Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:

Which diets actually work?

Posted by Fran P.

I keep reading such mixed reviews of Atkins and South Beach, anyone have good experience with diets that worked for them?
Answers (57)
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first
All and none.. I have had some luck with low-carb, hi-protein diets (Atkins) in the past, but they leave you feeling altered and you just know it's wrong. South Beach is much more moderate, but still restrictive. My favorite so far is Weight Watchers. You learn portion control, budget your points for the day, and really have what you want - within reason. It works the best for me because you can lose weight, but also continue long term. It's just so realistic.
It Depends. On Atkins you can't have bread, carrots, popcorn, potatoes, you know the drill. I tried it and didn't care for it at all. A friend of mine did South Beach and liked it, but she's gained the weight back. As boring as it sounds, sensible portions with plenty of fruits and veggies plus increased exercise is the best way to go. I'm with Lela D. on Weight Watchers. I've had the most long term success with it.
Remove diet from vocabulary!. And replace with "healthy lifestyle." Some equate "diet" with deprivation - not true! The idea is to incorporate long-term healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Sounds so simple and yet so hard to implement. As a Southerner raised on Soul Food and TV turned Vegetarian Yoga-esque Kinda Gal, I know it just takes time and incremental steps to achieve health. Always striving for a certain weight or size will turn what is intended to give us fuel and sustenance into dread and obsession! Work on self-love at any size and then begin treating your body like the Divine Goddess it is and you'll feel more inclined to treat her right. That being said, some simple guidelines to follow are ensuring your dinner plate consists of a 1/4 protein, 1/4 carb, and 1/2 veggies. Eat by color! For example, yellow and orange veggies are usually higher in sugar (think sweet potato and carrots) and need to be balanced with some green veggies. * Eating three meals a day at minimum - with two snacks - never letting the body go longer than 2-4 hrs without food to keep your blood sugar stabilized. * For simple guidelines - google Mediterranean diet - which consists of mostly fish, nuts, whole grains, veggies, and fruits - not the highly processed frozen boxed and canned American diet. * 3 - 6 cups green tea/day helps increase metabolism * Stop eating by 8 pm at night to aid your body in digestion through the night There are myriad tips but you have to find what works best for you without depriving yourself, ensuring adequate nutrition and lovingly nurturing your body!
All in moderation.... I know many who have benefited - long-term - from the Weight Watchers regiment. I agree, Lela D.: you learn portion control, diet balancing and maintenance of healthy patterns (ideally). Atkins and South Beach get it wrong in one place: a lack of moderation! When the body feels deprived of certain nutrients or even 'wants' for carbs, sweets, etc., it nags at you...ah, cravings. Further ignoring these cravings, in my experience, rarely makes them go away, but rather makes 'dieting' a painful process. It becomes a vicious fight between you and your body. Like the others have said, learning to accept your body and feel a sense of strength in nurturing it with healthy foods and exercise (a big one) will yield stronger, longer results. And building your self-esteem in the process can't be a bad thing! A couple treats I have discovered, which taste great but won't tip the scale: 1. mix a few sprinkles of cinnamon and a bit of the sweetener of your choice (I use one packet of 'splenda') into a container of low-fat ricotta cheese, then spread on whole-wheat toast (or gluten-free, in my case). You can add a couple nuts too! You will be shocked at how good it tastes, and this snack is full of nutrients! 2. Freeze whole fresh fruit (with a little honey or not) in empty popsicle containers for a refreshing summer sweet!
No "diet" works long term. The Mediterranean Diet has been clinically proven to work, but it's more like a lifestyle than a diet. Fad diets don't work, only long-term lifestyle changes will keep the weight off. For me, eating small frequent meals keeps my metabolism high and my pant size low. People who only eat 100% whole grain bread and pastas, and eat very little refined sugar, while eating lots of vegetables and fruits are very rarely overweight. A big bonus is that after you start eating like that you start to prefer it and eventually white bread and sugary crap starts looking nasty. Except chocolate, I'll never stop eating R ps. organic dark chocolate is actually considered and excellent health food chock full of antioxidants.
The Diet You Do Forever Will Work. Regardless of what your opinion about the various diets that are available, the real secret is virtually ALL of them work to some degree. But not necessarily for everyone. My mantra has always been this: Find a diet plan that will work for you, follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author, stick with that plan throughout your weight loss until you reach your goal, and then keep doing that plan for the rest of your life. If you do this, then you can't help but be a weight loss champion. After all, I've lost nearly 200 pounds in 2004 and have kept it off ever since. The proof is in the results!
South Beach doesn't work for me. My experience with SB/Atkins was: 1. I became an emotional rollercoaster 2. I lost 7 lbs, but as soon as I re-introduced carbs, I gained 8. And I don't mean that I sat down and gorged on a loaf of bread, a bowl of pasta and had cake for dessert. We're talking like, one english muffin, every other day. Right now I'm on a gluten free, dairy free diet, and while it's hard, I'm losing weight at a rate of 2.5 lbs per week on average. You can go to Whole Foods and have someone show you where all that stuff is, too.
An addendum. FYI, I see my gluten/dairy free situation as a LIFESTYLE change - NOT a diet per se. I really needed to change the way I was eating forever, not just a few months. So there you go.
Diet Scmiet.. Anyone on a "diet" knows it's something you must stick with, to a T, in order for it to work regularly for you. I agree with taking the word completely out of your vocabulary. Everyone's body type is different and what may work for mine may not necessarily work for yours. You have to figure out what foods are going to work for your advantage and incorporate them into your everyday lifestyle along w/ regular physical activities in order to see a life long difference in your body. It could be anything from substituting a bottle of water for that pop you may guzzle down each day or getting up to change the tv instead of relying on your remote control. Small changes really do add up in the bigger picture. I'm not an expert but I know that going on a diet is just that, a diet. It never lasts that long because, come on, who likes to be told what to do? Exactly. Figure out what positive things you can turn around and the rest will follow. It may be a couple pounds here or there but your body will let you know when it feels at it's best. Trust me.
I agree with everyone else.... that diets are seldom the answer. You may lose weight in the long term, but a balanced diet and exercise regimen that make you look and feel your best and that you can sustain for a loooooong time are way more important than flash-in-the-pan fad diets. Also, I agree with the person who said that you need to find out what works for YOU. Some of my friends have sworn by the raw food diet, but having tried it before, it made me feel sick and kind of sluggish. According to Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, the kind of foods that people should eat vary depending on their body compositions. I peronally love Ayurveda as a starting point to figuring out the kinds of foods that might be good for your body type. Reading books doesn't really help you get to the heart of it, though--it's a good idea to talk to a health consultant who specializes in Ayurvedic medicine if you're interested in learning more about it. But when it comes down to it, it's all about bringing things into balance--being healthy without going overboard.
Reducing quantity and increasing quality. I find that if I reduce the portions and eliminate fattening foods, the pounds come off. Included in my diet are eggs, meat, vegetables and one or two low calorie snacks. When I have a salad I use dressing sparingly. At restaurants I eliminate sauces or have them on the side to control the amounts. I eliminate bread, most potatoes, fried foods, high calorie desserts. I drink water mostly. If I want juice, I water it down. Soda has calories and diet soda might work on a diet but the sweeteners are not healthy so I use Stevia, a fiber sweetener. And, of course, exercise adds to burning off those extra calories as well as adding to our mental and emotional health. Hope this is helpful. If you want more specific info on the in between meal low calorie snacks I use, let me know. Bye for now!
NOne. the only "diet" that works is : eat right, exercise and create a calorie deficit! :) i've been eating 1200-1400 cal/day and exercised and now i'm almost 40 lbs lighter ;) i never tried Atkins, but i did research South Beach. I couldn't do Phase 1 b/c i love fruits and veggies :)
It's All in Your Head. I had some luck on Atkins losing the final eight pounds of baby weight. I understand that South Beach is similar but much more realistic in terms of the whole "Carbs are evil" mentality. The thing I found with Atkins is that it educated me as to how out of whack my eating was. I was overloaded with carbs and doing that diet taught me to even things out. My bigger problem is portion control! I love counting Weight Watchers points as a way to get back to reasonable portions. In the end, I think it's about changing for good! We all want the quick solution and we keep striving for it even though in our heads we also know that slow and steady wins out over time. Agh! Frustrating! But if I were going to suggest any diet - it's Weight Watchers!
All Diets work the same. This is not just my personal opinion, but it was also proven through research - that all diets more or less give the same result. As somebody who has been trying to shed the baby weight and is stuck with the last few pounds, I know it is really tough and there is always the feeling that maybe there is a diet out there whhich would sort of magically melt the fat. But Hey- it just deosn't work that way. I am still struggling and I just feel that ultimaltely - you could follow any diet or none of them. End of the day, we still need to exercise and eat right.
I have been battling weight problems for 25+ years, and found the South Beach Diet to be most effective for me. I had started with the book and cookbook, and then signed up for the online portion as well. The part I like best about it is that it is all about changing your eating habits and not just losing weight. It also allows for treats like chocolate (in moderation) and it doesn't consider them lapses, but just part of a varied diet. There is no counting of points or calories, which makes it easy for someone like me who is a bit lazy when it comes to that. The Phase 1 part of the diet is brutal but necessary. It is for a very short period that you are restricted, but it is to break your bad habits and adjust your metabolism. Once you go into Phase 2 it is much easier.
In my opinion, "diets" don't work. I've gained about 30 lbs. over the past seven years, and I'm determined to lose that weight. What is working for me is simply cutting out saturated fats & processed foods, portion control (eating smaller portions than I used to), and eating more fruits & vegetables. I only use "good fats" such as olive oil or one of those margarines that help lower cholesterol. I've tried to cut out sugar and white flour, and I eat more whole grains. In addition, I've become a vegetarian (not that that means anything, lol), but I do eat fish. So far, in one month, I've lost between 6-8 lbs. I also try to exercise...I need to work on more of that!
A lot depends upon the person. I have had good succes with the ATkins diet, but I modified it a bit so as not to cut too far down on the carbs. In a nutshell, just cut out sugar and white bread. Any extra sugar we intake gets stored as fat. Eat extra veggies instead. They are the good carbs. Hope this helps you some in making your choice. Also, you need to choose something that will work with your work schedule as well, thats my problem, I work swing shift and it is very hard to keep something going.....but I am going to try harder this time......

Hi Fran,

I actually did the Atkinds diet a few years ago, and I did loose some weight, but it is definately not for me. Although I kept the weight off for a while, I gained it back. Plus eating just proteins made me a little sick.

On the other hand, my cousin lost over 60 punds about five years ago with atkins and he loved it. He is still skinny and goes on and off the diet when he gains a few punds.

In my opinion, you may want to try it, unless you try it you will not know if is right for you or not.

Blanca :-)

Weight watchers is a good old stand by. It is a common sense diet, and they are update their diet recommendations based on credible research. The basics are: eat when your hungry, but don't let yourself get too hungry or you'll overeat, stop eating when you're full (in other words don't eat too much - pay attention and eat less!), eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, get some excercise, don't deprive yourself of something yummy for too long, or the craving monster will overtake your brain...there are lots of effective diet guidelines. Most importantly is the one about eating less = losing weight. This is easier said than done in our land of plenty, which is why it helps to go to the meetings to get ideas for sticking to your goal of eating less.


Ok everyone -- check out the first 3 letters in diet - Diet's reduce the calories, often beyond what your body needs to funciton and results in the rebound effect. The core reason Fran is that all diets miss a huge piece and this is that our bodies are toxic.

The environment is full of it, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat. All of it contribute to a toxic burden - resulting in bodies that are full of impurities. Our bodies respond by enrobing those with fat. Eventhough on a diet weight is released - it is often not fat - it is muscle and it never releases the impurities. I coach people in cleansing these impurities out of their bodies - at a cellular level. To learn more please contact me directly.

My personal story -- 2 years ago I was 49 years old, I was overweight, exhausted, and experiencing the change of life - fanning myself - throwing my covers off at night, etc... I adopted a cleansing lifestyle - lost 8lbs and 14 inches in the first cycle, then went on to lose 30 lbs and have kept it off. BEst of all my energy shot through the roof, I no longer have to make fans, can sleep with all the blankets, and look and feel younger than I have in decades.

If you want to learn more click here

:) Dorothy

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Post an answer
Write a comment: