I don't like the word, "diet." It insinuates a regimental, strict routine that you must follow religiously or else. I don't know what that "or else" means – for me, it meant that I would become crestfallen when I didn't follow my diet. That I would fall further away from it as I recognized my failure to comply.
Last year in March, I started the Keto diet and lost ten pounds. It was largely because I was drinking more water (I couldn't have coffee with my regular three teaspoons of sugar). However, studies are showing that the Keto diet isn't reasonable anymore due to being heavy on red meat as well as being hard to follow for a long period of time.
After my weight plateaued, I didn't try to change anything. I went back to my regular eating habits with the exception of not snacking as much.
I tried the intermittent fasting diet too, also known as the IF Diet. There are variations of this diet, but the one I tried was the 16:8. I would only eat within an eight-hour window and not consume anything but water in the sixteen-hour window.
I noticed that on the IF Diet, I wasn't indulging myself that often. I was also becoming aware of how often my cravings would arise. I would eat only when I was hungry in the window that I had. However, my weight still held onto my petite frame like it was the crux of its existence. (Well, Taylor, it largely was.)
Then, being in a household where we didn't have any meat available except for chicken and turkey for my siblings, I decided to give my mom's lifestyle choice – the Mediterranean diet – a try. (The Mediterranean diet is one that is plant- and fish-based and is largely praised by the medical community.)
I haven't lost any weight much to my dismay, but I've noticed a difference. I am full of energy and don't feel so sluggish by the afternoon. After a workout, I feel fresh and strong – not aching and tired.
However, a diet shouldn't be about restricting what and when you eat; it should be based on the nutrients you need to receive more of. It should teach you how to notice how food makes you feel.
Sometimes an in-network nutritionist helps you determine this. They often make you keep a journal of your eating habits though. I'm not a fan of this approach; I believe in noticing the way that food affects your mood and energy levels instead.
You can keep a journal as long as you're honest about what you eat and the physical/mental reaction that accompanies it. I would recommend that you even write down how it made you feel when you ate that spicy ahi tuna salad or how that celery stick with cream cheese filled you up.
I know that I'm not a nutritionist – I'm especially not versed in the details regarding diet plans. I'm just obsessed with my health because my family is. I have a brother who is an athlete and a mother who was a former model. Diabetes and heart disease run in my family as well and I definitely don't want to develop them in the future.
I'm also not using the argument that you need to lose weight to be healthy and happy. Medically, I'm considered obese – but people don't believe so. They accept me and my body because I "look" like a healthy woman. I even feel like a healthy woman. Just because doctors and the weight scale don't think so, doesn't mean that I am not.
A diet should not mean to eat with restriction – it should mean to eat with awareness. Maybe for you, it means eating more slowly. Drinking more water and less caffeinated beverages. Slowly easing into a diet that you can follow too is probably my best advice. Instead of jumping right in, tell yourself that you will more plants before becoming vegetarian or vegan.
Whatever diet you choose, don't give up. It's the small eating habits that win, not the scale.