It’s all calories
Having said that, many people find it easier to cut calories by following some sort of plan. I’m all for that-would you try to get somewhere without a map? Plus, you need to figure out how to best “spend” those calories, to get the most nutrition and pleasure from them. But which plan? And why? There are plenty to choose from, and they are contradictory. There’s paleo, low carb, Atkins, vegan or vegetarian, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Mediterranean and DASH diets, just to name some of the popular ones.
Not all plans are equal
Remember the Donner party? They were following someone’s instructions, and look where that got them. Most popular eating plans will get you to lose weight. My question is, how do they transition you to maintenance, and how nutritionally sound are they?
“Eliminate these foods and you’ll lose weight”
For some reason, people love the idea of cutting out certain foods and they’ll magically lose weight. I just read this article about Tom Arnold’s weight loss, and it was teased with “He immediately cut these two foods”. However, there was a “rest of the story”:
To ensure that he was healthy for his son, he admitted to immediately dropping cake and bread from his diet. He also told the mag that he eliminated the six-egg omelet extravaganza with six turkey sausage links and oatmeal that he had been eating for breakfast as well as the extra-large meat pizza with breadsticks dipped in cheese that he had been consuming for dinner.
He had to also stop eating so much. You don’t have to eliminate bread, but eating too much of it will make you gain weight. You could eat the healthiest foods in the world, but if you eat mass quantities, you’ll still be heavy.
So what’s the plan?
There are guidelines for choosing a plan. Anything that bans basic food groups is suspect in my book. While many of these types of plans are very effective in weight loss, they fail in transition, since people just go back to eating the banned foods and gain the weight back. Unless you are a dietician, once you ban a whole food group, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
How healthy are the foods they allow? Some popular plans sell foods, and often they are chemical cocktails. I’m a big fan of weight watchers in general, but their prepackaged foods are a nightmare of chemicals and fake food. Any diet that says potato chips are ok is also a loser.
Could you stay on this diet for the rest of your life? Real diets should just be eating what you can eat all the time, just less. If the diet you are looking at isn’t the way you want to eat for the rest of your life, keep looking.
So, how about you? Are you “on a diet”? Is this the way you want to eat the rest of your life? Can you hardly wait to “get back to normal”? Let me know. Let’s start a conversation.