Top 5 diets (lifestyle changes) to beat the bulge in 2022

If you’re looking to beat the bulge and kick your New Year health goals, cleaning up your eating habits should be your first port of call. If you’re looking for a more structured plan to follow, there are many diets (we like to call them lifestyle changes) out there that can help you shed a few unwanted kilos without starving yourself. So, check out these fab (not fad) diets for some inspiration.

1. The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is probably the least restrictive and is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.

The Mediterranean diet encompasses mainly plant-based foods like whole grains, nuts, beans, spices, and herbs as well as fruits, and vegetables. Lean proteins like fish and seafood are also mainstays, in addition to healthy fats, primally extra virgin olive oil. This diet also allows for drinking red wine (winning!). Dairy products (i.e. cheese, yoghurt, etc.) and poultry are also incorporated in limited amounts, although red meat is not allowed.

What you can eat What you can’t eat
Fish & lean meats Red meat (limited)
Fruits, vegetables, legumes Refined grains (bread, pasta)
Eggs & whole grains Processed meats
Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olive oil) Foods with added sugars

How does the Mediterranean diet promote weight loss?

The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle rather than a diet. It focuses on eating a wide variety of whole foods, and antioxidant-rich foods, while limiting the consumption of refined sugars and processed foods. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to help with weight loss and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, according to studies.

2. The paleo diet

The paleo diet

The paleo diet simply involves eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors in the palaeolithic period. This includes eating lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – mostly foods that were previously obtained by hunting and gathering.

The paleo diet is based on the theory that modern diseases are all but connected to our Western diet because the human body hasn’t evolved to process legumes, grains, and dairy. That’s why the paleo diet restricts the consumption of processed foods, grains, sugar, and dairy, though some less restrictive versions allow for some dairy products like cheese.

How does the paleo diet promote weight loss?

The paleo diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and advocates eating whole foods with low inflammation markers and reducing the consumption of processed foods. The paleo diet is higher in protein and could be better at helping curb cravings associated with low-fat diets.

What you can eat What you can’t eat
Meat & fish Grains & legumes
Fruits & vegetables Processed foods
Eggs Dairy
Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olive oil) Trans fats (butter)

3. The low-carb diet (keto)

The low-carb diet

‘Low-carb’ is a popular diet choice for weight loss, and this includes the ever-popular ketogenic (keto) diet and the Atkins diet. Both are much the same and involve reducing your consumption of carbohydrates (to around 20 to 50 grams per day) and loading up on proteins (i.e. meats, fish), healthy fats (dairy, eggs), and non-starchy vegetables instead. The keto diet is a very low-carb and high-fat diet.

How does a low-carb diet promote weight loss?

A low-carb diet helps your body into ketosis – a process by which your body burns stored fats instead of glucose as energy. Protein helps to curb your appetite and conserve muscle mass, both of which are important parts of a healthy weight loss. Many studies suggest that low-carb diets can be more effective for weight loss than outdated low-fat diets.

What you can eat What you can’t eat
Meat & poultry Grains
Fish & seafood Legumes (i.e. beans, lentils)
Eggs & dairy Fruits & starchy vegetables
Non-starchy veggies (i.e. avocado, broccoli) Processed foods

4. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting doesn’t advocate cutting out certain foods from your diet – rather it’s a dietary plan that involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating (anything in moderation). The most popular version of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method where you limit your eating window to eight hours per day and fast for the remaining 16 hours. There’s also the and the 5:2 method, which restricts your daily calorie intake to 500-600 calories twice a week.

How does intermittent fasting promote weight loss?

Intermittent fasting helps with weight loss because it limits your eating window which is a simple way to reduce your calorie intake, without giving up on foods you like or feeling restricted in your diet. However, it’s important to not overcompensate by binge eating during eating periods.

What you can eat (eating window) What you can drink (fasting window)
Meats & dairy Water
Fruits & vegetables Tea (no additives)
Grains & legumes Coffee (no additives)

5. Plant-based diets

Plant-based diet

Plant-based diets restrict the consumption of meat and animal products, either for ethical, health, or environmental reasons. The most popular plant-based diets include vegetarianism and veganism, although there are more flexible options like a flexitarian or pescetarian diet (which allows fish and fish products). Plant-based diets simply involve eliminating all meat, poultry, and fish from your diet. Some diets also prescribe avoiding eggs and dairy, as well as animal-derived products like gelatin and honey.

How does a plant-based diet promote weight loss?

Meat products tend to be high in calories, so limiting or cutting them entirely from your diet can promote weight loss. Plant-based diets also tend to be rich in fibre, which can help in curbing cravings and keep you satisfied for longer.

What you can eat What you can’t eat
Whole grains Meat
Legumes Poultry
Fruits & vegetables Fish
Seeds & nuts Animal products

The bottom line on diets

Diets (or lifestyle changes) can help you lose weight, by providing a structured eating plan or general guidelines around food groups to follow, however, weight loss always comes down to one thing − consuming fewer calories, or in other, words, being in a calorie deficit. Exercise is also advised in conjunction with a healthy diet.

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