The importance of diet
When I was younger I didn’t have to worry too much about what I ate. With my metabolism and semi-active lifestyle weight gain wasn’t much of a problem for me. However as I entered my 40’s I started to get a bit of a middle-age spread. At a recent Doctors visit it was suggested I would benefit from losing a little weight. So I started reading up on the science of weight loss.
I learned weight loss is really simple math – calories in versus calories out. That is, diet and exercise. In fact several studies has suggested 80% or 90% of a persons weight loss is due to their diet – not exercise. Exercise has many benefits but it doesn’t have a significant effect on weight loss. Read how to make exercise a habit.
Which diet should I follow
I decided I needed to concentrate my efforts on diet. So I started researching diets. It turns out where are a LOT of diets out there.
- The Atkins diet. Avoid carbohydrates and eat a lot of protein.
- The Choose My Plate diet. Focusing on eating the five food groups.
- The Ketogenic diet. Reduce carbohydrate intake and increase healthy fats.
- The Mediterranean diet. Focuses on the eating habits of the people of Greece and southern Italy.
- The Scandi Sense diet. Eat handfuls of vegetables, protein and carbs.
- The South Beach diet. Focus on eating unrefined slow carbohydrates instead of fast carbohydrates.
- The Weight Watchers diet. Follow a “points” system to regulate your eating and attend support meetings.
- The Zone diet. Eat 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats and 30% protein at each meal.
So which one is best? Well, firstly the best diet is the one you stick to. To lose weight and keep it off you need to change your eating habits instead of going on a diet.
Researchers at Stanford University have found that the most importance factor in losing weight is eating a high quality diet. A high quality diet is the one typically recommended by dietitians and government health agency’s. A good example is the United States Department of Agriculture “Choose My Plate” program.
The simplest diet in the world
In my research I came across a relatively new diet that is based on eating high quality food in sensible portions. The diet is called the Scandi Sense diet and it was created by a Danish dietitian named Suzy Wengel. While the diet may be new, it is based on years of solid research. The idea is you simply eat 3 meals a day comprising two handfuls of vegetables, one handful of protein and one handful of carbohydrates or fruit. Two of your three meals a day must include all the handfuls. (You don’t have salad for breakfast!) There are a couple more simple rules but that’s basically it.
By eating all the handfuls you are getting a balanced diet. I have found by eating all my handfuls at each meal I dont need to snack. For me my snacks were my unhealthiest meal. Weight loss benefits aside, I have also found my diet in general has improved since following the Scandi Sense diet and I am now eating all the food groups I need.
You use your hands as a portion control tool. Your hand size is relative to your body size. Bigger people have bigger hands and get bigger portions. Smaller people have smaller hands and get smaller portions. Its like counting calories without having to count calories!
Its sustainable. You can use the handfuls method where ever you happen to be eating without much planning. You can save up your handfuls from earlier in the day if you know you are going out for dinner – so you can still enjoy eating out. And lastly one of the best ideas is if you over eat at one you, you simply close that box and start again at the next meal. So many people fall off their diet because they over indulge in one meal and then think “oh well, I guess I’ve failed and there is no point in continuing.” Scandi Sense allows you to be human and continue losing weight.
Lastly, and most importantly, it readily lends itself to becoming a habit. “When I eat I serve myself two handfuls of vegetables, one handful of protein and one handful of carbs or fruit.” Its a simple routine to remember.
Watch this five video to learn all about the Scandi Sense diet. (Yes, you really can learn all about the diet in just five minutes.)
You can of course buy the book too.
I think the Scandi Sense diet is indeed the simplest diet in the world – and its backed by solid scientific advice! If you are looking for a simple diet to help you lose weight that you can leverage the power of habit with, I heartily recommend the Scandi Sense diet. Within just a few months my middle age spread has spread its wings and flown away!