By: Sharita Jennings (Pictured Above)
You might be like the most of the population during this time of the year, looking for ways to shed some pounds now that the holidays (and treats galore) are out of the way. If you don’t know where to begin with a new healthy lifestyle, a kick start diet might be perfect for you!
What’s a kick start diet? A short term eating plan that will help you lose excess pounds, often by restricting your calorie intake. Some of these plans typically cannot be maintained long term, but if followed up with consistent, healthy habits, they can do wonders for your weight.
I’ve put together a list of four eating plans that either I or my friends have used with success. Again, not every plan is meant to be used over a long period of time, but they are helpful at the beginning (and sometimes the middle) of a new healthy eating regimen.
1. Dr. Oz’s 3 Day Cleanse: This detox has been very popular as it requires you to eat only fresh fruit and veggie smoothies for all meals over three days. It also helps to rid your body of toxins, reduce bloat, clear up skin, and of course, reduce weight. Several of my friends have tried this plan with much success, losing 3-7 pounds. The downside is of course once the cleanse ends, the reunion with solid food might temp you to go overboard. But if you reign in your eating habits post cleanse, some of the weight loss can certainly be maintained and continued long after. Learn more here.
2. Whole 30: 30 days is a bit longer than 3, but it’s still short enough to win a spot on the “kick start” list. This eating plan became hugely popular in 2015 when many embarked on the “Whole 30 Challenge.” For 30 days you are challenged to eat only whole foods (you probably guessed that), while avoiding refined sugar, grains, legumes and alcohol (among a few other no-no ingredients). Whole 30 is really focused on changing up the way you eat and putting only WHOLE foods in your body. From what I’ve seen among my friends, the challenge helped them lose about 6-10 pounds in 30 days. Most importantly, the rules of Whole 30 are easy to maintain post-challenge, so the results can get even better over time. Find more info on the challenge here.
3. Flat Belly Diet: This diet is an oldie but a goodie. The book was listed as a New York Times Bestseller in 2008, I can attest that this eating plan still works (why wouldn’t it?). This diet mirrors the Mediterranean Diet as it boasts lots of healthy fats from oils, nuts and fish. The authors provide great insight on how Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs) help your body break down belly fat and they create an easy to follow eating plan to reap the benefits. Basically, for 28 days you’ll eat 1600 calories a day with a MUFA serving at each meal. No refined sugars, alcohol, or anything that will stir up your tummy are allowed. I’ve used this plan for 3 weeks and I’ve lost 6 pounds and even when the scale goes up every now and then, my belly is noticeably flatter! Check out my post about this plan here.
4. 21 Day Fix: If you have a TV, or a female person in your life, you have likely heard of this plan. Launched by the mega fitness brand, BeachBody, the 21 Day Fix is an eating plan paired with daily workouts (sometimes two a day) that many swear by. Tied to my stubbornness, I watched from the sidelines while friends embarked on this 21-day journey, but their results were amazing and I took pointers along the way. The unique feature of this plan is that you are given colored containers to pre-portion your food each day. This way you have one small portion of carbs, several portions of veggies and a small portion of meat at most meals. The feature certainly takes the guess work out of eating, and it is effective! My friends lost up to 12 pounds on the 21 day fix (I’ve heard of even bigger numbers as well), and they’ve maintain most of that weight loss over time. Learn all about it here.
There are countless more cleanses and detoxes out there to kick start your healthy eating regimen. The best advice I can give is to not go overboard. If you are eating 1200 or fewer calories a day, you likely cannot maintain that level of eating long term, so the weight will come back. So based on your goals, read the instructions carefully and remember that these plans are just one step along your health and fitness journey!
Sharita Jennings is a group fitness instructor in Washington, D.C., specializing in strength conditioning, high intensity interval training, and bootcamps. Sharita is also the creator of the blog, getfitlikethat.com where she shares nutrition tips, workouts, and general motivation to keep readers focused! Visit her blog or check out one of her classes if you are in the D.C. area.