13 diets compared for your 2020 weight loss plan

In 2019, Weight Watchers listed the top 11 diet plans chosen by millennials in the 18 to 29 age range. It makes interesting reading, but what about the best 2020 weight loss plans for those of us aged 50 or over?

In this diet comparison article, we take a closer look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular dieting plans.

What’s new at Weight Watchers? Can you drink wine as part of a Mediterranean diet? Read on, for practical advice that will help you to choose the perfect diet for your lifestyle.

Check your BMI before making a diet choice

Your natural body shape isn’t the only figure you need to consider before starting a diet plan. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing your body weight by your height.

For most adults, a BMI figure between 18.5 and 25 is usually regarded as being in the healthy weight range. It’s worth remembering that the ‘healthy’ range is based on several factors, including gender, age, ethnicity, muscle-mass and the amount of exercise you do.

Here’s a link to a simple BMI healthy weight calculator provided by the NHS. As well as calculating your BMI, this handy online app displays your recommended weight loss and daily calorie intake targets.

If you have a BMI figure at the higher end of the scale, it’s best if you discuss your dieting plans with your GP. The same advice is recommended if you have diabetes, an eating disorder, or any other health problem related to nutrition.

How important is healthy eating in your lifestyle?

Though the UK’s 5 A Day campaign spells out exactly what we should be eating to improve our health, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) recently reported that only about a third of British adults were managing to meet the campaign’s targets.

With a vast selection of fresh fruit, vegetables and exotic spices on sale in many local supermarkets, it’s never been easier to find the ingredients to make healthy eating part of your lifestyle. The challenge in 2020 is often finding the time to shop for produce, then prep and cook the food.

When selecting a diet plan, make life a little easier by ensuring that you choose an option that matches the time and energy that you have spare for meal preparation.

Setting exercise goals for your diet

According to NHS guidelines, the recommended daily calorie intake for men in their 50s is around 2,500kcal. For women, the target is 2000kcal. For moderately energetic folks, most of these calories are used as fuel to keep the brain and body active.

It’s widely agreed that many over 50s are less active than we could be. If you have a desk-based job and you’re spending less than 30 minutes each week doing physical activities, you may benefit from increased exercise.

These activities don’t have to include going to the gym or playing sports. Brisk walking, dancing and even pushing a lawnmower are all listed as beneficial physical activities by the NHS.

Lifestyle matched weight loss diets

To simplify your diet plan decision, we’ve split our list of lifestyle matched diet plans into 4 categories.

1 Low carbohydrate diets

Low carb diets generally aim to replace grains, sugar and stodge with lean meats, fish, vegetables and fruit. More extreme low carb regimes, like the Ketogenic diet, can promote rapid weight loss. Low carb dieting is a good option for dieters aged 50 and over who enjoy preparing healthy meals.

Popular low carb diets include:

  • Mediterranean Diet (A flexible diet plan with light meals & a wine allowance)
  • Atkins Diet (A popular, 4 phase plan based on nutritious, home-cooked meals)
  • Paleo Diet (The caveman diet: sugar-free with lots of salads & light meals)
  • Ketogenic Diet (A strict, low carb & sugar diet regime to trigger ketosis)

2 Low-fat diets

Because of the added complexity of managing healthy (monounsaturated) fats and unhealthy (saturated) fats, low-fat diets are sometimes a little more complicated than the popular low carb weight loss plans. With the extra support provided by the NHS, Slimming World and

Rosemary Conley, their low-fat programmes are ideal for dieters who like to follow set meal plans and weight loss schedules. Though there’s little scientific evidence to support Alkaline diet plans, their use of nutritious ingredients does seem to promote healthy weight loss. Low-fat diet & fitness programmes:

  • NHS Weight Loss Plan (A free online diet & exercise plan from the NHS)
  • Slimming World Diet (Carb-rich home-cooked meals + group support)
  • Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Programmes (Tasty meals + online support)
  • Alkaline Diet (Features light meals made with exotic ingredients)

3 Meal replacement diets

If you’re a fan of off-the-shelf dieting products, SlimFast, LighterLife and Weight Watchers all provide convenient meal replacement diets.

Though Weight Watchers is best known for its local support groups, this ‘Reimagined’ weight loss brand now offers a fancy dieting app, cookbooks, podcasts and lifestyle advice.

At a local LighterLife meeting, you can find out how CBT Mindfulness can help you to get off the dieting roundabout.

These meal replacement diets are ideal for busy folks who enjoy socialising with other dieters:

  • Weight Watchers Reimagined (A respected diet brand with fresh ideas)
  • Slimfast Diets (Off-the-shelf products + flexible meal plans & social media support)
  • LighterLife Diets (Food packs & group counselling in a subscription package)

4 Fasting

Fasting forms part of religious or cultural life in many parts of the world. On an intermittent fasting (IF) diet, you eat sensibly for a set period, then reduce your calorie intake dramatically for a short spell.

Dietitians recommend that you drink plenty of water, tea or coffee (unsweetened) to keep you hydrated during your fast. Be careful not to binge during your non-fasting periods.

Fasting can work well for dieters who are comfortable with unusual eating routines.

  • The 16/8 Method (16 hours of fasting, then 8 hours of healthy eating)
  • 5:2 Diets (5 days of healthy eating, then 2 days on 500 to 800kcal)

Diet fads to avoid in 2020

Before choosing the best diet for your individual lifestyle, there are a few weight control fads that we encourage you to avoid.  Dr. Hiliary Jones spoke on ITVs Lorraine to advise on avoiding fad diets, stating that they are unrealistic, not sustainable and could actually be dangerous to your health.  He said be patience and sensible with your portions (smaller plates of food), less sugar and lots of exercise. 

Top of our ‘avoid’ list are Citrine Quartz Crystals. These metaphysical crystals are sold as weight loss stones in Crystal Elixir Water Bottles. At around £70, these glamorous, refillable water bottles are sometimes promoted by celebrities.

Even more expensive are the IV Diet & Detox Drip Treatment Therapies offered by private intravenous drip clinics. Due to the risks involved, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that medical screening should be carried out before administering any IV infusion.

For a delectable selection of natural, vitamin-rich eatables, check out the healthy foods and recipes in the Food & Drink section of our Fit Fab 50 Plus Blog!

Whichever diet you choose, we encourage you to come back to Fit Fab 50 Plus for support, encouragement, or just a darned good read! Come and join our supportive and positive group on Facebook too!