5 of the Most Popular Diets on DietBet (Or, Why Dieting is Like Dating)

What weight loss approaches are working best for DietBetters? Player Heather H. reports back from the field.

Weight-loss is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it seems every week, we’re being introduced to a new way to burn calories, blast fat, and achieve a “new you.”

Most chronic dieters develop an odd fascination with those in our cult who are making serious weight loss strides or have already lost their weight. We corner them at parties, toting a plate of celery sticks covered in ranch dressing, and want to know all their secrets. What diet worked for you? What supplements did you take? How many grams of protein were you eating every day? What’s your favorite protein snack that doesn’t taste like sawdust?

When I was young(er)(ish), diets were extreme. They consisted of unhealthy combinations and limitations that left the dieter with no real option but failure (Grapefruit diet, anyone?). Today, knowledge has replaced insanity and the majority of diets out there make sense: Vegetables and fruit, healthy grains, dairy, and lean meats are the cornerstones to most plans.

But of course, there are infite different variations and schools of thought when it comes to healthy eating, and no one diet is right for everyone. In fact, dieting could be likened to searching for your soul mate. Except in this case, you’re quest is for sustainability instead of amorous love. For years, you may go out with different plans. Some may work for a while, other relationships end quickly…until the magic day when you come across a plan that suits you completely—and then, suddenly, you’ve been together for ten years of a blissfully maintained body weight.

When I joined my first DietBet, I was amazed at the various methods people were using for weight loss. I didn’t have any expectations of what methods people would be using, but the vast array of diets was mind-blowing. At first, every time someone mentioned a method they were using, I would inwardly cringe because I felt like they were breaking some kind of rule or trying to sell some magic meal replacement mix. I had to get over that really quick, because everyone who was seeing results was unabashedly joyful over their accomplishments – and they wanted to share that joy with me.

And 1,500 other people.

I came to value these triumphant little tips, as they helped me learn what weight loss plans are out there and which ones seem to be working for people. Of everything my fellow DietBetters mentioned, I’ve put together the top five most common and successful-seeming approaches. Check them out and see if one could be your next slimming-down soulmate!

The Hodge Podge

Meal plans are like religion: there’s a little bit of truth and common sense in all of them. And the Hodge Podge Diet is a perfect example of that theory. Hodge Podgers are the people who’ve tried every approach and taken the best from each one to create a hybrid diet of their own. No two Hodge Podge diets are the same and they can rarely be replicated. The most critical point of the HP diet lies in the fact that its creation is dependent on the individual dieter. HP’s are made up of the little wins and successful aspects of past diets. In other words, we take the good and toss out the stuff that didn’t work for us.

Weight Watchers

WW may be the most widely known and used diet plan out there. I’ll admit, I’ve tried it and failed miserably. It was this whole new Points Plus thing—I couldn’t figure it out. It was too complicated. That being said, many people swear by WW and thrive under their system. And there’s a bonus with WW… they manufacture pre-packaged food and many other pre-made frozen diet meals that fit into their plan. Plus, with meetings all across the country and different levels of support available to WW participants, many bank on the accountability that WW provides.

Paleo

Paleo has taken the dieting world by storm and its rule of eating foods closer to what our generational predecessors ate makes sense. I find the Paleo diet intimidating, but many people swear by it. This may be because its driving principle feels intuitive: eat foods that are high in protein and fiber, and low in convoluted, modern-day pre-packaged perfection. Paleo takes dedication and planning on the part of the dieter, which is exactly why so many people believe in it and just as many can’t adhere to it.

Keto Diet

The Keto Diet (Ketogenic Diet) was something I heard about from my own mother, who began putting butter in her coffee nearly a year ago. The premise, for those of you who don’t know, is a drastically low carb diet where you virtually replace carb with fats to push your body into a metabolic state of ketosis in order to lose weight. It shares a lot of similarities with the Atkins plan. There’s a whole movement behind this scientific approach to weight loss and more people are talking about it every day.

The DASH Diet

I’d never heard of DASH until someone in one of my DietBets mentioned it—so I was totally surprised to learn that US News and World Report has named this the best diet six years running. It’s a plant-dominant diet created to help people with hypertension lower their blood pressure. The good news is that most people found weight loss (and all the good stuff that comes with it) as a pleasant side effect. Dieters are encouraged to fill up on fruits and vegetables while also eating nuts, lean meats, whole grains, and low or non-fat dairy products. Truthfully, out of all diets, this one appears to be the most logical and easy to follow. 

So don’t be discouraged if you’ve run through a host of diets without much success—most dieters will confess to having tried multiple plans over the course of their weight loss adventure. And though that may sound disheartening, it should also be encouraging to know that a willingness to try can often lead you to a diet you can spend the rest of your life with. Have you “dated” any of the diets listed here? Does one of them seem like your potential weight loss soulmate? Let us know in the comments!

Make it WayBetter

As you try out different diets, keep a log of what you like and what you don't like. You'll come to understand what works for you, which will help you ultimately find (or create) your perfect approach!