Remember a few posts ago how I went on about words I don’t like- well DIET is one of them. Even though the origin of the word diet indicates that of a lifestyle… the term diet now more or less refers to a quick fix that is annoyingly restrictive. Results will be seen, weight will be lost, then weight will be gained.
Obviously if there was no desire for individuals to lose weight my job might be threatened…. However there is a way to go about losing weight, maintaining that loss… and it’s by making changes that you legitimately think you can continue with for an indefinite amount of time.
So here is the dumb-dumb’s guide to not getting sucked into a fad diet- by asking yourself the following questions?
1.) “Do I need to buy a book to “follow” this diet?”
-This is red flag numero uno. If it is so complicated and/or restrictive that you need a book to tell you when to eat what and eat “y” with “z” but not after you have eaten “w”, but only eat “x” after the waxing moon….. I mean really.
2.) “What is this diet NOT allowing me to have?”
-Is this a diet that is restricting items for an indefinite period? Calories? Carbs? Protein? Gluten? Dairy? Ok. So everyone has definite requirements and needs. However uber restrictive caloric diets (less than 1000 calories) is super unrealistic, and not safe- especially if you’re exercising.
-Your body is smarter than you. Remember this it will do you well. If you try one of the diets that restricts an entire food group (Atkins, Dukan) your body will ultimately out smart you and make you think about sweet dreamy carbs all the time, you crave them, they will be in your every thought. Eventually you will destroy some carbs…. and feel gross. This is a legitimate physiologic response as carbohydrates are digested down to glucose which is a significant fuel source for our bodies. I digress– your body is smarter than you. It’s better to just make more healthful carb choices and use moderation (fruits, low/lower fat dairy like milk and yogurt, whole grains, beans, and nuts, sweet potatoes and peas. As opposed to stuffing your self with the refined carbs (sweets, white breads/rice, and highly processed carbs like chips, cookies etc).
-Gluten? So this is semi-controversial- as is dairy. You legitimately do not need to eliminate this foods unless you have a milk protein allergy (different than lactose intolerance), or celiac disease, OR find that you are very sensitive to these foods. I do know people who have successfully done elimination diets and have found themselves to feel much better when they significantly reduce or have eliminated the gluten from their diets, and increase their intake of non-gluten grains, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. Sometimes sensitivities exist but do not “show up on tests” and people find that will eliminating certain things from their diet and/or include more healthy items they generally feel better (it’s hard to tell which is the chicken or the egg here).
3.) Is this safe/healthy?
-Best example ever is the Physician offering “nutrition support” as a diet for brides in Florida. Women who wanted to lose weight saw this physician he caluculated a restricted amount of calories for them and basically hooked em on up to an Nasogastric tube and formula. If you’re still confused this falls in the category of NOT safe and NOT healthy.
-Same thing with restriciting foods groups, and calories. You will ultimately crave the foods you are restricting, and may even develop vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies depending on what you are being told to restrict
4.) Is this a good fit for me?
-Not every weight management program, or food choices, or even surgical interventions are right for all people. Some people need a little guidance with using portion sizes and reading food labels and they soak that education like a sponge, and apply it and go on to live well. Some people are not appropriate for weight management programs, while other are not appropriate for procedures like lap-band or gastric bypass, while some may be.
-The best bet is discussing these choices with an RD, and your healthcare team (PCP, Specialty Physicians such as Endocrinologists) on what your options are. Remember if you have put on a significant amount of weight- think about how long it took- and plan for a similar amount of time or longer for the weight to come off. Fast weight loss is typically successful but not permanent weight loss.
5.) Can I splurge or dine out, without being condemned from the pages of a book?
-Does this “diet plan” allow you to splurge or treat yourself? If not do you really think you will stick with it??
In closing just work towards that goal of “living well” get your exercise, enjoy your food, but not in excessive amounts, try to not drink your calories, and treat yourself from time to time.