The Best Diet for Weight Loss

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We’re a society that tends to love quick fixes.  Even though you know deep down that a diet promising you’ll “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” is too good to be true, it’s still tempting to try.  When your hard work doesn’t show immediate results on the scale, it’s easy to get discouraged.  But what’s worse:  losing a bunch of weight quickly, only to gain it all back?  Or losing weight slowly in a healthy way that’s going to help you keep it off for good?  A new study validates the idea that those who succeed in keeping the weight off do it by eating less and exercising more.  
The study, published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Researchers identified 4,000 people over a 5-year period that had been obese for at least a year before participating in the study.  63% had tried to lose weight within the past year.  They used a variety of techniques, including popular diets, weight loss drugs and traditional calorie counting.   Of those who attempted to lose weight, 41% were able to shed at least 5% of their body weight (which can have a positive impact on health) and 20% were able to lose at least 10% of their body weight. 
Among those who lost the most weight, there were trends as to what helped them reach their goals.  Some of the highlights include:
  • 65% ate less food
  • 44% ate less fat
  • 41% switched to lower calorie foods
“Here’s what the dieters tried that didn’t work:
  • 14% ate “diet foods or products”
  • 10% used nonprescription diet pills, including herbal remedies
  • 7% adopted a “liquid-diet formula.”
Those dieters who had the most success also said that joining a weight loss program and having that additional structure was helpful in their progress.  Did you know that the encouragement you need is right at your fingertips?  One of the reasons I love SparkPeople so much is that we’re not about quick-fixes.  This study reinforces what we’ve known all along:  there’s no big secret to successful weight loss.  The key is eating less and moving more.  And while you’re working toward your goals, you have the support of our Community to help cheer for your accomplishments and pick you back up when you’ve had a bad day. 
What do you think?  If you’ve successfully lost weight and kept it off, do you agree with the conclusions of this study? 

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Totally agree with the conclusion. eat healthier and less , move more often. There will be times of slipping for the other foods that are not quite so healthy but even in moderation there can be room for those occasional slips. Report
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LUVNMEA4MEA 8/4/2020
:) Report
LISAMARIE2015 8/4/2020
😁 Report
ATHENA2010 7/1/2020
I have lost and gained 100 pounds several times. What has worked for me is eating REAL food, meats fruits and veggies. Wish I had tried that when I was 20 - at least I know now! Hope others find their way - SparkPeople is a great resource at least! Report
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SNUZYQ2 4/12/2020
Great info in easy to read format. Thanks! Report
KATHYJO56 1/26/2020
I have never eaten 65% less food, but the last ones are a great mix. Report
KHALIA2 11/30/2019
Great Article! Thanks! Report
Good article Report
Great article. Report
Gotta find what works for you Report
Better food choices & tracking is working for me Report
Basically yes, I agree and that's pretty much what I did to lose the weight & keep it off. I would add one more thing and that is to track my food. That seems to be something that has been shown to work.Even with over 6 years at maintenance I still track my food because it works! Report
Great info Report
Thanks for the good information Report
Great article! Report
I agree! Report
Thanks Report
Thanks! Report
Good info. Thanks Report
Great tips! Thanks! Report
Everyone is different and different methods work best for them. "Eat less, move more" does work, but there are a lot of complex physiological and psychological factors that can affect how quickly we see results and whether those results can be maintained. Still, there is no way to fail in losing weight if one is able to adhere consistently to a lifestyle that incorporates this simplistic formula! Best to all! Report
I wouldn't be where I am in my weight loss and healthy living without Spark! Report
I am in total agreement! SparkPeople has been detrimental for me to stay motivated, inspired and being accountable for my actions. The articles and videos have helped me greatly. I have now lost 43# and I am 3# from goal. Love SparkPeople. It is a lifetime change.. Report
I am in total agreement! SparkPeople has been detrimental for me to stay motivated, inspired and being accountable for my actions. The articles and videos have helped me greatly. I have now lost 43# and I am 3# from goal. Love SparkPeople. Report
Good to know. Report
Although I would LOVE fast and easy, I know there is no such thing! So I am content to go slow and go the right way. I have enjoyed the help I have received here on Spark very much. I know I would not the success I am having without it! Report
Weight loss is not just about math. My body is so much more complex than that. Chemistry, biology, physics, lots of other "subjects" go into the functioning of a body and losing weight. You do whats right for you, and I'll do whats right for me. The *best* diet is the one that works for each individual, not just what you are doing. Report
Support is a key element. Report
spark People all the way! Report
I fully agree with this article. You cannot lose weight using fad diets, weight pills or liquid diets. They are not something you can stick with for a life time. Lifetime nutrition requires balance meals, daily fitness and moderation is the extras you consume. Report
Great article! Report
Excellent article Report
It is very important to learn what to eat, what is good for you, and what is good food. It's important to ditch fried, overly processed food and move to healthier options. You will succeed with a positive "can do" attitude and your goals will be reached much faster if you belong to a group where you are encouraged and held accountable. In Weight Watchers you weigh once a week and go to a weekly meeting. With Spark you are encouraged to weigh in and if you join a quarterly challenge, you do feel well, challenged to exercise, eat right and you learn so much in the process. Report
I've been logging every bite of food, and all my exercise. The SparkTracker is a marvelous motivator to get out there and walk/jog. I started logging in July 2014. Now, 7 months later, I am down 32 lbs or 12.6% of my weight. It's slow progress, but burning more calories than I take in really does work. I'm looking forward to continuing this exciting journey. Report
I've already lost 10% of my body weight here and feel like I'll have no issue keeping it off. I lost the first 13 lbs slowly, not even tracking food, just eating smaller portions and much less processed food (I eat very little processed food). the last 4 lbs I lost faster, tracking food and keeping to smaller portions. I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. I make a majority of my meals at home. I walk for transit, swim and do workout videos. I also almost exclusively drink water. I drink some tea and coffee as well but have basically lost my taste for pop. I drink carbonated water sometimes because I like the bubbles but I dislike the cloying sweetness of pop. Report
My personal opinion – I did the HGC diet and lost a lot of weight in a short period of time (45 +pounds in 62 days). And during that short period of time, I was encouraged not to exercise; due to a low calorie diet (lean protein / very low carb and no sugar diet). And thank God I was encouraged not to exercise, because I was nursing a torn Achilles tendon (by being laid up with a cast/ walking boot – minimal walking or standing). I will also write, during the journey of my diet; I was closely monitored by a Naturopathic Doctor of my progress (weekly visits). I will admit though, my regular doctor wasn’t too happy that I did it but I did explain to him that it was just a jump start in to a new life. And during those days of my diet, I did educate myself in eating right and I planned out a workout routine when this diet was over. And now that I am off the diet and I have been given a thumbs up to start working out. I have been eating right; including calorie counting (by Sparkpeople) and I have begun a work out regiment in the morning. The Final Outcome --- not only have I managed to maintain my weight but I am still losing it, so in my experience – I kind have begged to differ on this article. However, I suggest before doing what I’ve done; I would talk to professionals who can guide you in the right direction. Just my opinion! Report
Ihave been eating healthy and exercising for four years i have lost over 80lbs and kept it off. I am almost at my goal weight, i believe small healthy changes and exercise is the best way to go. Report
I think losing slowly and making small changes over time is the way to go. It's worked for me so far (down 12 lbs since last September, weight lost over the holidays even). I don't even count calories. I do watch my portions, eat (usually) only when hungry, eat more nutritious food, and make a point to move more. I still have 40lbs to go and I'm looking at the end of this year or the beginning of next as when I'll probably make goal...and I'm happy with that. I'm thirty and will then do the same thing I've been doing all along (which isn't that hard) to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of my life. Report
I would have to say I agree 100% with this article. I've been on and off diets for years, ate all the "diet" this and that. But, until I finally made up my mind that this is a lifestyle change and also gave up "frozen diet meals", diet and regular soda and amped up my exercise, I was spinning my wheels. I finally got serious on my eating in August, got a SPAT in October (which motivates me to move MORE) and I have lost 23 pounds! I do agree on some of the advertisers that are on here but, hey, we don't have to buy their products. This is still a free country and they help keep the site free. Report
i know for myself, slow loss and life changes helped me lose 30 lbs over 18 months. problem was i quit smoking -and in spite of all my efforts to keep my loss i not only gained it back, but an additional 15lbs [after starting smoking again-talk about unfair!!!] not sure what will work- if anything - this time but i'll keep trying.. can't handle all this extra weight :( Report
I personally prefer natural ways of losing the weight according to me the finest way of losing weight is by maintaining the amount of calories and making a proper exercise plan for me that always work.But what you have posted is something really appreciable. / Report
Raw veggies, and water foods diets are the best for the natural weight loss. Take fresh fruits and raw vegetables, salads, fish, citrus fruits juices, green tea, and green vegetables soups etc. in daily diet to burn your fat and lose the excess of your weight.

I have found that slow and sure is the best way to lose. Not only do you become familiar with what you are doing you are taking the time to learn about yourself and how you gained weight in the first place. The quick fixes are great in the giving immediate weight loss but what do you really learn about what caused you to gain weight. The immediate success masks the underlying problem. Journaling, educating, paying attention to what you are doing eating less and becoming more active may be too slow for some, but I've lost 45 pounds and kept it off for five years. Still have some to go but I haven't regained those 45. Keep up the good work everyone! Report
It is all about calories in a calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in you lose weight. It is that simple. There is no need to worry about carbs, fats or sugars as long as you burn them off. As you lower your calorie intake you will more than likely lower the carbs, fats and sugars also in your diet. The balanced approach is usually the healthiest approach. Report
I've been on more fad diets than I can count, and all I lost was time and money. Gimmicks don't work, except to make money for the people who invent them. Report
Being a past Sparkpeople member I can say that this program worked for me better than others. It is worth the work and it is really great reading post from people with similar goals. Thanks for the support. Report