It’s January 2010 and that means it’s time to get HEALTHY! So..everybody head to TACO BELL!!! What?! Well, it seems like this January there are SO many choices for weight loss plans, meal programs and “easy” ways to lose weight. In Houston alone, we have seen a tremendous increase of food delivery and planned meal systems. Are they all the same? Do you need to be on a “system” or have meals prepared by someone else to lose weight? Checkout my take below…
Taco Bell Diet
I know you’ve all seen the commercials by now for the new “Drive Thru Diet” by Taco Bell. At first I thought it was a complete joke but it looks like they are really trying to turn their chain into a diet plan a’ la Subway. At first I thought it was crazy, but then I can see how they can pass it off as a weight loss plan just because of the calorie reduction they offer in these menu items. So, yes…I think you CAN lose weight eating just Taco Bell…IF that is all you are eating now. If you normally stuff your face with fast food and burritos, then eating less caloric and fat fast food can definitely help you lose weight. However, if your diet doesn’t consist of fast food now..don’t start. The main problem I have with it is that it is still loaded with sodium. Most of the tacos have 600-1,400 mg of sodium and the RDA is 2,400mg a day based on a 2,000 calorie diet and most people aren’t just going to eat one taco! Also, this plan basically gets you hooked on fast food instead of learning how to cook, but I’m sure Taco Bell won’t complain.
The Full Bar
These are another popular trend for weight loss. The company claims that you eat one bar + a glass of water 30min before your meal and you will eat less. This is a good concept, but you don’t need some fancy bar to do the trick. The bar is a low-cal treat that’s loaded with fiber. You can get the same benefits if you eat an apple and have a glass of water before each meal. It will do the trick and be healthier too!
My Fit Foods
My Fit Foods has been around in Houston for a couple of years now and it was one of the first of the popular “meal systems” where you can pickup pre-ordered meals or have them delivered. I’ve tried My Fit Foods quite a bit and it’s not bad at all. All the meals are well proportioned and are low-cal and low-fat. My only problem with them is that I think they have too much protein and animal products. Unless you are training for a competition (fitness, figure, etc) you do not need to consume 1g or more of protein per lb of body weight each day. My Fit Foods has meat in about 95% of it’s meals, including breakfast. So, if you are vegetarian or eat little meat like me…this plan will not work. If you are considering one of the other meal plan systems in Houston, make sure to check sodium, sugars and other ingredients and look for ones that have a variety of options. Pros of a plan/system like this: convenience, overall healthy, calories counted for you (so you should lose weight); Cons: Pricey, not convenient if you have a family.
I’ve always been a fan of Luby’s! Sure..not everything is healthy here (pies, rolls, not to mention Chicken Fried Steak)!! But, there are a ton of healthy grilled options and veggies. Luby’s has really been trying to promote healthy eating and at some locations they even have pre-packaged to-go items with the nutrition information listed. Plus, you can’t beat the value..most entrees are less than $10 and include a veggie. They even have a PDF with tips for you if you are trying to eat healthy: https://www.lubys.com/img/TheLighterSide.pdf
Special K Challenge
This diet plan has actually been around for a few years and it’s still a popular option for weight loss. Basically you eat either a bowl of their cereal, one of their bars, or a shake for 2 of your 3 meals + a snack and they guarantee you will loose weight. How? Well, it’s pretty low calorie or at least lower than what you are probably eating now. Plus, the cereals and bars do have some protein and a little fiber, so you feel full. It’s not the best plan because you are limiting yourself from fruits and veggies and only eating their product. So..like the Taco Bell plan…they get you dependent (and spending $ on) their stuff! Genius! However, I do like Special K. It has some wacky “fake” ingredients that I always talk about, but honestly..I eat it before I go do my long runs of 10-20miles because it is loaded with simple carbs that are digested easily. This is great for me and my runs because it gives me energy but not so great for you. What you want is actually the opposite…complex carbs (think more like Kashi cereal or whole wheat toast with almond butter) that will last in your system longer and won’t spike insulin levels.
If you are one of those people who has very little time to plan your meals much less cook, then one of these options might be right for you. Whatever type of plan you pick to do in 2010, don’t forget WHY you are doing it. Remember that these plans work for one simple reason…calorie and fat reduction. There is no simple formula other than calories in must be offset by calories out(burned) in order to lose weight…regardless of how you do it. But, the healthiest options are those that include the most fruits and veggies and the least amount of sodium and sugars. I am not an RD, so for detailed questions ask your doctor or RD but for more advice, feel free to contact me!