Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dieting Fads and Why They Don't "Work"

Let's first examine the basics of nutrition. You have 3 main energy sources: carbs, fat, and protein. Your body will always use those macronutrients in that order. Most diets require cutting out one of those macronutrients. This is a quick fix solution but not a long term healthful lifestyle.

To use one of my favorite analogies, your body needs all three to work as a team as you need a wheelbarrow, bricks, and mortar to build a brick house (carbs = wheelbarrow, protein = bricks, fat = mortar, house = healthy body). How would you get the bricks transported without a wheelbarrow? How would you get the bricks to stick together without mortar? And how can you build the house without bricks?

We all have different carb tolerance levels due to the way our bodies utilize them which also changes over time. For instance, women going through menopause often have much lower tolerance for carbs as do diabetics meaning they have to be very specific about the kinds of carbs they eat and in smaller amounts. We all need protein and fat and we need all 3 to ensure your body functions properly.

Many of us have tried some kind of extreme diet plan and know many other people that have as well. Some might venture to say, "well I lost xx lbs, it worked!" My criteria for whether or not a diet "worked" is a little different.

1) You can do ANY diet plan, be dedicated, and lose weight. But 95% of people who lose weight gain it back within 5 years. TIME is the true test of whether or not it worked.

2) Secondly, do you have an even worse relationship with food than you started? Is your day spent counting food numbers in your head? Are you scared to eat certain foods? If the answer to any of these is yes - it didn't work because you're setting yourself up for long term failure.

3) You could also be suffering from malnutrition and don't even know it. Are you always sore after you do weight training? Have you caught whatever sickness is going around and you haven't been sick in a long time? You're likely missing out important nutrients your body needs.

So what is the solution? HEALTHFUL EATING! We live in a society of quick fixes so many people have a hard time with this concept. You don't have to count numbers. You don't have to be obsessed with or scared of food. And you can feel fantastic while you're doing it!

1) Cut out the processed foods and sugars and start reading food labels. You would be surprised at how much sugar is in a lot of food you're eating.

2) Ask yourself, "where did this come from?" An apple came from a tree. Where did a Snickers bar come from?

3) Take baby steps! Slow and steady wins the race. For instance, this week start by replacing bad snacks with more healthful choices. Next week, take a look at what your meals are actually composed of.

4) It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. Make changes that you would be content in continuing for the rest of your life. And make sure these changes are offering your body all the nutrients it needs.

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