Woman dieting for sustainable weight loss

5 Expert-Recommended Healthy Diets For Sustainable Weight Loss

11 min read


08 Jul 2024

What you’ll learn here…

  1. Understanding sustainable weight loss: What you need to know
  2. The 5 best diets for sustainable weight loss, according to the experts
    1. The Mediterranean Diet
    2. Low-carb diets
    3. Plant-based diets
    4. High-protein diets
    5. Intermittent fasting
  3. How to approach sustainable weight loss meal plans: Top tips
  4. Proven diets for sustainable results: Final thoughts…
  5. FAQs

If you want to shed some pounds the right way and feel good, you need to focus on sustainable weight loss.

That means no fad diets, no unhealthy eating habits, and no shortcut solutions to so-called success. Not only are these short-sighted methods bad for you, but keeping them up is impossible. And that’s when the weight will return with a vengeance.

So, what’s the solution? Well, it’s all about enjoying a healthy lifestyle and following diet plans that are balanced, realistic, and you can enjoy long-term.

Intrigued? Good, because here, we’re going to look at healthy eating habits and expert-recommended diet plans that will help you win when it comes to long-term weight-loss management.

Let’s go.

Understanding sustainable weight loss: What you need to know

healthy foods

Before we get into our sustainable weight loss diets, let’s look at a few things you need to know about reaching your goals the right way.

Here’s a quick definition of sustainable weight loss to kick things off…

Sustainable weight loss is like embarking on a journey towards a healthier and happier you. It's about making changes that feel good and are manageable for the long haul without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. And not a fad diet in sight!

For sustainable weight loss, there are certain factors to consider. We call them the ‘Three Ms’

  • Make balanced meals that you love. Healthy doesn’t have to be boring!
  • Move more. Take up a little physical activity that you enjoy and find savvy little ways of weaving more movement into your day. Dancing and walking are perfect.
  • Meander at your own pace. What we’re saying here is that you’ll have ups and downs in your weight loss journey—but that’s okay. Remember that you’re in this for the long haul.

Oh, and don’t forget to love yourself.

The 5 best diets for sustainable weight loss, according to the experts

    Dieting for sustainable weight loss can seem daunting—but we're here to take the intimidation away. 

    So, what are the best diets for sustainable weight loss? Let’s take a look by exploring five of the world’s most popular expert-verified diet plans.

    1. The Mediterranean Diet

    food in a mediterranean diet

    First up, we have the mighty Mediterranean Diet. Featuring a bounty of vibrant whole foods, following this diet is a joy.

    Making healthy dietary choices here is simple, as there are so many satisfying foods and recipes on offer. 

    What foods are included in this healthy eating plan?

    Focused on balanced eating, this varied diet is all about moderate meat consumption, oily fish, healthy fats, and colorful plant-based whole foods, including sunny veggies, pulses, nuts, and seeds. Oh, and the odd cheeky glass of wine.

    Why is it good?: Experts praise the Mediterranean Diet for weight loss because of its balanced nature, mix of flavors, and balanced mix of whole foods. As it's so varied, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get bored of following it, either.

    2. Low-carb diets

    low carb diet

    According to experts, low-carb diets are effective because they encourage your body to burn stored fat for energy, causing you to lose weight.

    But striking the right balance is essential when it comes to low-carb diets. You have to get your nutrition right and make healthy dietary choices—or the whole thing will fall flat.

    Let’s look at two of the planet’s most popular low-carb diets.


    Officially known as the ketogenic diet, keto is a low-carb and high diet made up of lots of lean meats and fish as well as eggs, certain cheeses, and leafy or non-starchy veggies.

    The aim here is to get your fill of essential nutrients while putting your body into a state of ‘ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. If this type of sustainable eating plan appeals to you, we recommend starting it under the supervision of a professional nutritionist.

    Keto diet benefits include consistent weight loss, appetite control, and plenty of tasty food options.


    Also referred to as the Palaeolithic or Caveman Diet, paleo is another low-carb diet plan packed with foods that aid weight loss.

    This wildly popular diet is based on eating foods that our ancestors used to eat. So, what’s on the menu? Well, you can expect to eat the likes of fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds while avoiding processed foods as well as dairy products.

    Paleo diet benefits include improved digestive health, reduced inflammation in the body, sustained energy levels, and of course, sustainable weight loss.

    3. Plant-based diets

    plant based foods

    Next up, we have the wholefood plant-based approach to eating (one of the world’s most popular environmentally conscious diets. Plant-based diets for sustainable weight loss are free from any form of animal products.

    Studies suggest that people can lose an average of 15.8 pounds per 12 weeks on a vegan or plant-based diet.

    To get your daily fill of protein, eating the likes of tofu, seitan, tempeh, seeds, nuts, and legumes will go the trick. And, to ensure this most sustainable of meal plans is, well…healthy—sticking to whole foods rather than processed products as much as you can is the way to go.

    Plant-based diet benefits include a stronger immune system, reduced inflammation, and better weight management—making this one of the most effective diets for sustainable weight loss.

    Oh, by following a plant-based diet, you’ll also be doing your bit for our fair planet—giving you that extra feel-good factor.

    4. High-protein diets

    high protein foods

    Now, we move on to our next expert-verified diet plan. An increasingly widespread form of low-carb diets for long-term weight loss, the high-protein eating plan can make you feel fuller for longer—as long as you get it right.

    By eating more protein, the idea is that you’ll boost your metabolism, get an extra hit of energy, and reduce any pesky hunger cravings.

    In addition to eating a vibrant mix of wholefoods, focusing on a range of animal as well as plant-based protein sources is what this most mouthwatering of diet plans is all about.

    High-protein diet benefits include more muscle mass, stronger bones, balanced energy levels, and of course…sustainable weight loss.

    How much protein?

    To reap the rewards of this healthy diet plan and lose weight safely, you should aim to eat around one to 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight each day.

    5. Intermittent fasting


    Last but certainly not least, we have intermittent fasting. This controlled approach to long-term weight loss works by eating healthy and balanced meals within certain windows and fasting rest of the time.

    Intermittent fasting isn't about starving yourself. It’s about scheduling your eating windows differently. Imagine your body like a furnace—it burns either sugar from the food you recently ate or fat stores for energy.

    Intermittent fasting extends the time it takes to burn through that sugar, like pushing the 'fat-burning' switch. This can lead to sustainable weight loss because your body starts using its fat stores for fuel.

    There are a range of intermittent fasting plans you can choose from. But, as far as long-lasting weight loss regimens go—the only way to take on a diet like this is to ensure you eat balanced meals during your non-fasting windows (no celery sticks or fad eating hacks welcome!).

    Read: 11 delicious and nutritious adult lunches to keep you energized all day long

    How to approach sustainable weight loss meal plans: Top tips

    someone stood on scales

    Now that you know enough about the effective weight loss recommended by the experts, we’re going to look at how to approach sustainable weight loss meal plans the right way.

    Rather than restricting yourself to the foods you love and sticking to these expert-recommended sustainable to the letter—striking a healthy balance is key.

    Here’s how.

    Go with your gut

    When dieting for weight loss, you’ve got to stay motivated. And the only way to do that is by setting yourself a challenge you can, well…stick to (remember, ‘sustainability’ is the main aim of the game).

    So, when you’re weighing up these nutritious diets for lasting weight loss, choose a plan that makes you tick.

    If fresh fish, olive oil, and lots of rainbow-like veggies are your thing, for instance,  go Mediterranean. If you’re looking to ditch the meat consumption and go green while shedding the pounds, try a plant-based diet. If you’ve decided to hit the gym or do a little weight training as part of your new improved lifestyle, a high-protein diet might be the one for you…you get the picture.

    The point here is: To make sure your weight loss diet is sustainable, lead with the foods you love and the rest will follow.

    Read: 10 healthy fat-burning snacks for women

    Flex it up. Give yourself a break.

    When you’re dieting for sustainable weight loss, going at your own pace is essential. Try not to compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on striking the right balance and making choices that benefit…you.

    Rather than sticking to one of these expert-verified eating plans for sustainable weight loss, you could borrow elements from two or more—if it suits you better.

    As long as you stay within your calorie targets and eat a balanced mix of foods that keep you energized throughout the day, you’ll be able to keep it up long-term. And that’s where the magic happens.

    Remember, your weight loss journey is personal. It’s all about you. So, allow yourself a few indulgences, give yourself a break from time to time (you’re doing your best…and some), and most importantly—love yourself.

    Read: Self-love & weight loss: How to love your body and still lose weight

    Top tip…

    To discover how many calories you need to burn to lose weight sustainably, check out our essential guide to calculating how much you should eat to lose weight.

    By setting yourself a realistic target, you’ll be able to eat well while leaving a little wiggle room to enjoy an extra treat or two.

    Move a little more to feel good

    woman preparing to exercise

    Knowing the role of exercise in sustainable weight loss diets will also help you reach your goals with confidence.

    In addition to following healthy meal plans, weaving a little more movement into your days will work wonders on your weight loss journey.

    Not only will being more active help with digestion—it will also help you burn more calories—helping you to gradually shed the pounds while feeling good.

    But, do you have to pump weights or spend hours on the treadmill to get results? Er, no. You can do lots of cardio and strength training if it takes your fancy (the choice is always yours)—but getting in a few extra steps (or doing a little more dancing) each day will do the trick.

    Coupled with the right dietary habits, weaving a little more movement into your day will lead you towards your sustainable weight loss goals.

    Whether it's walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, a sweat-inducing HIIT workout—or anything in between—move in a way that makes you feel good, and you’ll keep hitting those all-important weight loss goals.

    Read: Walking For Weight Loss Plan: How To Enjoy Those Daily Steps And Feel Good

    Tap into the power of community

    When you’re trying to shed the pounds sustainably, seeking support is the way to go. So, enjoy a spot of exercise with like-minded weight loss warriors, join a class or chat with a friend if you could do with a little motivation.

    The point here is—you’re not alone. Tap into the power of community when you need to, and you’ll keep those healthy eating habits up. You’ve got this.

    Proven diets for sustainable results: Final thoughts…

    We’ve looked at how to choose a diet for sustainable weight loss. We’ve also covered top tips for sticking to a sustainable diet. Now it’s over to you.

    By taking the time to weigh up the personal pros and cons of these ‘best diets for sustainable weight loss’ and choosing what is right for you—great things will happen.

    Coupled with healthy lifestyle choices, a little support, and a positive mindset, you can make any one of these effective weight loss diets work long-term.

    We wish you the best of luck on your journey, and for more insider advice, check out our essential guide on how to eat healthy on a budget.



    What is the best diet plan for weight loss?

    There are countless sustainable eating plans for shedding pounds out there these days, but when it comes to sustainable weight loss—striking the right balance is key.

    To lose weight consistently, you should eat a range of healthy wholefoods that you enjoy and add a little more movement to each day. Doing so will help you shed pounds consistently, the healthy way.

    Stick with a diet plan that suits your specific weight loss goals and includes foods you love (or at least like)—and the results will follow.

    Is it possible to lose weight without strict dieting?

    Yes. You can lose weight gradually and consistently with a healthy diet focused on balance over restriction.

    By sticking mainly to a range of wholefoods (including veggies, healthy carbs, good fats, and protein) while allowing yourself the odd treat—you’re far more likely to stick to your weight loss goals. With a little meal prep, you can enjoy a well-rounded diet without cutting out some of your favorite indulgences.

    Remember, it’s all about calories in versus calories out. So, eat well, move a little more—and the results will follow.