Spring is right around the corner, and everyone around me is dieting and upping their exercise regimen to get ready for spring weather, and more importantly, spring clothing! I’ve heard everything from Fat Flush to Weight Watchers to Jenny Craig. However, two diet plans seem to be reigning supreme in my area of the world: Ideal Protein and Paleo Diet. And when it came to determining the right one for me, I observed two coworkers doing these diets to see how it is working for them.
Coworker #1, we’ll call her Ashley, she started Ideal Protein on February 1, 2014. She is very overweight, and said her biggest struggle is that every time she tries to start a workout regimen, she ends up getting injured because she’s carrying so much weight. So in doing her research, she discovered that the Ideal Protein Diet doesn’t require exercise; in fact, it asks you not to exercise. So that was the first attraction to Ashley. She then attended an informational meeting and learned that the entire purpose of the Ideal Protein diet is to remove sugar from your diet. Nothing that can turns to sugar is allowed on this diet. No carbs (except from specific vegetables), no starches, no dairy, and absolutely no sweets. I decided to check out a free informational meeting for myself to better understand how it works.
I began by reading the summary of this diet on the main Ideal Protein Website. It explained that insulin dysfunction causes weight gain, and that by following this diet, you remove foods that cause insulin spikes in the body which causes blood sugar spikes. Ashley shared with me that she’s borderline diabetic, so she also chose this diet because it helped her regulate her blood sugars. At the meeting I was shocked by before and after live testimonials of women who had lost upwards of 100 pounds in as short as 10 months. And others had lost upwards of 25 pounds in just two months. In prepping for spring and summer clothing, that sounded pretty fantastic.
At this point Ashley is 45 days into the diet and has lost 27 pounds. She looks amazing! She said the hardest part was adjusting to the sugar withdrawal. She said she had bad headaches the first couple of days, but once she got past that, the diet was easy to follow. The diet allows you four meals a day, and three of those meals are Ideal Protein products (e.g. shakes, bars, snacks, etc.) And the fourth meal, usually dinner, is composed of lean protein and green vegetables. Additionally, Ashley said she needs accountability, and seeing an Ideal Protein coach at a doctor’s office every week really helps her stay on track. She keeps a journal, and said her coach has been extremely helpful during the weeks if she needs advice. And Ashley’s favorite part is that exercise is not necessary to make the diet work. It works on it’s own, and it’s clearly working for Ashley.
Now, on the flip side, coworker #2, let’s call her Betty, is doing the Paleo diet. And upon looking at the website, the premise is to eat like our “hunter-gatherer ancestors.” It’s like Ideal in that the focus is on maximizing protein and minimizing carbohydrates to manage blood sugar levels. However, it also focuses on whole foods (i.e., nothing processed, not even bread; especially not bread), and vitamins and minerals you receive from those whole foods. Betty said the hardest part was giving up bread, because it is one of her favorite foods. She has been doing a Paleo way of eating since January 1st; it was her New Year’s resolution to finally drop the extra 30 pounds she’s been carrying. And after two months, she’s lost 17 pounds.
She said that exercise is key on Paleo, as activity goes hand in hand with this lifestyle change. So along with Paleo, she is doing yoga twice a week and taking a long walk every day. She said with removing the carbs and processed foods, she has more energy than she did before. She said she feels good all day long, when before she would feel sleepy in the afternoons. Betty explored Ideal, but chose Paleo because she could workout, which she wanted to concentrate on as well. Additionally, Paleo allows for fruits as part of the diet, and Betty was intrigued at the diet’s promise to regulate potassium levels. She had been struggling with that under her doctor’s care, and has reported that her last labs showed that her levels are finally where they need to be after two and a half months eating a Paleo Diet.
Both women are doing well on their diets, and it’s unbelievably motivating. Both have very different lifestyles. Betty is married with two children and a dog at home, so being active drove her diet choice. Ashley is a single person struggling with type 2 diabetes and has a significant amount of weight to lose, so she chose the diet that would allow her to lose weight, retain muscle mass but not require exercise. The key to the right diet for you is to do your research. Both of these women looked into the benefits and requirements of various diets, and decided on their diet of choice based on honestly assessing what their goals were and what limitations they were willing to set.
There is no magic diet, and no diet is easy. Diets give you the results based on the work you put into it. Looking at these women, and the success they are both having, I’d say both Paleo and Ideal Protein are good choices for someone looking to drop those winter pounds to get ready for spring and summer. But for me, I think Paleo is the best choice for me and will utilize it for my own preparation for Spring. Goodbye bread! Hello bikini!