What is the BEST Diet Plan for Weight Loss

What is the best diet plan for weight loss if you want to keep the weight off for good? That is the million dollar question. Here’s my unconventional answer.

[Knock, knock, knock] "Sheila we’re meeting in conference room 2 to celebrate Gina and Michelle’s birthdays. Come join us for some cake!"

…and that’s when the all too familiar feeling of dread set in the pit of my stomach.

I was eyebrow deep in my latest diet plan, hoping to finally lose the last 8 pounds I had been battling for the past several years and I didn’t trust myself to be around cake. But what do I do?

Do I go and just avoid the cake? But then everyone will give me a hard time and try to peer pressure me into having some!

Do I NOT go and just stay at my desk claiming to have too much work to do? No, that would be rude.

Do I bring my afternoon snack of Greek yogurt and homemade trail mix and eat that while everyone else is eating cake? Omg, how boring is that!

Office party cake. It was my kryptonite. Then again, so was happy hour with friends on Friday night and the family barbecue on Sunday. Temptation was EVERYWHERE and I didn’t know how to deal.

This was me about ten years ago… and even long before that. I had a tumultuous relationship with food and my body, starting from the age of about 15.

Around the time of this story I share above, I had peaked in terms of information overload, having researched for YEARS all about what foods are “good” and what foods are “bad,” and was super hard on myself if I didn’t follow these rules because I thought I had to stick with a strict program in order to get the body of my dreams.

So, for the most part, I abstained from partaking in the fun office cake parties. I didn’t go out with friends very much and when I did, I would eat before I went and would stick to low-carb beer (eww) as my beverage of choice.

I would go to a family barbecue and feel deprived of all the goodies I felt like I was missing out on. Then later that night, at home by myself, I would cave, binge, and consequently feel emotionally and physically gross.

It sucked! Yeah, I was seeing results in my body and I was getting closer and closer to the number I wanted to see on the scale, but emotionally I felt drained and sad.

I wanted the best of both worlds. I wanted to ROCK my dream body, to look in the mirror and truly love what I saw, to wear a bikini and feel confident that nothing was jiggling as I strutted my stuff at the beach or pool.

I wanted to enjoy my life. To feel free, open, and at peace with my body and with food. ALL food!

I was so conflicted because the magazines and experts made it seem so easy. You just follow these rules and then boom, you hit your goal.

But nobody ever talked about how to live your life after the diet! How to unravel yourself from the restriction and deprivation so that you don’t run for the hills every time you’re presented with a plate of cake and ice cream.

And so, it’s become my mission to help women unlock themselves from this body jail so that they can not only achieve their dream body and feel amazing in their skin, but then also sustain it for the long-term in a very manageable and freedom-based way.

Bye-bye restriction and head games. Hello peace and easy-breezy health.

Lose Weigh Naturally AND Keep It Off

So what is the best diet plan for weight loss if you actually want to keep the weight off for the long-term?

That’s the million dollar question that nobody ever really thinks about. We’re always in such a hurry to GET to our goal, we don’t think about how we’re actually going to sustain the weight loss.

Let’s be honest, nobody can stick to a super strict, low-calorie diet for the long term (not even your trainers or nutrition experts)!

It’s not healthy nor is it realistic.

My journey toward sustainable dream body success began on a strict calorie counting protocol. Well, it actually began long before that, as I mentioned, when I was 15 years old and started my first diet which then lead me to trying pretty much every diet on the market… but it wasn’t until I began counting calories that I actually consistently lost weight.

Through the restrictive behaviors I mentioned above, I was able to finally reach my goal weight, but what happened next might surprise you (or maybe it won’t).

Once I reached my goal weight, I was twice as scared to go out and enjoy time with friends, eat at restaurants, and God forbid, eat the cake, because I was afraid I would mess up the results I worked so hard for.

Talk about body-jail!

That was when I began the next phase of my evolution, learning everything about the mind body approach that I teach now.

After that experience, for a while I was against all diets because I couldn’t see how they could do any good. From my perspective, all they did was create a warped relationship with food.

Now I’ve come to believe that for many people, diets (even restrictive ones) can be the bridge that gets them started toward building a healthy lifestyle overall.

For most people, they learn about healthy food and portion sizes through mainstream diets and a step-by-step, easy to understand actionable plan might give them that jump start and confidence they need to feel inspired and in control of their decisions.

So, diets can serve a purpose because everyone starts somewhere, right? In the beginning, a diet might be exactly what someone needs to let go of their fear of uncertainty (and knowing how to “do it right”) so they can take that first step in a positive direction.

Having a detailed plan of action feels a whole lot better than the "I'm out of control and I need to do something about it but I have no clue where to start” place that they may have been in previously!

Diets Are A Short-Term Fix

What most people don’t realize though is that many mainstream diet programs aren’t designed for long term use. They are designed for “quick, fast, super-speedy results” or in other words, they are pretty restrictive and tough to follow for an extended period of time.

Sure you can restrict your food intake for several weeks, but the likelihood that you’ll maintain that level of strictness for the long-term is slim.

Also, many mainstream diet plans make it difficult to know how to make healthy food choices when you’re outside of your routine or strictly controlled environment.

This is why I was so freaked out by going out to eat or even traveling. It was a change in my routine and if there were other choices in front of me besides chicken and broccoli or egg whites and oatmeal, I was like a deer in headlights.

It was a tough, frustrating, shame-filled time in my life. That being said, it was one of the most important times in my evolutionary journey of getting empowered in my relationship with food and my body.

Looking back, I can now see that each of those “failed” diet attempts was a bridge to the next, to the next, to the next, which eventually led me to the healthy relationship that I have today with my body and with food.

Without each of those experiences, I would not be where I am today. They all taught me things about myself, my relationship with food and with my body, and how I wanted to feel in my life as a whole.

The secret to creating a sustainable, healthy food lifestyle is understanding that the diet plan is not the end-all-be-all solution.

Harmonizing Structure vs Freedom

A diet plan is simply a tool. In order to create sustainable weight loss and dream body success (by however you personally choose to define your “dream body”) you have to be willing to choose a plan (aka structure) that feels good and works well for you.

Then, be willing to experiment and customize it to your personal preferences, desires, and lifestyle so that you’ll actually be able to stick to it, because you enjoy it (aka freedom)!

Deprivation and black and white rules are not a long-term solution.

When we have too much structure we crave freedom, but when we have too much freedom, we crave structure. This is why we yo-yo diet from one extreme to the other!

The key is that you want enough structure to feel safe. And enough freedom to enjoy your life. Only you can decide what that looks like.

And the only way to figure out what that looks like is to give yourself permission to experiment and treat your dream body journey as one of self-discovery. This is an adventure!

We all know how to go on a diet. The gist of most diets is basically to cut out everything that we think tastes good, eat tons of salads and vegetables, protein, restrict carbs almost completely, and have a little bit of healthy fats.

All the while, starving, obsessively daydreaming about food, and if you are like I was, chewing gum and drinking diet soda like a crazy woman in hopes that it will help curb your growling tummy.

All for what? Nobody goes on a diet because they want to improve their overall health. If we’re being honest, the only reason we ever Google the latest and greatest best diet plan for weight loss is because we’re fed up with feeling like our outsides don’t match our insides.

We go on a diet because we can’t stand looking at ourselves in the mirror, or if we do, we pick ourselves apart, pointing out all the things we don’t love about our body.

We diet because we open our closet and can't find one thing to wear that makes us feel beautiful, feminine, and confident.

We go on diets because deep down we’re crying out for a savior to end the never-ending cycle of turning to our favorite comfort foods to help us feel better, only to feel worse once we've had our way with them.

Dieting is a multi billion dollar industry that has twisted our heads around and gotten us all confused. We’ve become convinced that the answer is out there, in the latest greatest fad.

There’s something very powerful about shifting our mindset from:

I feel terrible about myself and the way I look. I need to go on a diet to lose weight so that I can feel better about myself.


I am ready to make the lifestyle changes necessary to nourish my way toward my goals and feel amazing in my skin.

So What Should You Eat To Lose Weight and Keep It Off?

Mainstream media churns out information about the top 5 foods to avoid or eat, exercises to do, and things you NEED to know in order to lose weight and it seems to change with the wind or latest trend.

Rather than getting caught up in the latest “must do’s” go back to the basics. Eat mostly whole foods (meaning minimally processed, preservative free) and experiment with meals that are both good for you and also satisfy you so that you never feel deprived.

Ask Yourself:

  • What healthy foods do I love to eat?
  • What are my 3 food-related non-negotiable? Learn what a “non-negotiable” is in this free video series.
  • What foods do I HATE?
  • How many times a day do I like to eat?
  • What meal “setup” tends to feel best for me?

If you don’t know, what this video for a meal plan play-by-play to begin with.

Next, write out your meal plan setup.

Here’s an example:







Now begin to plug in your meals.

Following are a few helpful strategies that tend to apply for most people.

Again, if for some reason one of these strategies doesn’t work for your body, toss it out and go with what helps you to feel your best.

Strategies and Tips on What to Eat

  • Aim to get protein with each meal/snack
  • Fill your plate with mostly whole foods (80/20 Rule)
  • Opt for whole food sources of carbs (instead of highly processed)
  • Greens, greens, greens and of course colorful veggies and fruit too
  • Factor in your non-negotiable accordingly
  • Remember to hydrate, often thirst can be disguised as hunger
  • Focus on meals that you genuinely enjoy, never eat something unless you really freaking love it!
  • Prep ahead as much as you can (or plan out where/how you’ll get healthy meals on the go)
  • Experiment! Look for new recipes on Pinterest or stop by that cool new healthy restaurant for lunch and try something new
  • Make sure you have access to everything you need in order for this to be fun, exciting, and easy!

Once you have your food lifestyle down on paper, put it into practice.


Say that again to yourself out loud.


Practice does not mean perfection. It means honing your craft.

In sports we practice to get better and better. So give yourself permission to do that. Act, analyze, adjust.

Baby steps practiced consistently over time lead to long-term sustainable change.

You mess up, overeat, or eat something that makes the shame-monster rise up? Take a few deep breaths and let it go.

Tomorrow is a new day. Learn, expand, and become more of who you truly want to be (and ARE at your core).

Beyond WHAT To Eat: HOW To Eat

Tune in while you eat, meaning don’t multitask, and allow yourself to receive pleasure from your meals.

Most times when we binge or overeat, it’s because we’re not paying any attention to the process of eating (and thus the pleasure switch never gets turned on and satisfied, so we go back for seconds or more).

The answer is not outside of you, it’s within you. Of course it’s okay to look around and listen to what other people and experts suggest, but ultimately you want to check in with YOUR body and see what works best for you.

You must be willing to act, analyze, adjust. And this takes time. It’s not an overnight process.

But that’s what you want, because that’s exactly what makes it stick.

Losing weight fast is actually detrimental to your long-term dream body success because:

  1. If you lose more than 2 pounds per week or 4% of your overall weight in pounds, you’re likely to be losing muscle too. When you lose muscle, you slow down your metabolism because muscle is metabolically “expensive” to maintain… which means you naturally burn more calories (even at rest) when you have more muscle. You do not want your body to canabalize your muscle and that’s what happens when you cut calories or food intake too drastically.
  2. If you’re focused on fast results, you’re likely to not be building the sustainable habits and behaviors with food that will set a healthy foundation to build on. Like I said, anybody can cut their food intake drastically and drop weight fast if they force themselves to. But will they be able to maintain that lifestyle beyond a few weeks? I’m willing to bet they won’t and even if they can do it mentally, their body will eventually force them to stop through weakness and illness.

You must tune into your own body, its signals, and listen to the wisdom from within.

YOU know you better than anyone else. You know what works best for your body, what energizes you, what helps you to feel great.

Learning the basics about how to put together balanced meals, experimenting with healthy recipes and creating the best diet plan for YOU requires you to let go of the never-ending obsession with Google searches on diet related topics, thus bouncing from one plan to the next thinking that something outside of yourself is going to fix all of your problems.

Food is not the enemy. Bread, pasta, and sugar are not the root of the problem with weigh gain and obesity in America.

It’s our relationship with food and our disconnection with ourselves that’s the problem. And if we can work on those two things, then the rest (i.e. weight loss) figures itself out, almost on its own.

Said in another way, it’s our unhealthy behaviors, beliefs, and habits around food that sabotages our success.

Once I was able to shift the way I looked at food, heal myself emotionally with the way I treated myself about food and my food choices, I was able to shed the weight and keep it off.

You want to know what’s actually more important than finding the best diet plan for weight loss?

Realizing that sustainable weight loss success is so much more about WHY you eat than WHAT you eat.

If you build a healthy relationship with (all) food, then your behaviors will naturally follow suit.

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