An estimated 45 million Americans try a new diet every year. Some of the most popular “fad” diets may be one a friend or family member has recommended to you before: Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Whole 30, Paleo, Zone, The Mediterranean Diet, etc. These diets attempt to convince people that they hold the secret to efficient weight loss and better health. In fact, they have been quite successful in their pitch. Weight loss methods have become a 66 billion dollar industry in America. Although we all know someone, maybe even ourselves, who has experienced amazing results with one of these diets, a majority of us have never actually stuck with one of them. About 95 percent of the 45 million people who start a diet will never follow through it. So, before you decide to jump into the next trendy diet and risk becoming another statistic, check out our recommendations on why you may want to look elsewhere for your nutritional advice.
Dieting, done right.
Fad diets should rarely be your first step towards a healthier lifestyle because they fail to meet people where they are. Every person starts his or her weight loss journey in different places. For example, Susy could be eating fast food every meal because she is a working mom. Joe, on the other hand, exercises regularly but has a sweet tooth that causes him to binge on sugary foods every weekend. Both individuals need drastically different nutrition plans. Unfortunately, the weight loss industry will try to tell Susy that because she is so busy, she ought to try Intermittent Fasting, and because Joe is addicted to carbs, Keto is the answer to his problems. Susy and Joe may lose some weight, but neither approach is sustainable for them.
Finding the right plan…
What Susy and Joe both need is a customized plan that will help them implement small, incremental steps to not only a better diet, but also a lifestyle change. Intermittent Fasting does nothing for Susy’s habitual stops at a drive thru. It just tells her that it is ok to sustain her eating habits as long as she limits them to a certain timeframe. Joe would most likely struggle with his new Keto diet as well. It is a huge leap for an individual lacking self-control to go from evening sugar binges to ketosis. A better plan for someone like Susy and Joe would like the following:
Month 1: Limit treats to one serving and 2-3 days per week.
Month 2: Limit treats to one serving and once a week.
Month 3: Begin replacing starchy carbs in meals with proteins, vegetables and fats.
Month 1: Pack a sandwich for lunch each day.
Month 2: Change the sandwich to a wrap.
Month 3: Change the wrap to chicken or turkey and vegetables.
Month 4: Start changing breakfast selection.
Apparent in both plans is the slower, gradual changes that they make to Susy and Joe’s diet. These may not bring the fast results that fad diets promise, but they are much more likely to bring long lasting ones. While not always true in every area of life, “slow and steady” certainly wins the race in dieting.
The idea of progressive dieting should be applied to exercise as well. Too many people jump headfirst into a trendy, new workout regime that promises quick results but leaves them sore for days and unmotivated to continue. In fact, the fitness industry in general is filled with solutions that sell shortcuts to better health. Rather than be discouraged with an overabundance of information, seek out a local fitness coach who will personalize your needs in a way that prioritizes your long terms success. You cannot fast track fitness. Just ask the 95 percent of Americans that fail at it every year.