You want to be successful in weight loss. Fine. So there are two things you absolutely must do. You have to follow these two simple but extremely important points.
One, you have to follow a program that you can stick with, and number two, you have to include foods that you really like. Got that? A program you can stick with-and foods that you like.
Number one is so simple that you might say it is too obvious. Of course a weight loss program will not work if you don't stick with it. But the reality is that a lot of the programs that are popular today suffer from this one point.
Look at some of the most popular current diets: Atkins, South Beach Diet, Ornish, Zone, Weight Watchers, and others. You will see that one major problem is that most people just can't stick with the diet. They might start out fine, but soon they fizzle out.
This has been studied a number of times, and it always comes out the same. Take Atkins for instance. A study by Consumer's Union in June 2005 noted that those on Atkins program had good results initially but tended to have more difficulty staying with the program than people who were on other programs.
The New England Journal came to the same conclusion. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that people had good results with Atkins at first but at one year the weight loss was minimal. (A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity. N Engl J Med. 2003 May 22;348(21):2082-90.) Most people just could not stick with the program long-term.
The high-fat low-carbohydrate diets all have this in common-people have a hard time staying on them for a long time. One of the main reasons is that people just don't feel well after a while on these programs.
I have had the same experience in my research. I do not find patients who can stay with a high-fat low-carbohydrate diet for the long run. And I have never had a patient who got lean, fit and healthy on the Atkins program.
Many of my patients will tell you that they have had results with Atkins. They lose weight easily at first. But then they go back to their old habits and gain the weight back. The usually gain back more than they lost. Then they try it again after a year or so. They lose again, but not quite so well the second time or the third time.
Many of them never lose confidence in Atkins, because they did lose some weight, after all. But the weight loss is not permanent, because it is not a sustainable program for the vast majority of people.
The key then to long term weight loss is not to jump on the latest bandwagon, or to follow the latest trend. And it is not to take any diet to an extreme, by eliminating or severely restricting food groups in your diet. That is a recipe for failure.
The only successful method in the long run is to incorporate the foods that you like and that you are used to eating into a diet that you enjoy, that works for you, and that you can stick with.