In my short 23 years on earth and during my constant quest for optimal health, I’ve tried the mediterranean, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, whole30, and keto diets. I’ve tracked my calories, read nutrition labels, and binged podcasts from top nutritionists to find the secret everyone else is missing out on: the perfect diet. All of this takes a lot of effort, and I’m tired of typing labels into calorie tracking apps, googling restaurants ahead of time to see if there’s anything I can have on the menu, and thinking more about what I’m supposed to be eating than enjoying what I actually am eating. I’m exhausted, aren’t you!?
Enter: not another fad diet, but a way of life, promising to simplify your healthy eating or weight-loss journey. Rania Batayneh, MPH is a nutritionist and author of the bestselling book The One One One Diet: The Simple 1:1:1 Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, based on the program she gave clients on who came to see her with seemingly “healthy” food logs that were cluttered with unnecessary foods.
Her impressive clientele success stories aren’t all there is to her — she’s also a mom, balancing a happy family and a bustling career managing her clients (did I mention she wrote a book on top of it all!?). Yes, she knows food, but she also knows about having a busy life. She knows about hectic days at the office, kids’ birthday parties, and staying healthy as a mom (she lost 53 lbs. after the birth of her son).
The One One One Diet comes from the approach that healthy eating should not only be easy to do, but it should be easy to maintain, even for the busiest of lifestyles. The best part of the lifestyle is that there is no calorie or macro counting necessary. You don’t have to count any higher than one.
Diet simply means what you are eating. Some people have a vegetarian diet and some people eat meat. Some people are gluten free. Some people are vegan. That is the nature of your diet.
What is the One One One Diet?
The concept is really as simple as it sounds: stick to one serving of protein, one serving of carbohydrates, and one serving of fat at every meal to eat a balanced diet. This helps you get healthy, and even lose weight (if that’s one of your health goals), without depriving yourself or giving up the foods you love. After endless diet trends and macro trackers, a plan that simple and sustainable seems too good to be true, doesn’t it?
The program works because your body only really needs one serving of carbs, proteins, and fats at each meal, but often we’re over serving it (like eating both beans and chicken on a burrito), or depriving it of essential nutrients (like going on a low-carb diet). Thinking of picking one of each macronutrient naturally causes you to reduce your caloric intake, making it a good option for weight loss if that’s what you’re looking for — but the reason it’s a sustainable diet is because it helps your body become the healthiest it can be, without the feeling of deprivation.
The goal (like any modern health plan) is to be mostly natural, but what makes the One One One Diet stand out amongst a sea of eating plans is that when you do eat a not-so-good-for-you food, it’s not considered “falling off the wagon” or “breaking the diet.” When you want to indulge in a birthday cake or delicious pasta, guess what, you can — just as long as you include a fat and a protein in the meal, without another carb. If you’re having a carb-heavy cocktail during a night out, eat salmon and veggies for dinner, or when you’re craving a burger, keep the fries but ask for lettuce instead of a bun. You don’t have to feel shame or regret after eating the foods you love — the guilt you feel after indulging is often worse than the effects of the food on your body.
Serving size is crucially important to the plan, whether you’re indulging or making a natural meal with whole foods, but they’re by no means restrictive serving sizes like diets of the past. Think: a tablespoon of almond butter, a cup of oats, a fist-full of pasta. When preparing your own One One One meals, follow the formula below:
One Serving of Healthy Carbs: fruit, quinoa, potatoes, legumes, whole wheat bread
One Serving of Healthy Protein: eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, fish
One Serving of Healthy Fat: almond butter, avocado, chia seeds, cheese
Free Foods: veggies (have as many as you want!)
Is the One One One Diet right for you?
Here’s my disclaimer about diets and methods of eating, once and for all: the reason there are so many different trends and eating styles out there is because different things work for different bodies, and different foods react differently for each person. If you’re interested in being your healthiest self, become your own nutritionist. Try out the eating styles you think will work for you, journal how your body feels, and do your research.
With that being said, if you’re looking for a plan to allow you to indulge and enjoy eating in a healthy way, or you’re trying to stop a cycle of yoyo dieting or binge eating, this diet might be worth looking into. If you often feel sluggish or uncomfortably full after you eat, it could be because you’re eating more than your body needs, and trying to simplify your meals might be beneficial to your energy levels and digestion.
In the end, Batayneh is not looking to add One One One to the long list of fad diets that have come and gone over the years; instead, Batayneh aims to teach women how to eat, instead of focusing on telling them what to eat.