healthy lifestyle.
The concept behind fasting is that it induces a bit of stress on the body’s cells, which helps them cope better with stress and may even help our body get stronger. Moreover, intermittent fasting can be a challenge for people who don’t have a steady schedule. Those who travel often will find this diet difficult to follow and will work best for people who have a more stable timetable.
Unfortunately, there has been no conclusive evidence as to this diet’s long-term effects with regard to weight loss. Even so, data does suggest that this approach may present potential problems due to its restrictive nature and could lead to overeating. Finally, intermittent fasting won’t be suitable for pregnant women, children, those with Type II diabetes, or people with a history of eating disorders.
WW (Weight Watchers)
Back in September 2018, Weight Watchers announced that their name would be changed to WW as a rebranding effort. The goal behind this diet is to make healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle approach more about wellness rather than just losing weight. According to the WW website, the organization was founded around the 1960s by Jean Nidetch.
Since then, the diet has become popular, and to this day, is supported by Oprah as one of its leading proponents. It has gone through quite a few iterations, with the most recent being WW PersonalPoints, where dieters will take a personal assessment. This will take many lifestyle factors into consideration to provide an individualized, overall approach to your weight loss.
There is evidence to suggest that WW plans can support sustainable and long-lasting results. An old study confirmed that people who followed this Weight Watchers plan were almost nine times more likely to lose 10% of their extra weight compared to people on a self-help diet. WW is also a good option if you’re looking for community support, which many successful dieters have found to be useful in their journey.
Many people think of this as a diet for people who are part-time vegetarians, where the main foods eaten include:
- Whole grains
- Plant proteins
- Meat occasionally
Because this diet isn’t as strict as the traditional vegetarian or vegan diet, this plant-based diet could be easier to stick with. This is probably why it comes in at No.2 as the easiest diet to follow according to U.S. News & World Report. Since it allows dieters to eat meat sometimes, you could be at a lower risk of getting the nutrient deficiencies that both vegans and vegetarians face.
While there isn’t a huge amount of information regarding the Flexitarian diet, those who follow it will tend to reach their ideal weight as a result of its focus on leafy greens. Dieters under this plan will also weigh less compared to those who eat meats, will have lower blood sugar levels, and develop healthy habits.
This is a popular, yet fairly restrictive diet where for the first 30 days, dieters must eliminate the following from their diet without any cheat days:
- Added sugar
- Most dairy products
The aim of this diet is to allow the body to “reset,” which will help you adopt new habits that could result in weight loss. While cutting out the alcohol and added sugars from your diet have scientific merit, the rest of the restrictions could prove to be too challenging and may lead to eating disorders and nutrient deficiencies. Because the Whole30 diet doesn’t allow any legumes or whole grains in your meals, you could miss out on extremely beneficial nutrients.
According to experts, whole grains are full of micronutrients and fiber which are known to help lower the risk of heart disease. Not having them as part of your diet should immediately raise a red flag and nutritionists warn against going on this obese diet plan.
Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
Both vegan diets and vegetarian diets provide a great way to eat nutritious foods without eating animal products. Most people will take up these diets for health reasons, animal welfare reasons, or environmental reasons. Luckily, there are various health benefits to the consumption of a lot of plant-based foods, such as better heart health.
This diet covers a wide spectrum of categories where dieters may fall into a specific type of diet. For instance, vegans don’t consume animals at all, while ovo-lacto vegetarians may eat both eggs and dairy. These diets could help with weight loss, but some vegetarians and vegans could miss out on specific nutrients found only in meats, such as iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc.
Whole Foods Diet
This low-fat diet encourages dieters to eat whole foods or food items in their least processed forms while avoiding anything that has been ultra-processed. Foods allowed in this diet include:
- Fresh fruits
- Lean proteins
However, compared to other low-fat diets, the Whole Foods diet provides more of a guideline rather than a set of rules to follow. Because there’s little data on this diet, it doesn’t have a formal definition and is open to interpretation for each individual who tries it. As such, this obese diet plan can be relatively easy to follow and may lead to a lower body mass index.
In a recent study, researchers found that participants in a plant-based diet that included the healthy foods listed above resulted in lower cholesterol levels compared to a control group. Even so, not all processed foods are bad for your health — lightly processed foods such as canned beans and frozen fruit can still have a positive contribution to your health. Just keep in mind that the Whole Foods diet will only work if you stay away from ultra-processed things like junk food, cakes, frozen dinners, cookies, potato chips, processed meats, and sugary drinks.
Developed by Pierre Dukan, MD, in France, this high-protein diet claims to help dieters lose as much as 10 pounds just in the first week of this meal plan. The Dukan diet is made up of four phases and each comes with a strict set of rules. During the first phase, known as the “Attack” phase, dieters are only allowed to eat sources of protein such as eggs, chicken, beef, and liver.
In the second phase of the diet, you will need to alternate between eating lean protein one day, and then non-starchy vegetables the next. The third phase calls for unlimited veggies and protein, along with some fats and carbs. In the final phase, known as the stabilization phase, dieters will need to follow the third phase but with more flexible rules, as long as they’re able to maintain their weight.
Throughout all phases of this diet, you’re encouraged to eat oat bran daily, which ranges from one tablespoon to three tablespoons, along with pure protein one day a week during the last phase. Unfortunately, this diet presents nutritional deficiencies and should be avoided by those with health issues such as kidney disease due to its high protein content.
Short for “one meal a day,” the OMAD diet is pretty straightforward and only asks that you consume all your calories in just one meal per day, and then fast for the rest of the day. As a result of eating one meal per day, you will naturally consume fewer calories, which can then lead to weight loss. According to research, intermittent fasting can also be a good idea for safe and healthy weight loss, even in obese adults.
That said, OMAD is a more extreme version of intermittent fasting and could lead to discomfort and overeating as a result of only having one meal a day. Furthermore, this diet is not appropriate for pregnant, overweight women or those who are nursing, as well as children. Before trying OMAD, consult your doctor if you are taking insulin for diabetes or need to take medication along with your food.
Choose the Obese Diet Plan for Your Needs
As you can see, there is a plethora of obese diet plans that you can look into — whether you’re looking to reduce your weight circumference or increase your muscle mass, there’s a plan for you. Ideally, a good fit will be a plan that supports your daily routine and will be comfortable enough for you to do with an exercise plan. However, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you not only follow the diet but that you also stick to healthy snacks or work with a personal trainer to keep you accountable during your weight loss journey.
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