The diet plan that works for EVERYONE: From office workers to menopausal women, newlyweds to fitness fanatics, expert reveals what you should be eating depending on your age and lifestyle.

Posted by Heather Campbell on

  • Menopausal women need to eat more fats and go easy on grains.
  • Office workers should eat protein-rich snacks to keep cravings at bay.
  • Shift workers should eat foods containing tryptophan to encourage serotonin, a calming chemical which encourages sleep.

  • Is everyone around you losing weight on some new and guaranteed weight loss diet but you are not? 

    Are you cutting calories like crazy only to see the needle on the bathroom scales stubbornly refusing to move to the left or worse still, moving depressingly to the right? 

    You are not alone. 

    Research reveals that for every 10 people that launch into the latest weight loss diet with gusto, only two or three shed those unwanted pounds of flesh within the promised timescale and keep them off.

    Depressing? Yes! Inevitable? Not so fast.

    Fiona Kirk, nutritionist and author of the new Diet Secrets Uncovered series of ten books, believes that permanent weight loss is all about acknowledging that our nutritional needs change, often quite dramatically, throughout our lives dependent on our age, our lifestyle, our health status and our level of fitness.

    Ms Kirk says: 'A weight loss diet that works for a single woman in her 20s is unlikely to reap the same results when she is in her 40s and struggling through the early stages of menopause. 

    'A diet that is going to encourage post pregnancy weight loss is never going to suit a teenager who wants to stay strong and healthy whilst shedding a few pounds and a diet that sees results for regular exercisers who want to shed a bit of fat around the middle is a million air miles away from the weight loss diet that a stressed executive who regularly jets around the globe should consider.

    'With a bit of focus, most people can successfully lose weight but we have to take quite a number of things into consideration before we leap into the unknown!

    She added: 'In just two weeks, you can make some positive changes to your eating, exercise and supplement habits and see some very pleasing weight loss results when you embark on a diet that is tailored to you. 

    'If you want to see results, you have to consider what best suits you. Don't fret about the diet that your co-workers or friends are following, this is about you. 

    'Follow my guidelines for a month and look forward to losing up to a stone, feeling great and gorging on delicious and nourishing foods rather than reduced rations and grazing on unappetising titbits.'

    Here, she reveals the secrets to diet success...

    Ms Kirk says menopausal women need to eat more fats to create hormones at a time when they are being disrupted. She suggests eating oily fish like salmon a regular habit


    If ever there was a time in a woman's life where she wants to sob into her cornflakes with frustration over fluctuating weight issues, it is before, during and after the menopause. 

    Some of the lucky ones sail through the whole thing without too much turmoil but most of us face all manner of physiological and emotional disruptions and to make matters worse, no two days are ever the same.

    It is little wonder that the menopause merits the change of life label as change is what we have to address.

    Our hormones are changing their behaviour so we have to change our behaviour - and our diet. 

    We have to convince the body that all is well and whilst it prefers to store fat to meet the hormonal havoc head on, there is a great deal we can do nutritionally to manage the stress, thwart invasive mood swings and prevent weight gain.


    Eat More Fats. Hormonal disruption starts to occur in the premenopaual years, can last right through menopause and it doesn't stop there but to keep hormones happy, you need fat in your diet. 

    Make oily fish a regular dietary habit, snack on seeds or add their oils and butters to your meals and snacks and consider supplementing with Omega 3 fats.

    Go easy on grains. Yes, unrefined grains offer fibre, vitamins and minerals but they are still a rich source of sugar when broken down into their component parts after digestion and you don't need many of them in a day unless you exercise a lot. 

    Menopausal women should go easy on unrefined grains like pasta and rice, as they are a rich source of sugar when broken down and most people don't need them unless they exercise a lot

    Include them in your breakfast and/or lunch but cut back or exclude them in the evening and if you struggle without bread, opt for womens' breads made from sprouted grains (Ezekiel etc) which are rich in not only vitamins, minerals and natural fibre but are also a good source of protein which helps to keep insulin spikes at bay.

    Feed your thyroid. Your thyroid gland can become sluggish pre, during and post menopause and may need a bit of help to stay healthy. 

    Iodine is the thyroid's best friend when it comes to encouraging the action of the thyroid hormones which play a major role in a healthy metabolic rate which encourages weight loss so you will be doing it and yourself a big favour if you get the sea vegatable habit. 

    Sushi and sashimi provide good sources, a tablespoon of spirulina in a smoothie provides a boost and you can buy dried sea vegetable flakes in jars which make a great alternative to table salt to add to meals and snacks.

    Sushi and sashimi are good sources of iodine, which feeds the thyroid. The thyroid can become sluggish before, during and after the menopause.


    Gaining weight when you are at a desk for endless hours is easy, losing it is not. 

    We were born to move and whilst just breathing or shifting a computer mouse around burns calories, they won't compensate for the number we consume in a day. 

    Sad but true. Studies reveal that desk-bound jobs are amongst the worst when it comes to packing on the pounds no matter how dedicated we may be to lowering the calorie content of our meals and snacks. 

    What is important is the nutritional content of the meals and snacks rather than the number of calories.

    To keep your metabolism firing while you are sedentary depends on a diet that keeps it nourished and that means eating more fats than you are probably used to consuming and a whole lot less starchy carbohydrates than you might imagine.

    Office workers should limit starches like bread, pasta, rice and other grains. Instead, eat carbohydrates from vegetables and limit starches to one or two a day.


    Limit Starch. Carbohydrates should always feature in a healthy meal or snack but the starchy ones (bread, pasta, rice and other grains) need to be carefully monitored as they can all too quickly upset blood glucose levels, prompting weight gain when we are sedentary for many hours. Get the bulk of your carbohydrates from vegetables and limit your starches to one or two meals or snacks per day.

    Plan Ahead. Not always possible dependent on how busy your day is but a lunchbox filled to the max with delicious and nourishing goodies beats the sandwich and crisps option from the local fast food outlet hands down, keeps hunger at bay for hours and greatly reduces the chance of a mid afternoon energy dip.

    Plan a head in order to create a lunchbox of nourishing foods rather than sugary snacks

    Avoid Cravings. It's all too easy to reach for a sugary snack when you are at the desk and need a little something to keep you focused and energised for a while but the resulting surge of sugar in the bloodstream merely encourages a greater need for more all too soon. 

    Make your snacks protein-rich (a couple of rye crackers with nut butter, a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds or a small carton of natural yoghurt with berries and seeds) and keep the sugar monster at bay. You may also wish to consider a supplement that helps to blunt cravings.


    What you eat when you are with others probably has an impact on your food decisions but few see what you eat when you are home alone. 

    Perhaps you reason that the tub of ice cream, the large bag of Kettle Chips or the takeaway pizza occasionally hoovered down whilst relaxing in the evening is justified because you work long hours, you are over-stressed and often, way too tired to cobble together a healthy meal. 

    But you know this kind of behaviour isn't waistline-friendly and when it gets a grip, you neither like what you see in the mirror nor on the bathroom scales.

    Shopping and cooking for one can be arduous and it is all too easy to continually snack rather than prepare and sit down to a meal but this discipline can have a huge impact on how our appetite hormones respond - they will thank you for a good feed but continue to nag at you if they don't get one.


    Consider Two Meals a Day. Many singles, both male and female find the habit of having two really good meals a day and leaving around five hours between each works well for waistline management.

    A proper lunch, such as a hearty bowl of soup and a mixed salad with plenty of protein, keeps hunger at bay for hours and prevents snacking.

    A filling breakfast rich in protein and good fats (eg ham and eggs or porridge with fruit and seeds plus a nourishing vegetable smoothie) provides plenty of energy to get you through the morning. 

    A proper lunch (eg a hearty bowl of soup and a mixed salad with plenty of protein) where you take time to sit down, get the cutlery out and savour every bite keeps hunger at bay for hours and unless you have a physically-demanding evening ahead, a light meal or snack in the evening won't see you heading to bed feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

    Little and Often? If you find regular small meals and snacks work better for you, focus on keeping them small and ensure that each one is light on grains and rich in protein, fats and vegetables or fruits. 

    A small tub of hummus and a selection of raw vegetable sticks or a 2 egg omelette with a selection of steamed greens will fill you up and keep the metabolic fire burning until your next meal/snack, a blueberry muffin and a caramel latte won't and will do little other than please the palate for a short time.

    Head to the Discounted Shelf. When time is tight or you are tired and have to opt for a ready meal, make a beeline for the discount shelf. 

    Good quality ready meals that have been prepared with care are light or devoid of preservatives, meaning they have a short shelf life. And remember, the shorter the list of ingredients, the more natural the product and the better it will be for both your health and your waistline.


    One of the biggest frustrations many recreational fitness enthusiasts have to deal with is that despite hours dedicated to exercise and training, some still struggle to reach their desired body fat percentage and cart excess flab either around their middles or in other areas of the body that makes getting the lean look they desire a battle.

    Could you be nutritionally deficient or could your diet be working against you?

    Regular and strenuous exercise requires attention to detail on the nutritional front. 

    Fitness enthusiasts should avoid sport-focused products like energy drinks as they are full of sugar.

    Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

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