I’m a fan of four letter words, but diet happens to be a four letter word I just can’t get behind.
Because diets don’t work.
In fact, they usually only end up making things worse.
The National Institute of Health estimates that dieters can expect to regain two-thirds of lost pounds within a year of completing their diet plan. These same dieters can expect to regain all of their weight, and possibly more, within 5 years.
How much does that suck?
Millions of people are restricting calories, fighting a daily battle with their willpower, depriving themselves of satisfaction and essentially hating life … not to mention shelling out for a whole new wardrobe … only to end up being fatter than they were before.
Now that’s what I call getting swindled and pimped by the diet industry.
Then do you know what most of these yo-yo dieters do next? They kick the carb-phobic Atkins Diet to the curb only to embrace the severely calorie restrictive HCG Diet. When that proves impossible, they try eating like cavemen. Then, just to spite the caveman and his love of fire, they swear off all cooked foods. Suddenly it’s go raw or go home. And somewhere along the way they decide to just forget about food and live off of some f’d up spicy lemonade concoction.
Sounds familiar, right?
That’s because people everywhere (yup, I’m looking at you) jump on the latest, greatest new fad diet over and over again, then beat themselves up for not being able to stick to a plan that’s full of more holes than Captain Hook’s pantyhose. (Oh, c’mon, you know he had some.)
If you want to lose weight, stop dieting.
Don’t listen to half-baked theories and dipshitty dieting tips. (Sheesh, next thing you know you’ll believe that drinking Asparagus Scented Urine is actually good for you.) Stop trying for the quick fix. There’s a much better way to shed those unwanted pounds:
Myth # 1: Fat Makes You Fat
Eating fat makes you fat. Proponents of this myth are quick to point out that fat has nine calories per gram, whereas carbs and protein have only four calories per gram.
Truth: Fat can be your one of your besties. The right kind of fat actually helps you feel satiated so you end up eating less. It also helps your body absorb important vitamins and nutrients.
The Better Way: Show healthy fat some love. Stick to proper portions of good-for-you fats found in foods like nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, olives, and low-fat dairy. Limit saturated fats found in foods like butter, high-fat dairy and red meat, while avoiding unhealthy trans fats often found in highly processed foods.
Myth #2: Carbs are Evil
When you eat carbs, your body converts them into sugars and stores them as fat.
Truth: Your body needs all three macronutrients to thrive: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which are essential parts of a healthy diet. Cutting them out is just dumb. While you may end up losing weight initially if you eliminate all carbs, the moment you begin eating them again you’ll quickly gain it all back. The problem is that people live off of highly processed and refined carbs, often making them the foundation of all their snacks and meals.
The Better Way: Get a grip on the carb-aphobia. It’s healthy to eat moderate amounts of high quality carbs such as low glycemic fruits, low starch veggies and whole grains like quinoa and oats. These foods keep you feeling full longer, thanks to all that fiber, and help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Don’t go overboard with whole grains. They shouldn’t always be the center of your meal, but, rather, an accompaniment. Play around with time of day, too. If you find yourself still struggling to lose weight, or plateauing, try to eat your servings of whole grain carbs earlier in the day.
Myth #3: If You’re Not Counting Calories, It Won’t Add Up
It’s all about calories in versus calories out. All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume and you’ll lose weight.
Truth: If a calorie was just a calorie then it wouldn’t matter whether you ate 400 calories of cookies for dinner or 400 calories of brown rice and kale. Yet it does matter. A lot. It’s not about calories, it’s about the quality. As long as your diet primarily consists of reasonable portions of natural whole foods, the calorie tally should be almost irrelevant.
The Better Way: Counting calories is lame. But keeping a basic food journal increases the accountability factor and helps you get real about what you’re consuming. During meals and snacks, eat fresh fruits. veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts and seeds. And don’t forget to exercise regularly; we all need to given that most of us spend our days sitting and our nights making sweet love to the couch.
Myth #4: Dessert is the Devil
If you’re trying to lose weight you need to cut out all sugar all the time.
Truth: Your willpower may be strong but it is not infinite. Eventually you will lose the battle. Allowing yourself to indulge every so often is healthy and can help you stay focused long term.
The Better Way: Depriving yourself sweet goodness will only make you want it more. Scarfing piles of sugar every day isn’t going to help you lose weight. But if you eat balanced, whole foods most of the time, you don’t have to give dessert up entirely. Find a compromise that works for you. Try allowing yourself one larger indulgence per week or one smaller indulgence per day to help curb cravings and prevent a total binge. It’s amazing how much pleasure you can get from a frozen banana, or other high quality, natural ingredients like dates and dark chocolate.
There’s a reason fad dieter sounds an awful lot like fat dieter.
Because no matter how much weight you lose with sweeping changes and cold turkey deprivation, it doesn’t last. Ditch that mentality. If you need to trim down, set reasonable goals and stay active to keep unwanted pounds from coming back.