Thousands of customers have come to me through the years, and one of the first things I hear is questions regarding diets. It’s usually questions about popular trends- diets that have hit the market with widespread popularity and momentum.
This trend started with the Atkins diet back in the early 2000s. Then there was the South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, and now the Paleo Diet. This does not include the spread of vegan diets, which have picked up followers in the past decade as well.
The Atkins diet was the most controversial. Here, you had people dropping mass amounts of weight in short periods of time but losing muscle at the same time. The body, restricted in calories and much needed carbs, will eventually put all that weight on and more once people got off of it, and get off of it they did as eventually the body needs to have carbs for healthy brain function. People on this diet would complain of mental fatigue, and that is why.
The loss of muscle, which is due to the calorie restriction as well, resulted in a slow down of metabolism of people who followed this diet, which is why even more weight goes back on their bodies in the long run. Muscle burns fat at rest so when you lose muscle due to these restrictive diets and crash diets, your normal resting metabolism slows down.
Today, you have a bunch of new diets that have grown in popularity. While they’re not as absurd as the Atkins diet, they’re still just as trendy and faddy. If your favorite singer or actor loses fifty pounds, gets in great shape and credits a new diet, you’ll be motivated to follow their diet as well.
Yet there’s a reason why these fad diets aren’t going to work for you in the long run. You have to ask yourself if you’re into investing in your health and body in the long run, or if you’re just going for a certain look for once in your life due to being duped into a fad diet.
If you’re going for a one time thing, the odds are you’ll put all the weight and fat you lose back on eventually because diets like these that are restricting are hard to maintain over time. To just rely on a fad diet for your overall look or health is very limiting down the road.
The simple answer to dieting has not changed. Despite many of these diets overlapping with it and containing some accurate recommendations, unlike them the solution has not changed:
- Your diet should consist of mostly vegetables, some fruits, lean meat and fish, and lots of water. All foods should be prepared without unnecessary flavor enhancing fillers like bread crumbs, salad dressings, salt, cheese, condiments (mayonnaise, ketchup), marinades, etc.
- You can have some fat in measured portions like nuts, olive oil, peanut butter, cocoa, and avocado, but in very strict moderation. Add some fat free whey protein if you want to build more muscle or if you need more in your diet.
- If you eat dairy, go with fat free versions of all kinds. If you eat eggs, primarily go with egg whites. Rid your diet of all desserts, cakes, pies, candies, snacks, and breads. A little bread is okay on occasion, but try to avoid it.
- If you really want to lean out, reduce carbs to a bear minimum, including all rices and pasta, and keep fats at a very low rate of intake while keeping protein high on these same general guidelines. Then, you can return to normal when you’re ready and get them back up. Combine this with cardio and weights five days a week.
- One day a week, if you exercise regularly reward yourself with your favorite foods. This is your reward for all your hard work in the gym, and your body and muscles will burn it right up.
While fad diets may be unsustainable in the long run, this kind of approach, which is very realistic to follow, can last a lifetime. The key is to go with natural foods, organic at best, with low fat, moderate carbs, and high protein. If you do this, you will get results, and they will last.