We’re well over 2 months into this relationship now, so we’re friends, right? Okay, awesome. Maybe this is a good time to give you a little more background on myself besides the very general fact that I have a long history with trouble losing weight.  Let me tell you that I have tried almost every diet under the sun.  Many times I was lucky enough to lose a pound or two. The one thing they all have in common is that I quickly lost focus like a dog with a tennis ball and gained all the weight back, plus some.  So when I say I am an expert on “Fad Diets” I don’t mean that I am a successful dieter, but rather that I have tried them, put in some elbow grease, and still came up short… or heavier.  Whichever way you want to look at it.

So with that, I present “Mia Bella Lotta’s Diet Reviews” based on a 5 Star rating scale, of course.

Weight Watchers:  Weight Watchers, the OG, the first stop on most dieters train to Skinnytown. I first started the WW when I was in college.  I distinctly remember going to meetings at a random location in Santa Monica not anywhere close to the water and certainly no view.  I walked into that sad retail front, waited in line to weigh myself with all the other ladies, took off anything I thought would add any weight (including my giant watch), then went and sat in a circle while we talked about our highs and lows that month.  Then I’d leave that sad parking lot and count points.  That was my life. Just rinse and repeat.

I wasn’t successful with WW until my second, third or fourth time sometime after college.  I had a friend that joined me and we became “accountability partners” wahoo! I lost about 10LBs that go around.  Then the holidays came up on my calendar and, BAM, back to where I started.  We tried to pick it back up again as our New Year’s Resolution, but it was a lost cause.  I had lost focus and the PTSD from counting points breezed back into my life. You can develop every app in the world but if I have to try and search every single food item that was used to create my lunch at Panera Bread in order to figure out if its 1 point or 2, I will quickly lose focus.

Review:  * * = 2 stars due to hassle of counting and searching point scale. What brand of olive oil is it, Betty? It matters!!!

Nutrisystem:  Marie Osmond said it right, “if you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.”  Well, I should have then, and I will now, laugh about my attempt at Nurtisystem. How in the world is that still even a thing?  Why would you want to get deep into a diet that doesn’t teach you how to go out into the real world and eat?  Also, who wants to eat food that is the equivalent to what astronauts eat?  Seriously, your food for the month gets shipped to you in a box.  Before you start to comment that there are a lot of boxed meal programs out there today, this was before Blue Apron, Plated, Good Eggs, etc.  This was in the early 2000s and there was no refrigeration inside the box to keep anything cold.  Nutrisystem is a whole bunch of boxed foods that can sit in your pantry through the apocalypse and still be good. Just add water! Cray, right?

I can’t even begin to remember if it was successful even a tiny bit as a diet because the obscene premise is the one thing I get stuck on. I laugh that the Laura of Early 2000’s was so desperate to lose weight that she, a person who loves to cook and eat delicious food (maybe thats the problem?) would be OK just adding water to something and calling it a meal?  I also wholeheartedly believe that you cannot call a diet a success if it doesn’t teach you how to live a life.  Those on Nurtisystem would need to live off of “Just Add Water” Astronaut meals for the rest of their lives.  I do not want to live in a world like that.

Review: * = 1 star. This is one of those “If I Could Give It Zero Stars I Would But Yelp Won’t Let Me” reviews. Oh wait, these are my reviews. Zero stars.

FastDiet:  This one is interesting and little misleading at first.  No, its not a fast diet in the sense that the weight loss happens quickly and just falls off.  Quick weight loss usually only works with illness and heavy drug use, and I am not into things that go up my nose, make me hallucinate (I already have an active imagination), and I hate needles even though I have 5 tattoos. Instead, the FastDiet includes fasting.  Two days a week (each for 24 hour periods) you stay under a certain amount of calories during that period, which varies based on if you are male or female.  Then the rest of your week you eat like a reasonable person.  Easy, right?  Sure.  The first time I started the FastDiet it actually worked.  I think I took off about 10-15 LBs.  Again, and like Nurtisystem, how is it sustainable for the rest of your life to not eat two days a week? It still didn’t teach me anything about living my life after the diet.  I also got very claustrophobic at the end.  So I moved on and left it in my past, never to be heard from again.

Review: *** = 3 stars. The book that I picked up to begin the diet helped to explain a lot about the diet, its concept, and answered about every question I could possibly have.  For example, won’t my body hold on to all the calories, fat, etc. to preserve because its fasting?  Per the authors of the book and science like facts, nope.   If for some reason you can tolerate this type of diet and life, God bless your soul, click on the pic/link below for the book that got the ball rolling. No, I am not being paid or compensated at all for this.

Low Carb/Keto (Ketogenic) Diet:  For the sake of your Friday, I am going to lump these two together, and not only because they are pretty similar but because I did them around the same time and I accidentally got myself into Keto thinking it was the same thing as Low Carb. Spoiler alert, they are not. To keep it simple, because as my Mom always says “keep it simple, stupid,” Low Carb is just want it sounds like, you just try to stay under a certain amount of carbs, in grams, per day.  I personally tried to stay under 20g.  Keto on the other hand is a low carb, high fat diet.  While on the Keto Diet I spent a lot of time testing my blood throughout the day to see if my ketones level were high enough to start burning fat. Remember the needle thing, yeah…

Although the two are pretty close in fundamentals, the two diets have some similar cons but also have very different draw backs for me.  One similar con is that I love to indulge in a carb here and there.  I get that the key is moderation. You don’t know how many lunch meetings I looked around the table and everyone else was having pasta or a sandwich and I had a tuna salad.  Not to mention the times we went out to lunch with clients and I had a hard stare on the bread or chip basket convincing myself to not even think about trying one.  BUT ITS ONLY ONE! Its never only one, Laura.  Never.   A big con on the Keto side of the list was that if you aren’t being closely monitored by a professional and/or doctor, you could overdue it on the amount of fat you put into your body and take the fast track to Diabetes-ville.  Thats a no bueno.  Who would have thought that a diet that consisted of me eating endless amounts of cheese, bacon, avocados, salami, and more cheese was bad?  Funny thing this world is.

Review: ** = 2 stars. I had to weight the diabetes versus the endless amount of bacon chips versus no pasta.  Pasta always wins. Always.

Whole 30 Hybrid:  My experience with the Whole 30 Hybrid is being called a “hybrid” because it not only came along with clean eating meal plans but workout plans too.  It was a 30 day challenge I roped myself into because it was ran by a contestant from The Bachelorette.  I’m such a sucker… Every Sunday for 30 days I was sent my menus and workouts for the week.  Meal prep on Sunday, workout 6 days a week, and eat clean the entire 30 days.  Every now and then there would be a “treat” meal thrown in.  Mini yay! You know why I failed?  My social calendar.  It probably would have been really good if I didn’t partake in adult beverages one day a week.  Also, I believe I started this diet around the time when I had a bachelorette party every weekend. So instead, I gained weight and got sad.  End of story.

Review: ** = 2 stars. A constant cycle of working out, meal prepping, and my social calendar burned me out.  Not for a social, busy person.

Sovember:  November 2010.  This was a bad, bad month. I remember it well….It was my second year of law school and the initial 15LBS I had lost my first year was coming back and it was coming back strong. So that November I dubbed “Sovember” because I would abstain from all adult beverages. Simple, no alcohol, lose weight.  Sober November, or Sovember.  Before you think to yourself, “Wow, she made it through a month of law school without any alcohol? They are right, not all superheros wear capes.” Nope I did not.  Due to a tragic event in my life, after three weeks I raised a glass of whiskey in honor of a law school friend who had suddenly passed away.  Seemed appropriate.  BUUUUT before that happened I was tracking my weight weekly and I gained weight.  Yep, not kidding.  My good friend Santiago also couldn’t believe it and asked if every time he went to the bar to order another scotch did I order a piece of pie?  Touche.

Review: * 1 star. Any month that starts with a pledge of no alcohol, that mid way through ends with a weight gain, then ends in a death is no friend of mine.

The Mediterranean Diet:  The Mediterranean Diet would seemingly be made for this body.  I mean a large majority of it is Mediterranean with a sprinkle of who knows what on top!  Its a high protein, high veggie, low carb and low fat diet.  Its like the hotter cousin of the Low Carb and Keto Diet- it also vacations in the South of France, but never indulges in a pastry while visiting.  I don’t even like calling this a diet, but rather a lifestyle.  This is more on par with what I can handle in life and grow old with. Although, I don’t know if it’s a good kick start to a diet but rather more for maintenance. To me, there is a fine line between the two. So, first I need to get a head start on some good weight loss. Then I’ll be adding this diet to my girl squad. Hot.

Review:  ***** = 5 stars, but also TBD.  Anything that lets you have a little of everything but concentrating on protein and veggies has to be attainable and sustainable.

2B Mindset: Currently I am attempting the 2B Mindset “lifestyle.”  I won’t call it a diet. There are some key fundamentals to it:  Lots of water, thinking of your plates for each meal split up between the food groups in different ways pending on the time of day (I won’t give away their secret sauce), tracking everything you eat, and a lot of discussion and helpful tools to help you overcome what your personal roadblocks are.  Although I have stalled as of late due to all the engagement celebrations, once I am able to focus on the fundamentals of the diet I actually achieve results.  After this whirlwind of a month I have made the decision, as promised, to slow down my social calendar and take a step back.  This is especially important with the holidays coming up.  We all need to get a leg up on this fight so that the holidays don’t drag us too far down.

Review:  TBD.

So why did I just spill to you all my diet horror stories?  Well, because we all shouldn’t be looking for a diet, but rather a lifestyle change.  From what I’ve learned and experienced, anything that takes off weight fast, puts on more weight even faster. Also, and I think this is the most important lesson I’ve learned and can teach, most diets don’t work because they don’t teach you how to live an everyday life.  We can’t all just shut ourselves out from the real world, because life is what happens when we are busy making plans.  You could get engaged or a friend could suddenly pass away and your sober month rightfully ends with a cheers and many tears.  Life derails our plans. Period. So if we think of this fight as just a “diet” that we are derailed from, then the effort to get back into the diet can seem tedious or overwhelming, but if it was a new lifestyle instead of a diet you can simply pick back up and start again on a new day.  When I think “diet” it reminds me of a kid that doesn’t want to go to school that morning or do something their parents are making them do. So we drag our feet to pick back up again. When I think of my eating habits as a lifestyle, I see adventure and new experiences. Which would you rather be apart of?

Let us end this Friday with our weekly call to action- I hope that my fight so far has encouraged you to take on your own.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a weight loss fight or something else you’ve struggled with. If you did, is your strategy one that is sustainable?  Simply put, if this fight is one that will be with you for most of your life it has to be accomplished with a strategy that won’t burn you out.  So is this a new lifestyle with new challenges and adventure, or is it a “diet” that will burn you out and frustrate you? Really think about it.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.4 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32.25, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “99 Times” by Kate Voegele

So, you see
You’ve got me back again for more
And it seems
Your song is in my head
This is war
Mystery, how I could feel you breathe me
I was sure you would keep
Every promise; you would keep
Every word

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