I tried a sugar-free diet, which eliminated added sugar, fruit, and starchy vegetables. It was awful.
You can learn a lot from their hanger-filled experiences.
If your relationship status with dieting falls into the "it’s complicated" category, you're not alone. Tons of people are on-again-off-again with restrictive eating plans. And while yo-yo diets can sometimes help you lose weight in the short term, well, there's a reason they're referred to as yo-yo diets.
To be fair, different things work for different people. But before you torture yourself with the wrong plan for you, find out why these women tried certain diets and then promptly decided to ditch them—for good. You could save yourself the trouble of going down a weight-loss path that doesn't mesh with your lifestyle and personality.
"For the longest time, I counted calories to try to lose weight. I thought that if I stayed under 1,200 calories, I would shed the extra pounds. But, ultimately, I ate the wrong things and ended up hangry late at night and didn't have enough energy to get through the day.
When I discovered Whole30, I found that I could eat as much of the allowed foods as I wanted without worrying about my calorie intake. After 30 days on the Whole30, I started eating clean 80 percent of the time and eating whatever I wanted during the other 20 percent. That strategy has helped me lose 25 pounds in 18 months!" —Lindsay, 28
"I've been on Weight Watchers a number of times. Sometimes it worked for me, and other times it didn't. When it did work, it was because I let the program consume my life. I was totally focused on points all the time. I also had to exercise a lot to make up for any 'indiscretions.'
I don't think losing weight is worth letting something rule your life like that. The thing that I found to work best is intuitive eating. I learned what hunger is and what it feels like. I've also accepted my normal weight instead of always thinking about losing more. For me, lifestyle changes are the only way to go." —Shari, 30
"I tried a sugar-free diet, which eliminated added sugar, fruit, and starchy vegetables. It was awful. I felt a complete lack of energy (read: weak and sluggish) and was always hungry. I did lose six pounds, but I plateaued quickly. For me, eating healthy foods, including all kinds of veggies and fruit, as well as mixing up my workouts is a better plan.
Now, I eat every three hours and do three exercise sessions a week: one cardio, one weight training and one yoga. I’ve lose 12 pounds in 28 days and I’m never hungry." —Christina, 33
"I lost 10 to 15 pounds on the low-carb diet, but it was hard to keep up. You can’t have sugar or bread, so it can be tricky when you’re on the run. I inevitably slipped up and gained all of the weight back—and then some! The only thing that has worked for me is eating things in moderation. If I eat something that's not super healthy, I make up for it by eating well at my next meal." —Vicky, 32
"I was really excited to start Whole30, and I have a lot of friends who’ve had success with it. But since I travel for work a lot, it wasn’t realistic. I managed to stick to the plan, but that meant barely eating, which isn’t the point. I lost eight pounds, but by my next work trip I gained it back. Now I try to maintain some of the key principles, like being mindful of added sugars and carbs, but I don’t cut out any food group." —Elyse, 31
"After one weekend of excessively indulging on Italian fare, I started a three-day DIY juice cleanse, consisting of five to six juices a day. I made sure there was a good mix of veggies to balance out the sugar from the fruit and included one juice per day that was nut based for extra protein.
The only other thing I allowed myself was herbal tea and water. I let myself get too hungry—partially because I didn't have all my juices made ahead of time—and became a total zombie. I was so low on energy that I couldn’t exercise or go to work. Even socializing with more than one person was torture. In the end, I lost about seven pounds in three days, which wasn't healthy or practical. Now I try to stick to healthier food options and control my portions." —Talia, 30