Diet Plans 101: Understanding Diets and Weight Loss

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Diet plan for weight loss
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Formulating the best diet plan to reduce weight may seem like rocket science, but worry not! Understanding the basic principles of good nutrition can help you design a weight loss plan that gives lasting results and is also healthy. Read on to learn more about the importance of having a structured diet plan, different types of diet plans, and additional tips that will help you along your weight loss journey.

Contents:
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    Why is Having a Diet Plan Important for Weight Loss?
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    How Does Having a Diet Plan Help You Lose Weight?
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    What are the Best Diet Plans for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are Some of the Best Weight Loss Foods You Can Include in Your Diet?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Healthy Weight Loss Tips You Should Know Before You Start a Diet
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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Why is Having a Diet Plan Important for Weight Loss?

Having a structured diet plan for weight loss can assist you in keeping track of the number of calories you are consuming with each meal, which is important for weight loss. A healthy diet plan for weight loss also helps you identify foods that you should eat and avoid in order to lose weight. They also focus on preventing overeating. 

How Does Having a Diet Plan Help You Lose Weight?

  • Burn more calories than you eat

The primary focus of any weight loss diet is a caloric deficit. You can create a caloric deficit by using up more calories or energy than the calories you get from your food. It is achieved through exercise and reducing the amount of food you eat. 

  • Eat less, eat often

Eating small amounts of food 5 to 6 times a day can help you stay full even though you are eating  lesser amounts of food than usual. This cuts down the number of calories you consume, thus helping you lose weight.

  • Replace empty carbs with healthier options

The carbohydrates you get from eating processed foods like chips, cakes, chocolates, sodas, etc., are called empty carbs as these products do not have any other nutrients in them. Replacing these foods with fruits, nuts, fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, etc., that have added nutritional benefits keeps you healthy and fit. 

  • Cut down on added sugars

Foods high in added sugars like baked goods, confectionaries, jams, sodas, store-bought juices, etc., are loaded with empty calories and tend to be less filling, which could lead to overeating. Added sugars also increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the future. Most diet plans focus on substituting added sugars with naturally sweet foods like fruits, nut butters, homemade juices, etc.

  • Say no to highly processed food

Most prepackaged and processed foods like baked goods, fast food, etc., lose most of their nutrients while being prepared and packed. Most often these foods have added sodium, sugars, or saturated fats, all of which have negative effects on your weight and overall health. Limiting their consumption and replacing them with healthier options can help in weight loss.

What are the Best Diet Plans for Weight Loss?

  • The 50-25-25 Plate Rule

This is a weight loss diet focused on portion control where you use a plate to visualize the quantities of food you should eat. Experts say that your plate should be 50% filled with vegetables, 25% protein, 25% starchy foods or carbohydrates and a spoonful of healthy fats. Limiting the consumption of carbohydrates and fats that tend to have a higher number of calories can help you lose weight. Apart from weight loss, the 50-25-25 plate rule is also good for diabetes control.

  • Low-carb Diets

These diets focus on reducing the number of carbohydrates consumed and replacing them with protein and healthy fats. Cutting out carbohydrates can help you lower the number of calories you consume. Protein and fats keep you feeling full for a longer time so you don’t feel as hungry even if you reduce the total quantity of food you consume. 

  • Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a diet plan that involves eating for a restricted period of time and not consuming foods that are high in calories for the rest of the time. There are several variations of intermittent fasting. 

  • The 16/8 daily fasting method involves eating in a window of 8 hours in a day and “fasting” for the remaining 16 hours, during which you can consume low-calorie foods like green tea, black coffee, lemon water etc., without any sugar or honey. 
  • The weekly 5:2 fasting involves eating normally for 5 days a week, and restricting your food intake to about 500 calories twice a week. 

Intermittent fasting helps with weight loss by reducing the number of total calories consumed and also lowering your insulin levels. Combining it with a low-carb or keto diet will give you even better weight loss results.  

  • The Keto Diet

The keto diet focuses on initiating a state of ketosis in your body, where instead of carbohydrates, your body burns fats for energy. This helps in fat loss by breaking down the excess fats stored in your body for fuel. A ketosis state is induced in your body by lowering the number of carbohydrates consumed to 5% of your total meal, and replacing it with 10 to 30% of proteins and 65 to 85% of healthy fats. 

  • The Paleo Diet

Also known as “the caveman diet”, the paleo diet emphasizes consuming only those foods that were available to cavemen in order to improve your overall health. These foods generally include vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. This diet excludes the consumption of dairy products and processed foods and can help in weight loss as it eliminates most added sugars and empty carbs. 

  • Plant-based Diets

These diets usually involve cutting out most, if not all animal products like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey, gelatin, etc., and replacing them with products derived from plants. Plant-based diets like vegetarian or vegan diets are generally considered as lifestyle changes rather than diet plans. Most animal products are considered to be high in calories, so eliminating them from your diet can help you lose weight. 

  • Low-fat Diets

Like the name suggests, low-fat diets focus on restricting your intake of fat to 10 to 30% of your total calorie consumption. Most fats are generally very high in calories, so reducing your fat intake also lowers the number of calories you consume. Low-fat diets are considered beneficial for heart health.

  • The Mediterranean Diet

This is a diet plan that mimics the eating habits of people from Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece. It includes antioxidant-rich foods like olive oil, nuts, seeds, seafood, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and restricts the consumption of meat, eggs, processed foods, added sugars, etc. The Mediterranean diet is considered a good option for weight loss and heart health.

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What are Some of the Best Weight Loss Foods You Can Include in Your Diet?

  • Green Tea and Apple Cider Vinegar

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has caffeine which activates your metabolism, and the acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar helps you stay full for a longer time.

  • Eggs

Eggs are packed with proteins and other essential nutrients while being low in calories. Eating them in the mornings can keep you full for a longer period of time when compared to other breakfast foods. 

  • Fruits, Vegetables and Leafy Greens

Plant-based foods like vegetables and fruits are  great sources of protein and fibre which keep you full for longer,  prevent overeating and thus, help reduce your calorie intake. 

  • Nuts and Seeds

Foods like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc., are jam-packed with proteins, healthy fats and essential micronutrients. Studies have shown that including nuts in your regular diet can help you lose weight, control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.  

  • Fish and Lean Meats

Animal products are excellent sources of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients that can help you lose weight. 

  • Fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can lower your cholesterol levels. 
  • Lean meats like chicken, turkey, pork chops with the fat trimmed off, etc., take longer to digest, which expends more energy and also keeps you satisfied for longer.
  • Beans, Legumes and Lentils

Pulses, beans, legumes and lentils are great sources of plant-based protein, dietary fibre, and B-complex vitamins. They take longer to digest due to their fibre and protein content, which prevents overeating. This diverse food group is very versatile and can be incorporated into salads, stews, soups, curries, dal, etc.

Healthy Weight Loss Tips You Should Know Before You Start a Diet

  • Start slow

Switching to a completely new diet at once could make you less likely to stick with it. So start with minor changes and keep making healthy choices over time to sustain good food habits. 

  • Make a diet chart

Having a meal plan or a diet chart helps you make a precise shopping list, so you can cut down on food waste and processed food. 

  • Read food labels

Reading food labels while shopping can help you keep track of the number of carbohydrates, calories, added sugars, and saturated fats you are consuming. Reading and comparing food labels can help you make healthier food choices. 

  • Be in it for the long run

Short term diet plans that include extremely low-calorie intake (<800 calories/day) and last only for a few weeks or months may initially give you the desired weight loss results. However, once you are off the diet plan and go back to your regular calorie intake, you will most likely put on weight again. A sustainable diet plan with moderate calorie intake and regular exercise will give you a lasting long term result.  

  • Stay motivated

Most people fall off their diet plans after the first couple of weeks or months. Staying focused on the reason you want to lose weight, setting weekly goals, having realistic expectations, and planning for obstacles or setbacks will help you stay motivated on your weight loss journey. 

  • Find a diet buddy

Including your family or friends in your diet and exercise routine can help you stay accountable and also motivated.

  • It’s okay to have a cheat day

Being on a weight loss diet doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favourite foods. Having a designated cheat day once every week or two weeks where you can indulge in your favourite foods is perfectly alright, as long as you remember to eat in moderation. 

  • Exercise is also important

Physical activity helps you burn calories and when combined with good nutrition, can aid you in achieving your weight loss goals.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Having a structured diet plan helps you keep track of the calories you are consuming.
  • Most diet plans involve:
  • Burning more calories than you eat
  • Eating smaller meals more often
  • Replacing empty carbs with healthier options
  • Cutting down on added sugars
  • Avoiding highly processed foods
  • The best diet plans for weight loss are the 50-25-25 plate rule, low-carb diets, intermittent fasting, the keto diet, the paleo diet, plant-based diets, low-fat diets, and the Mediterranean diet.
  • The best weight loss foods to include in your diet are green tea, apple cider vinegar, eggs, fruits, vegetables and leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, lean meats, beans, legumes and lentils.
  • It is important to start slow, make a diet chart, learn how to read food labels, stay motivated, find a diet buddy (a friend or family member) and exercise regularly, while following any diet plan for weight loss.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable.

Frequently Asked Questions

White rice is high in carbohydrates and calories, so eating too much of it may not be good for weight loss. Try eating smaller portions of white rice or switch to brown rice if you are trying to lose weight.

Drinks that help in fat loss include:

  1. Lemon water
  2. Green tea
  3. Jeera water
  4. Apple cider vinegar
  5. Black coffee
  6.  Ginger tea

The following are natural ways to lose weight

  1. Cut down on carbs 
  2. Exercise portion control
  3. Fill up on protein and fiber
  4. Avoid added sugars
  5. Limit your intake of processed foods
  6. Eat more vegetables and fruits
  7. Exercise regularly
  8. Get better sleep
  9. Avoid alcohol
  10. Drink more water

Even though losing a kilo a day is possible, it is extremely unhealthy and could lead to several complications. Losing half a kilo to one kilo per week is considered an appropriate pace for healthy weight loss.

Yes, lemon water is low in calories, boosts your metabolism, keeps you feeling full and hydrated. Replacing other high-calorie drinks like sodas, fruit juices, coffee, etc., with lemon water can help you reduce your calorie intake and promote weight loss. 

Foods that help with fat loss include eggs, avocados, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, oatmeal, spices like cinnamon and ginger, berries, dark chocolate, beans, legumes and lentils.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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