I have a fondness & borderline obsession with eating Mediterranean food. It’s so delicious, I couldn’t help asking myself what is the Mediterranean Diet plan about exactly? I decided to dig in and learn as much as I could, and I’m going to share all the information about that diet in this article with you.
The very first info I found, from simply doing a quick Google search, gave me enough details to understand pretty quickly that it’s not a restrictive diet, compared to Keto for instance. In fact, they don’t even compare. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet would be better labeled “The Mediterranean Lifestyle Diet”, because it’s not so much a diet plan, as it is a wholesome and nutritious way to eat which promotes an overall healthy lifestyle.
It was a relief to learn that it’s not a restrictive diet plan because those are no fun, and I never hit any fitness goals when I lived that kind of life in the past. I finally got into shape when I started eating what I wanted to eat, like Mediterranean food, specifically Chicken Shawarma dinners, sandwiches, hummus, pitas, salads, and so much more. No, it’s not the ONLY food I eat. I’m just sayin’, I love it.
But, again, what is the Mediterranean Diet Plan about and will it help you lose weight and hit your fitness goals? Let’s get to all the details below.
What Foods Do You Eat On The Mediterranean Diet?
The beauty of this diet, for me anyway, is that the foods I’d eat if I were on it would be a lot of the same foods I already love to eat anyway. The diet is rich in veggies, fruits, nuts, herbs, beans, and whole grain foods. Also important to the diet are chicken, dairy, eggs, and seafood. Red meat can also be consumed, but it’s suggested to be eaten rarely.
So, what foods are allowed on a Mediterranean diet? Here’s list in order of importance:
- whole grains
- olive oil
- nuts & seeds
- herbs & spices
- red meat
What Foods Are Restricted On The Mediterranean Diet?
There really aren’t foods that are completely restricted from the diet. But because this is a wholesome heart healthy diet, the foods that you shouldn’t be consuming are mostly processed foods. This diet is not focused on weight loss but more on promoting a healthy lifestyle. However, you can still lose weight on the diet as you’ll learn how to do that below.
The Mediterranean diet became popular in the 1960s when researchers found that fewer people died of heart disease in countries such as Italy and Greece in the Mediterranean. And more studies that have been conducted demonstrated that eating a Mediterranean Diet would reduce factors of cardiovascular disease.
This Mediterranean Diet lifestyle has been labeled by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable eating plan and it’s one of the recommended eating plans by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote optimal health.
Can I Lose Weight On The Mediterranean Diet?
Yes, you can absolutely lose weight on the Mediterranean Diet. However, the information in this article up until now won’t really help you do that. That’s because even though I’ve listed various foods that are allowed on the diet, you can’t just eat all day and drop pounds.
You also can’t eat low carb foods all day and lose weight. In fact, I GAINED weight eating low carb once when I didn’t really understand the importance of calories. I was overeating tons of foods, cause I thought “if it’s low carb, you can eat all the steak you want and lose weight”. Not true.
- HERE’S HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WITH THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
If your aim is to drop pounds, while also eating foods from the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid, that’s very easy to do.
That page will teach you exactly how to eat at a calorie deficit, which is the only concept you need to fully understand if you want to lose weight. You can easily eat all the delicious foods from the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, but it’s incredibly important to eat at a calorie deficit in order to actually burn fat from your body.
The link above will teach you everything you need to know in order to calculate your personal calorie deficit, which will take you less than a minute to do. You’ll also learn the important tools you must use in order to track your calories daily, which is also very simple to do.
Once you understand the concept of eating at a calorie deficit, you can easily follow the Mediterranean Diet, and simply pick and choose the foods you want to eat from the pyramid.
How Many Calories Should You Consume A Day?
This is up to you, so it’s really important to know what your goals are.
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to maintain your weight?
- Maybe you’re looking to make weight gains?
- Are you just trying to implement a more wholesome and natural way of eating into your life?
The reason the Mediterranean diet can’t really compare to Keto or Atkins or other restrictive diets is because there aren’t specific rules set for calories you need to consume on a daily basis for you to actually lose weight.
In a way, it reminds me of Intermittent Fasting, which doesn’t tell me how many calories to consume in a day. It simply gives me a schedule of WHEN to eat.
I’d eat the same amount of calories every day whether or not I did Intermittent Fasting. Well, think of the Mediterranean Diet as the same kind of thing. The calories you choose to eat per day are up to you and based on your goals.
You’ve already learned how to lose weight from the section above, but what if you want to maintain your current weight or gain weight?
DAILY CALORIES FOR MAINTAINING CURRENT WEIGHT
If your goal is to maintain your current weight, then simply take your weight and multiply it by 15. So, here’s the calculation for someone who weighs 150 pounds.
- 150 X 15 = 2,250
This person should be eating 2,250 calories per day to maintain their current weight of 150 pounds.
DAILY CALORIES FOR GAINING WEIGHT
If you want to gain weight, then take your current weight, multiply it by 15, and then add 400 to that answer.
So, here’s the calculation for someone who weighs 150 pounds and wants to GAIN weight.
- 150 X 15 = 2,250
- 2,250 + 400 = 2,650
This 150 pound person should be eating 2,650 calories per day in order to gradually gain weight.
How Often Do You Eat On The Diet?
Since the Mediterranean Diet is more of a lifestyle and less of a “diet” by mainstream standards anyway, it’s really up to you how often you want to eat. I personally eat 3 times a day, and I use intermittent fasting to help keep my metabolism in check. However, this isn’t required.
If you’re someone who eats 5 to 6 small meals per day like I used to, that is an option as well. One of the reasons I do intermittent fasting is because it makes eating so much more enjoyable than it used to be when I was always having to prepare tiny meals all day long. But it’s not required. Just do whatever works for your lifestyle.
What’s most important is that you are getting wholesome foods and nutrients into your body that are the staples of the Mediterranean Diet.
Summary Of The Mediterranean Diet Plan
So, to summarize what the Mediterranean Diet plan is about, it’s as simple as understanding that it’s a lifestyle in which you eat wholesome and nutritious foods for all of your meals. It’s a lifestyle more than it is a diet, at least by mainstream terminology.
I just think of many diets as quick fixes for weight loss, but really the Mediterranean Diet could be implemented into your life whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight.
The focus of this lifestyle is to avoid processed and refined foods, and focus on what is wholesome and nutritious. There’s a large emphasis on fruits and vegetables, so this plan would actually be great for vegetarians and vegans. And if you love meats, you can eat chicken and fish. Red meats are also an option as long as you eat them sparingly.
Oh, and if you love wine, well, so does the Mediterranean diet. In moderation of course!
I hope this article was helpful and you got the answers you were looking for regarding the Mediterranean diet. Regardless of whether your goal is to lose weight or gain weight, there should be enough information here to get you moving in the right direction, while implementing the Mediterranean diet into your daily life.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible. I really appreciate you being here and thank you so much for reading.