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Food Plans that Promote a Behavioral Change

Authored By: Lonna Battles on 1/31/2022

Some people find that a defined meal plan aids in losing weight and helps keep them on track. The key to changing your eating behavior is finding a meal plan that works for you and sticking with it. These days, many options consider themselves a lifestyle change and offer tips on eating healthy while losing weight. This post will discuss the more popular food plans that encourage a behaviorial change versus limiting what foods you can eat or stating that certain foods are “off limits.”

The Mediterranean meal plan

The Mediterranean meal plan is considered more flexible since it does not count calories or have a set food plan. It emphasizes foods eaten around the Mediterranean during the 20th century and earlier. This diet highlights lean sources of protein over red meat. It recommends cooking with olive oil, and eating fish and whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and nuts. This way of eating tends to avoid processed foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. It has also been referred to as a "heart-healthy" diet. In a study published by the JAMA Network Open of nearly 26,000 women, those who followed the Mediterranean diet had a 28% lower risk of heart disease, likely because the diet helps reduce body mass index (BMI). After more research on this diet, there seem to be many health benefits, including a lower risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. If you don’t miss your sugary snacks and fatty foods, this may be the diet for you. Although there is very little structure and no fees associated with this diet, you need self-discipline regarding portion control.


Noom is different from some diets - in addition to calories, it also focuses on behavioral changes and the psychology around dieting. Noom considers itself a “lifestyle” not a diet app. It provides you with a coach who will message you every few days and provide daily articles regarding nutrition, weight loss, and exercise. Once you log into the app, you plug in some basics such as height, weight, gender, age, and other aspects of your life. You will receive a recommended daily caloric intake, but you are not limited to specific food groups. Food is color-coded green, yellow, and red – based on the nutrient value. You enter what you eat daily, and the app gives you feedback on your food choices to help you eat better and reach your target weight. I also learned that Noom launched their Noom Mood Program, which helps you better handle stress with weekly activities to put stress management techniques into practice. With Noom, a monthly fee decreases with an auto-recurring program.


Most of us have heard of Weight Watchers (WW); it's been around for years and has evolved to become more flexible and easier to use. It uses a point system to measure your food and provides a community network for support and live coaching. You fill out a questionnaire about your eating habits, food preferences, and activity level when you sign up. You log all of your meals and beverages into the app and track daily. There is no food that is considered “off limits” but it’s a matter of making healthier food choices. WW also provides thousands of recipes on the app and partners with Blue Apron. If you are interested in learning about meal delivery plans, read my blog titled: Comparing Meal Memberships. With WW, you are not required to cut out any particular food groups, but you do have a monthly fee for their services which decrease with an auto-recurring program.

In Conclusion:

There is no magic answer as to which plan you should follow, and you need to figure out what will work for you. I purposely did not review any meal plans that were “black and white” regarding what you can and cannot eat (i.e., low carb, no fat, etc.). A well-balanced meal with portion control, combined with exercise, is the key to success. To learn more about the benefits of exercise (besides losing weight). Read my blog titled: The Benefits of Exercise. Best of luck in whatever plan you follow. Feel free to comment below regarding your experience with any of these diets.


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