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11 Weight-Loss Tricks Worth Stealing from Today’s Top Fad Diets

Think a diet isn't 100 percent sustainable? Or 100 percent healthy? You're probably right. But, every fad diet has at least one positive take-away message to improve your lifestyle. Check out these hand-picked tips.

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Weight Watchers

A classic weight loss and maintenance plan, Weight Watchers includes a few excellent principles. One of the best parts of this diet plan is the unlimited fruits and vegetables—boosting your intake of nutrients and fiber. The point system gives you control over your food choices because you decide which foods you eat and how much. By learning which foods are more calorically dense (higher in WW points), you learn how quickly calories add up. Weight Watchers is one of the few diets that can successfully evolve into a long-term lifestyle—it definitely has worked for successful dieters, along with these other secrets.

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Intermittent fasting

Currently a hot research topic, this approach has its positive points—though there are eight things you should know before trying this intermittent fasting. Some people fast every other day, others limit their eating hours between, say, 10 am and 7 pm. Doing this forces you to get in tune with your hunger and satiety cues. You can’t just eat whenever you want, so you’ll notice your stomach growling and appreciate when you are feeling full. These are important physiological signals to pay attention to in a healthy lifestyle.

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Forks Over Knives—vegan

It’s no secret that a plant-based diet plan reduces risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, inflammatory diseases and certain cancers, which the documentary Forks Over Knives explores in great detail. The film grew into a diet and several books. While plenty of people find a vegan lifestyle sustainable in the long run, everyone can benefit from ideas like making produce the focus of your plate. And if you want to explore veganism, here are 12 tips from vegan experts. Forks over Knives provides innovative and creative vegan recipes, to expand your eating horizons. Check out these other vegan documentaries if you’re thinking of trying a plant-based diet.

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Zone Diet

You’ll find several beneficial messages in the Zone diet plan by Barry Sears, MD. One: Lots of fruits are encouraged (not always the case in short-term diets). Two: Healthy fats from avocados, nuts and olive oil are favored over saturated or trans fats. Three: The Zone Plan teaches a whole plate method to meal planning, which is helpful for guiding lifelong eating habits. Dr. Sears recommends dividing your plate into thirds, with one-third containing protein food (a palm-size portion), and two-thirds of the plate filled with colorful vegetables and fruit. Find out what the color of your food really means.

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Beachbody

Heavily reliant on purchased shakes, the Beachbody diet plan may seem like a no-go when it comes to lifestyle. One aspect of this plan that’s worth focusing on is the amazing variety of exercise options. From country dancing to PiYo (a combination of Pilates and yoga) to their popular and intense “Insanity” workouts, everyone is sure to find an enjoyable exercise to keep those pounds off. Variety is the spice of life—so changing it up is a great idea too.

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South Beach

As a nutritionist, my favorite part of the South Beach diet plan is that you don’t have to eliminate or avoid any food groups. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats, and whole grains are all included which is a smart way to eat, period. That’s smart, when you consider how healthy many of these foods really are—even healthier than you thought. ‘All foods can fit’ makes for a great mantra when you’re searching for a sustainable and healthy way to approach your meals.

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Dukan Diet

Not gonna lie—it’s challenging to find something positive about this very restrictive diet plan. So, here goes: No packaged foods are allowed on the Dukan diet plan, which is certainly a lofty but strong goal. The daily walk promoted in the Dukan diet is another advantageous lifestyle habit.

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Volumetrics

The concept of eating high-fiber foods that are low in calories yet filling is a great lifestyle change. Consider how roughly 100 calories looks in the form of these different foods: 2 teaspoons vegetable oil; half of a granola bar; two cups of watermelon; four cups of spinach. It’s easy to see how you can fill up faster—and for fewer calories—on this plan. Here’s how to get more fiber in your diet without even trying.

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Paleo

The diet recommended by four out of five cavemen, paleo will definitely help you get more than enough protein with its meat-first approach. You can even find plenty of appropriate paleo snacks. While few people can really maintain this strict diet for very long, you’ll find the emphasis on nuts and seeds for protein and healthier fats is a winning strategy.

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Whole 30

There’s a strong push for fresh, whole, unprocessed and nutrient-dense foods with the Whole 30 diet plan—and you can’t go wrong with that! Using herbs and spices to jazz up your meals are another helpful skill to develop. The requirement to avoid artificial ingredients (sweeteners, MSG, sulfites, etc.) is difficult over the long-term, but a great goal.

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Nutri-System

The pre-portioned meals included in Nutri-System diet plan provide the perfect visual for what a meal should look like. Getting the hang of how much protein, carb, vegetables and fruits to include in future home-cooked meals is a lifelong worthwhile lesson.

Jennifer Bowers, PhD, RD
Jennifer is a doctoral-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with nearly 25 years of experience. For the majority of her career she has focused on health care, disease prevention, and nutrition education for a range of ages—from middle school to graduate school students. In private practice, Dr. Bowers is involved in freelance writing and extracurricular nutrition clubs for children. When not working, she enjoys swimming, running, hiking, biking, camping, cooking, and reading.

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