woman holding a tan mesh potato sack filled with brightly colored veggies, to describe the most effective diet to reach your weight goals

The Most Effective Diet to Achieve a Healthy Weight

Let me first apologize for using the word “diet.”  I never use this word in my work because I don’t believe in “diets,” especially fad diets, which are the bane of my professional existence.  Every client I have worked with has tried some form of diet before we met, mostly influenced by social media, and mostly leading to negative results.

This what people will tell you about their dieting mindset.  The goal is almost always to lose weight.  Health or metabolic consequences are not a priority.  And the quicker and easier it is, the better.

The only glitch is that most diets are not sustainable and most lead to regaining weight or risk losing muscle mass and health benefits.

So how do you get to your ideal weight in a sustainable and healthy way?  The author of every diet book is going to hate me for saying this, but the surest path is two simple steps:

(1) Eat real food.

(2) Make half your meal plates vegetables, quarter protein, quarter starch.

Step 1:  Eat real food

Definition: real food, noun.  Nutrients that grow or live on the planet Earth.

This is food that has not been processed.  I used to describe processed as thing that come in boxes or bags or containers of various kinds.  That’s obviously too simple.  Forget the package, focus on the food in the package.  Beans, grains, frozen veggies, meats – all can come in “packages.”  But wrap your mind around the package and ask: is this a food that I could have picked or caught, grow or raised.

My favorite mental exercise is to go back a few hundred years and imagine, would I be able to get this food.

Let’s take one example, rolled oats.  I could have picked oat groats from the oat plant, but I wouldn’t have processed the fiber and sheath and created the powdery light flakes that are rolled oats (and that turn into glucose in your stomach in less than 10 minutes).  I would probably only be able to cook the whole oat groat, or if I had a knife, I could cut them into steel cut oats, and then cook them.  Either of these ways, I’d be eating the real food, not a processed food.

A popular second example are fruit juices.  I probably could find fruit trees and eat the fruit.  But in order to make fruit juice, I would need a whole lot of fruit and some mechanism to squeeze out all that liquid.  By the time I nap in my hut and return the next day, another group of people or animals probably found the fruits and that’s the end of that tree for the season.

Back from our time travels, my point is that if you eat all real food, your weight will balance in time.  You do need to meet some daily basics – move your body, sleep, eat in a normal daily window, eat meals, and limit snacking.  But if you did all these basics and ate mostly processed food, you will not achieve a healthy weight.

Step 2:  How to create your plate with the right proportions

Every time you make a meal, visualize your plate or bowl divided into:

  • ½ non starchy vegetables
  • ¼ protein
  • ¼ starchy carbs (grains, vegetables, roots)

That’s it.  It is that simple.

The reason this “diet” is so easy is that you don’t have to count calories and you don’t have to cut foods out (for other reasons, you may want to decrease dairy, red meat, wheat, but that’s a topic for another day).

This eating plan is so effective because you are:

(1) eliminating excess sugar, fat, chemicals, or any combination of these that directly damage your body

(2) nourishing your body with the nutrients you need – macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants)

Minor note.  If you are already eating like this and not able to be your healthy weight, then it can be helpful to meet with a functional medicine practitioner like myself because the reason could be more deeply rooted in an imbalanced metabolic, hormonal, or toxic cause.

But anyone on the spectrum between somewhat well or really unwell will notice significant health benefits in a short time when making these two simple changes.  Even with serious metabolic issues, your body will begin to clear out toxins and heal cellular damage, and the pathways that were creating a disease state will begin to slow or stop, and in time your weight will balance when your physiology is set on a better course.

I’d love it if you try this for 4 weeks and let me know how you feel.

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