“There is no diet that will do what healthy eating does.”
Diet has become a four-letter word. But it isn’t. Whenever we talk about dieting, everyone thinks we are starving.
“Diet is not starvation. It is a change in lifestyle.”
A diet has to achieve much more than just weight loss. Weight and fat loss are just one of the many other wonderful side effects of changing your lifestyle. If the primary goal of your diet is to just lose weight, you are setting yourself up for failure even before you go on it.
Have you seen people around you going to fat camps, starving for 10-15 days and coming back as thin as ever? When they come back home, they become healthy (fat for others) again. Keeping the discipline of boot camp in your day to day life is next to impossible.
Our main aim should be to go on a diet which we can follow our entire life. Am sure you cannot survive drinking cabbage soup and eating salads for your every meal your entire life. We need to get practical and realistic.
“Dieting is not about ‘going on’ a diet”
Let’s take a look at some popular diet fads I have come across my many years of struggling to lose weight. I might have stupidly believed a few of them till I became wiser.
1. The Compensation Diet – Also called The Punishment Diet:
We all overeat sometimes. So what? Eat, shut up and forget about it. Just get back to normal workout and eating pattern from next day. The body doesn’t discriminate and store last night’s calories in some special place so that when you feel guilty and do over workout or rather I would say try to kill yourself, the body doesn’t exclusively burn that.
It’s OK to overeat sometimes. You don’t need to feel guilty. You are human and it is natural to get involved in overeating once in a while.
2. The Detox Diet:
The detox diet is a sham. Detox diet lowers your metabolic rate. So when you get back to your normal diet, the one you were eating before detox, all fat starts creeping. As your metabolic rate is lower than before, there is a high possibility that you might increase weight faster and more than what it was before you started with your detox diet.
Because you again fail to remain thin, you lose confidence and start eating comfort food which increases your weight further. I should know about this as I myself have gone through this torturous process and never been the wiser. The point is to never regain the weight you have lost and trust me, a detox diet is not the solution.
A true detox would be to eliminate all toxic food we eat from our system like junk food, alcohol etc and start eating a healthy balanced diet without drastically cutting any nutrients from our food.
3. Exercise and Dieting are mutually exclusive:
I had once followed a strict diet regime where I was put on a low cal diet. I did not work out or even walk for an hour a day. Still, I managed to lose nearly 10 kg and I was extremely satisfied with my success. But as soon as I came back to my normal diet, I put on more weight than before. Also, I felt very lazy all the time.
When we eat healthily and exercise regularly, our body fat will come down but weight might not be affected much. As the muscle weight increases when we properly do strength and cardio training along with a healthy diet. Any programme which discourages you from exercising is worthless. So do not believe what your weighing scale says, always check for the inches you have lost because your hips don’t lie but weighing scale does.
Please make a note that hitting the gym regularly does not give you a free pass to eat high-calorie food. I have many female friends in the gym who complain how exercise is not helping them be in shape. When I ask them about their diet, they seem to be hogging as they say after the workout they feel like eating more.
Remember exercise and diet need to be done simultaneously. One will not work without the help of others. Both are equally important to remain healthy.
4. The same diet may not work for all:
Doing random things with food and dieting might backfire. It will either cause serious health issues by nutrition deprivation or lower your metabolism which in long term will make you gain more weight than before. So never-ever try a diet which your friend has followed and lost weight. No two bodies are similar. It may have worked for them (for the time being) but it may not work for you. You need to consult a dietician as diet needs to be personalized, so does exercise. But make sure you don’t land up with a nutritionist who asks you to starve (most of them do). They need to be knowledgeable and understand your body before they put you on any diet plan.
5. If its herbal it is good:
Ayurveda is a very complex sign. Nowadays we find a lot of people claiming to be qualified but in reality, they might have had a 3-month course in south India or Thailand. This doesn’t make them qualified practitioner. Finding a genuinely qualified Ayurvedic doctor is challenging even in India; if you live elsewhere it is next to impossible.
All Ayurvedic supplements are not safe as it changes your hormonal balance. So make sure to ask all your questions before you decide to take any external supplement. Make sure the person you are consulting is really qualified to make such decisions for you.
6. Sugar-Free and Low-Fat alternatives are good:
Low-fat snacks sold by companies are not really good for our health. The manufacturer misleads us by adding the word LOW FAT or BAKED and lure us into buying them for a higher price. Let me be honest, we dieters desperately miss our junk food and always want to replace it with something healthy. In this attempt, we unknowingly get trapped into a dangerous loophole. Don’t understand how? Let me explain it to you in detail.
Have you seen the people who eat such alternatives? Notice that all of them are usually fat. In an attempt to lose weight, they start buying all these alternatives and assume it is safe to eat this so they have absolutely no limitation on how much they are consuming these rubbish products. I would say it is safer to eat the full-fat version of these junk food because you will at least be conscious that these are harmful and hence limit you consumption quantity.
So, should you not eat them at all? Obviously, you can but you must first understand what it can do to your body. Counting your daily calorie intake is a waste of time as there are many low-calorie foods out there which do no good to your body and you will also find lots of high calories healthy nutritious food. You need to stop counting calories and start calculating nutrients.
The junk which claims to be low calories or low sugar is as harmful as the full fat, full sugar version. The difference in calories or fat is not much but the worst part is that many use trans fat to get the right food texture. Trans fat stays longer in your system, stores faster in your body, clog your arteries and make you fatter.
What do you do if you cannot completely avoid it? Simple, have a lesser quantity of such food once in a week maybe. Any food eaten in moderation will not affect your health and also will not hamper your weight loss efforts.
7. Eliminating particular nutrient group from the diet is beneficial for weight loss:
If you have been trying to lose weight, I am sure you must have read many articles on diet plans and followed some. How many of you have tried to cut fat or carbs from your diet completely? I know I did but the result? Nothing at all, I lost weight maybe but as soon as I left the diet, I gained double of what I had lost.
Most of the diets we find on the internet suggest us to cut carbs from our daily meals. Diets like General Motors, Keto, Atkins, Paleo, etc ask us to eliminate carbohydrate from our food. We focus on weight loss but do we really know the damage it is causing to our overall health? Yes, weight and health are two completely different terms with a different meaning. It is possible for a fat person to be healthier than a slim person. Body size doesn’t determine the quality of the body.
Every nutrient out there serves different purposes to our body, hence eliminating a group completely and overeating other group and cause serious health issues. There is no such thing as a MIRACLE FOOD. and there is no fattening food as well. Everything that we eat at the right time in the right quantity is good for the body and our overall health.
Certain nutrients like carbs and fat should be omitted from our diets completely as they make us fatter and certain other food types such as fruits and salads should be consumed more to lose weight.
Tired of following diets without getting any permanent result? I found this great article about 7 Most Popular Diet Fads.
There is no such thing as going ‘on’ and ‘off’ your diet. Eating correctly is a lifelong commitment. Quick results never sustain long. Extreme diets never work on a long-term basis. Moderation in eating and the right amount of exercise is extremely necessary to kick-off the weight and to never regain it.
Dieting should not involve starving yourself, you must eat to lose weight. Along with eating right, exercise is unavoidable. You should never go on a ‘diet’ but change your ‘lifestyle’.