This may be controversial to some – but Diets Don’t Work! Think about it – the diet industry is enormous – if diets worked there would be no need for them.
Mix in with that the myriad of experts talking about how vegan is healthiest, or keto, or fasting and it can all get overwhelming and confusing.
The modern lifestyle is not set up for optimal health, we have to choose it. And it’s hard to know who to listen to or where to start!
Many of my clients first come to me to help them lose weight. They have been trying for years, and nothing has worked.
What they are missing is, often diet and weight are about so much more than the food we eat. Comfort eating, for instance, is part of ‘emotional eating’ where we reach for food to suppress or cope with emotions. What fad or crash diets do is add to that by creating a restrictive, controlling relationship with food.
The way I work is to start a conversation with my clients about food and lifestyle and help them look at things differently.
Why I do not believe in diets
Diets don’t work. The restrictive or over complicated nature of them means that you may have some success in the beginning, but you will quickly get bored, find it difficult, or relapse.
Instead, I believe in eating a healthy, balanced diet along with a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent disease and get optimal health.
And guess what? When you come from that point of view, it’s far more empowering and weight loss is an inevitable part. When you are healthy and active, you will have an abundance of energy.
Reasons to avoid fad diets:
1 – Diets mess up your metabolism
Yoyo dieting messes up your metabolism, and many ‘fad’ diets are restrictive and deplete the body of vital nutrients.
Most women make the mistake of thinking that by eating very little they will lose weight quicker and, therefore, become obsessed with counting calories.
When the body goes into starvation mode due to lack of calorie intake, it will use up muscle and lean tissue, thus resulting in muscle tone loss.
You need to be eating every three to four hours to speed up your metabolism. By starving your body, you are actually slowing down your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight in the long term.
A balanced, healthy diet comprises three main meals and two snacks a day.
2 – Diets are too restrictive
Most fad diets eliminate certain food groups, commonly carbohydrates.
They can be very restrictive, leading you to feeling deprived. The problem then is you will be even more aware of what you cannot eat and if you feel too restricted, you will crave all the wrong foods, leading to a massive binge.
3 – Diets can be harmful
The Atkins diet was very fashionable back in the late 1990s. It was a low-carb, high-fat diet, which was hailed to be a great way to lose weight.
The problem was, a diet that is too high in animal protein and fats like the Atkins diet can cause an enormous strain on the kidneys, leading to kidney stones, gout, and other problems.
Eating a diet very high in saturated fats like meats can also lead to heart disease.
4 – Diets can cause nutrient deficiencies
A balanced diet with all the right nutrients is essential for staying healthy. This includes carbohydrates, proteins and good fats.
A restrictive diet will leave you feeling tired and deprived.
What a balanced diet looks like
Carbohydrates are absolutely necessary for energy and endurance. You need carbohydrates for physical activity.
Most women look at carbs horrified and underestimate their importance in a healthy diet. I am not referring to refined sugars such as:
- White bread
- White pasta
- Processed foods
All of these items have zero nutritional value. They supply that quick burst of energy by raising your blood sugar levels, followed by a quick dip in energy.
It’s complex carbohydrates you need to fuel your body. Complex carbohydrates are slow releasing and do not raise blood sugar levels, thus resulting in energy for longer periods of time.
Excellent sources of complex carbs include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Stone-ground wholemeal breads
Protein is important for muscle tone, repair, and healing. Excellent sources of protein include:
- Organic lean meats
- Eggs and quinoa.
Another is the super food spirulina, which is a blue-green algae rich in protein, iron and B12.
Healthy fats (good omega-3 fats), known as essential fatty acids, act as an anti-inflammatory by protecting your joints, ligaments and tendons. They are also good for brain function, cardiovascular health, endurance and stamina.
Good healthy sources include:
- Wild salmon
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
You want to add to all of that at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. Go for the rainbow on the plate, eating a variety of types and colour.
Stay hydrated and aim to drink two litres of water every day.
Exercise as a part of a healthy diet
Incorporate movement and exercise into your life. You want to be getting in 10,000 steps a day, with some of that raising your heart rate, and it’s important to get up from your desk and move every hour.
Start there and you’ll notice that you look and feel leaner, and have more energy and vitality.
Diets Don’t Work. Healthy Eating Does.
I tell no one to cut out all the treats you like. Have that hot chocolate, burger or a few glasses of wine if you want to. The key is not to make those things your main diet.
The more you focus on getting all the correct nutrients into your diet with good hydration and exercise, the less you will want to binge on cakes and chips.
I find as the people I work with feel and look better, their choices become healthier.
I really hope this blog has helped you to understand the importance of a healthy balanced way of eating that a fad diet lacks.
You need a healthy eating plan that incorporates all the food groups. If you want to know more about a balanced, healthy diet, I have many blogs you can read here on my website.
You can also purchase my meal planner or journal to help you keep consistent.
If you would like a bespoke healthy nutritional plan just for you, then you can also purchase my initial consultation.