You are at a 40th Birthday Party. You approach the food table and scan your options. You choose a few stalks of celery with hummus, two devilled eggs, a bowlful of salad, some chicken skewers…and you wonder if that’s enough to satisfy the raging beast screaming from your belly.
You could stop there, knowing full-well that you will be satisfied, or you could go hog-wild and add some potato salad, cheese puffs, cookies, cake and cream…but your decision is halted by some interesting conversion at the end of the table.
“Yes! You won’t believe how easy it is to drop eight pounds in a week,” says a plump woman as she shovels potato salad into her already-full mouth.
“And you eat nothing but potatoes?” Asks another woman.
The group surrounding the two looks on in amazement. One asks, “Can you send me the link? I need to get into a dress for a reunion next week. And I love potatoes.”
“Certainly,” says the woman as she crams in a third handful of potato crisps. “Just prepare yourself. You can’t eat any sugar.”
This scenario, although it sounds somewhat humorous, is quite common. Many people would rather take diet advice from an overweight friend than from an expert. The tendency is to focus on short-term goals without concern for long-term health and wellbeing. And therefore, any efforts will give you only temporary results.
But why? Why are we ignoring the truth? Why are we passing over what really works in favour of what will only work briefly…and not well, at that?
I would venture to guess that we prefer the easy route, a quick and exciting, unbelievable way, something new —when in reality, what really works can become a way of life that we choose over all else. If only we get started.
Fad diets pass quickly, and so do their results. I want you to choose YOUR diet, not A diet. Allow me to explain the difference:
YOUR Diet is one that sustains you throughout your life. It’s what you do every day, and is based upon what humans NEED to survive and thrive.
A Diet is something that someone prescribes for short-term weight loss without concern for health implications. It is not maintainable or manageable for any significant period of time.
You’ll notice that when biologists talk about other species, they refer to their diets. The animals eat what’s best for them…and they crave those things. They all eat the same foods. There are no exceptions for individuals (barring health concerns).
This is how humans should eat, too. There is research available to all of us about what we should eat for optimum health, weight, endurance, etc. And yet, many people choose to ignore it in favour of fad diets.
Let’s consider for a few moments what fad diets are doing to our bodies and minds:
• Every fad diet (i.e. one that includes drastic eating measures) results in weight gain after the dieter abandons the unsustainable eating regimen. They simply are not designed to be carried out for a lifetime. A lifestyle diet (YOUR diet), on the other hand, is built around meeting human needs, every day for a lifetime.
• Fad dieting is expensive. Loads of money is spent as people bank on the promise of quick and easy weight loss, when they actually gain that weight (and more) back.
• Fad diets are harmful to human health. They do not prescribe healthful balances of protein, carbs, and [good] fat…and are not concerned with adequate consumption of vitamins and minerals.
Fad diets do not account for psychological problems that could be leading to over-eating. Instead, they act as temporary bandages that end up exacerbating the problems in the end.
• Fad diets come with a “make it through day” mentality built in. They take all the enjoyment out of eating, because every day there is abstinence from the foods we have taught our brains to love. If we teach our brains to enjoy and appreciate a balanced diet, that’s what we will crave (whilst maintaining a healthy weight).
• Fad dieting leads to eating disorders, because it warps our relationships with food. It teaches us that certain foods are bad (which actually encourages guilty binging), whilst other [unhealthful] foods may be indulged upon.
• Fad diets will never teach us to eat the right way. Moreover, they encourage our children to pick up bad eating habits because our kids imitate what we do.
• Fad diets often do not incorporate daily exercise, which is essential for weight loss, health and longevity.
Quick-fix diets are not the answer. Not only are they ineffective, they can be detrimental to your health.
There is a plethora of solid lifestyle (YOUR) diet advice available to us, and yet, we largely choose to ignore it.
Will today be the day that you take the advice that works? Or are you still having trouble accepting those two little words, lifestyle change? I understand just how scary the idea of making permanent change can be—and maybe that’s why fad diets and temporary changes have felt so right to you up until this point. You can become empowered and end this cycle, in a manageable way that you will come to LOVE.