With literally hundreds of different diets out there, it’s easy to get lost and super overwhelmed in trying to figure out which one is the best; which one is going to help YOU specially reach your goals. It can get so overwhelming, in fact, that it can even stall progress, making you resort to old bad food habits.
In my time as a trainer, I’ve learned there’s not one diet that triumphs any of them, and each diet works differently for different people. In this post, I’m going to break down the good, bad, and ugly of some of the most common diets out there: Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, and If It Fits Your Macros.
My hopes are that I can help clear up some of the confusion about which one you should try if you’re thinking about trying something new!
Paleo is pretty much a diet where you only eat things our ancestors in the Paleolithic era ate. This can be broken down into mainly fish, fruits, veggies, meats, nuts and seeds.
The whole concept behind the Paleo diet is that because of modern farming, our bodies don’t process foods like grains, dairy, legumes, and refined sugars as well as they should process foods. So, with Paleo, grains, dairy, legumes and refined sugar are no-nos.
To go a bit further, Paleo also breaks down into different variances of the diet. There’s AIP Paleo which helps with autoimmune diseases. Word of caution, this one is SUPER strict. Believe me, I’ve been following it and want to break out into tears sometimes because sometimes, homegirl just wants a cookie *insert tear*! (If you want more information about AIP Paleo, shoot me a comment, I have TONS of literature on it!)
There’s also strict paleo, normal paleo and primal paleo. For these three, here’s a little cheat sheet:
- Helps with weight loss
- Excellent at helping with inflammation, autoimmune disease, allergies (believe me, I’ve seen it)
- No counting calories
- Helps with blood sugar management
- You can’t have breads or sugar. This may seem easy but look at ingredients, sugar is in EVERYTHING
- Depending on the variation chosen, eating out may be off the plate
- Starting out, Paleo can be expensive with buying compliant foods
Who Would Benefit
- Anyone with an autoimmune disease, allergies, inflammation of any kind
- People looking to kick their sugar habit
- Those wanting a healthy restart
2. Intermittent Fasting
To put it plainly, intermittent fasting (now referred to as I.F. cause spelling it out everytime is juuuust really long) is not eating for a certain amount of time, and then only having a certain window of time to eat again. Are you starving yourself? No. Does I.F help with weight loss? Absolutely. And here’s the science behind it.
When you don’t eat for a certain amount of time, your insulin levels drop. When they drop, your body turns to glucose first to burn for energy. Once that’s all burned up, it turns to fat. Thus, getting rid of unwanted body fat.
There are different amounts of time frames for I.F. but the most common breakdowns are 16:8, 20:40, and 5:2 (for more time block ideas, click here)
I would argue this is the most common IF breakdown, and possibly the easiest. For 16:8, you fast for 16 hours and then have an 8 hour window to eat. So when I was doing IF, I ate from noon-8:00pm but you can choose what works for you.
The reason I’d say it’s probably the most common is because normally people already fast for 12-14 hours without even realizing it. Normally, 8 hours are while you’re sleeping. Easy.peasy.
Just like the rule above, you’re fasting for 20 hours and eating for 4. People who generally use this format for time blocks only have about 1 big meal or 2 smaller meals
Now this format, is a bit different. For 5 days, you eat regularly, and for 2 days, you’re limited to only 500 calories. Now, in my opinion, I’d be the meanest person on earth if I could only eat 500 calories a day. Homegirl doesn’t have that much willpower
- Helps regulate blood sugar (I, for one, was able to tame the Hangry Beast that normally happens with lack of food)
- No food off limits
- Calorie counting not necessary (the reasoning is its more likely that you’re not going to consume excessive amounts of calories in that short time frame)
- Increased energy
- Imma be real with you. Starting out SUCKS. You’re so hungry, you wanna feel like dying. But then, you don’t, and all is right in the world
- Hard if you’re fasting when everyone else is eating
Who Would Benefit
- Those looking to lose unwanted fat (duh)
- People wanting increased energy
- Those who want to lose weight but don’t want food restrictions
- People who hate counting calories
IIFYM is also known as If It Fits Your Macros. This is a diet that is based on having your macro-nutrients (fats, carbohydrates, proteins) calculated to give you a daily goal to hit. These goals are calculated by using activity levels, your goals, and other criteria that are specific to YOU.
You can use apps like MyFitnessPal and My Macros + to help track everything. And I mean everything. You will be weighing, and measuring EVERYTHING until you have a good eye for what equals what in weight and measurement.
In IIFYM, anything goes. As long as the food you eat, is within the macros that were calculated for you, it’s game. The rule here, though, is it shouldn’t be a free for all. We’re trying to get healthy, remember? If you’re curious about how to even calculate macros, click here and I can help you get started!
- You can eat WHATEVER you want and NOT feel guilty! You want that donut? Treat yo’self. You want that bacon mac n’ cheese? Dig in.
- Calculations specific to YOU. Not the generalized “eat 1,200 calories”. No sir-ee, not here
- Majority of the time, you get to eat MORE than what you thought
- Starting out can be rough and time consuming with weighing everything
- If you have an off mindset about nutrition, this doesn’t help fix it
- Success is dependent on tracking
Who Would Benefit
- Peeps who don’t want any food restrictions
- Those who want to count macros/calories
- Those who stay on track best with tracking
So there you have it babes! I have tried ALL of these and I also combined them to work for me! What I always tell my clients when they want to try a new diet is to pick one that you’re going to STICK WITH and that you will be CONSISTENT with. Those are the keys.
Love bread? Maybe don’t try Paleo. Hate tracking? Maybe try I.F. The possibilities are honestly endless, and there’s new research every day with new information.
With this information, which one have you/ are you thinking about trying?
Until next time babes!