What they don't tell you: the unsexy truth about dieting.
It's something that has been on my mind for a while. I've spoken to many friends, clients and colleagues who at some point have pledged their allegiance to a new-found dietary habit. I've spoken to keto warriors (sorry Kev - if you know you know), vegans, Hueligans and Herbalife 'bosses'.
They all share one very big thing in common, that their way is the best way for weight-loss and generally a way of life. But they can't all be right, can they??
Let's take a look at how these fads take shape:
You see a guy with a great set of abs and even better teeth telling you how he struggled to get into shape before subscribing to a particular type of diet.
You, as someone that is new to health and fitness, instantly think "Wow, look at this guy! If it works for him, it must be the right way! Where do I sign up?!" p.s. There's usually an overpriced product being sold to you, but let's try and stay on track here.
'If it worked for him, it will work for me'
Our bodies are so wonderfully unique, that this way of thinking won't serve you well.
You are your own best researcher when it comes to what will work best for you and your goals.
This is an exploratory process I encourage all my clients to undertake with their diet. Often, I find moderation with a few twists here and there work best. Extreme dieting that cuts out entire food groups entirely seldom works.
You shouldn't be made to feel like a failure because you did something your body wasn't designed to do. Be educated and empowered to make the right choices.
For example, you could change up your diet and see how those changes affect things like sleep, energy levels, concentration, gym performance etc and then decide whether it's working for you. These are the things that give you a greater quality of life, so prioritise them.
Mechanism vs Method
This is something everyone needs to understand. Our bodies gain and lose weight through energy balance. This means that if we burn off more than we consume, we lose weight. And if the balance swings the other way, we gain it. There are many factors that influence this figure, such as height, sex, age, menopause, thyroid conditions, average movement etc.
What many diet advocates fail to explain is this mechanism of energy balance. All of the focus is on the method they use, which could be anything. There have even been studies conducted on people eating really unhealthy food and still losing weight (ref), I wouldn't recommend this, but it illustrates a point that can't be ignored. A CALORIE DEFICIT IS REQUIRED FOR WEIGHT LOSS.
However you get that deficit and maintain it is great, it doesn't matter. You should speak fondly of it, and how it worked... FOR YOU. You shouldn't tell people this is the new hack to weight loss and the only way.
Understand the difference between the mechanism (calorie deficit) and the method (keto, vegan, shakes etc).
The people leading dieting groups are not educated and are biased
This is a massive problem. I went through 3 years of training, 100s of hours of clinical practice, many exams and I have to be accredited by governing bodies - and there are still things I'm not allowed to do!
I'm not saying that nutritionists and dieticians always give great advice, but I am saying that the right kind of education is important. The kind of education that gets given to people to sell a particular product... isn't always entirely balanced. You need to know that if someone can't explain the mechanism behind the method, they are hiding something from you to get you to sing off the same hymn sheet as them. Educate yourself and make an informed choice. If they can't answer your questions, that is a big red flag. Run for the hills and save your hard-earned cash.
I hope this was helpful - MiLife is all about balance and education. I always want to empower my clients to make the best-informed choices for them. There is no right way, only your way.
Happy dieting to all!