Published January 8, 2013

Do you need a diet plan for weight loss?

by Helen M. Ryan
Helen Ryan eating ice cream

What is a good diet to lose weight?

That depends on you. For me, I pondered:

  • How many times in the past had I bought the latest diet book? (Many.)
  • How many diets did I try while attempting to lose weight? (A bunch.)
  • How many shopping trips did I make to the store on January 1 or a Monday, loading up on all the required foods from these books? (Plenty.)
  • How many times did I succeed with weight loss? (Zero while on a "diet.")

This doesn't mean that diets don't work. A majority of them do. The hard thing is figuring out what works for you personally. (By the way, as of this writing there are over 60,000 weight loss books on Amazon. Holy cow.)

Everybody is different and everyone's needs are different. Some people want structured menus and diet plans because it helps give them solid guidelines to follow. Other people need flexibility and the ability to "change on a dime."

Some of us like bland foods that take the desire to overeat away, while others need variety and spice

  • Find out what type of "eater" you are and think about how well you respond to structure.
  • Find a "diet" type that works for you (not a specific diet, but a "eating type.")
  • Fill in the blanks from there.

Healthy weight loss lifestyle changes

Personally, I like to live while losing weight, so I focus on an overall healthy lifestyle with only a loose structure. I don't like journaling or logging what I eat. I need a certain amount of carbs to keep my energy up and to not act all cranky.

However, when I start to slip up or I am feeling out of sorts physically, I sometimes use a free online food tracker for a week or two to see where I am at nutrition- and calorie-wise. I often discover that I am not eating enough protein, not enough "real meals," or that my snacking is adding up.

The best way to lose weight is to combine different programs and approaches to find what makes you feel the best. Perhaps you change your eating a bit every week or so to shake things up . There are so many options out there and things to try. You can't find the best eating plan unless you try.

Your own weight loss challenge

Treat weight loss and healthy living like a game. Create your own "challenge" to find what works for you. Or get your friends and family to join and make it fun.