One of the most important factors in successfully losing weight is adopting a diet that encourages you to consistently eat right. So many diets fail because the food is unappetizing or too different from what you’re used to. It’s hard to stick with a diet that leaves you completely unsatisfied. The trick to successfully losing weight is finding a diet you can actually stick with.
That’s where the Mediterranean diet comes in. Dieticians and researchers have long marveled at the healthiness and longevity of the Mediterranean peoples, despite their diets heavy in fat and carbohydrates. After research, Harvard’s Dr. Walter Willett proposed what has come to be known as the modern Mediterranean diet, based on the traditional diets of people in the Greek islands and southern Italy.
Dr. Willett first introduced his plan in the mid-’90s, and it has caught on rapidly since then. Under his plan, dieters focus on eating sea food and poultry with a lot of vegetables, with the principle fat source coming from olive oil. Dairy products like cheese and yogurt are encouraged, as is moderate consumption of red wine. Red meat is consumed only in low amounts.
The bulk of the calories in this diet come from olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals (such as wheat breads, e.g.), with lots of fruits and vegetables. The plan avoids fatty red meat, refined grains like white bread, lards and butters, saturated fats, rendered products, and sugars.
The Mediterranean diet has numerous benefits. First, because it is low in fat, it is easy to lose and maintain weight on it. Additionally, it is very good for the heart due to the same low fat content. And because it emphasizes delicious, traditional Greek and Italian dishes, it is a lot easier to keep to than some of the more faddy diets that offer quick results. It’s important to remember that weight loss and good health is a marathon, not a sprint. While it’s really tempting to think only of getting into that swimsuit in time or dropping that gut as quickly as possible, that’s only a short-term goal. In fact, that quick-term weight loss may come at the cost of long-term healthiness. When the diet is combined with regular moderate exercise, weight loss is almost guaranteed. Just remember to stick to it and that weight loss should never come at the complete cost of enjoyment.