Keto. Vegan. Paleo. Gluten-Free. Nutrisystem. Jenny Craig. The list goes on and on and on. It seems we are surrounded by different diets these days all promising to give you the leanest, best body you've ever had. The question is...do they work?
Yes and no, but mostly no.
The "yes" is because any diet will cause weight loss if it induces a caloric deficit. As any one of those diets can do that, they all have the capacity to help people lose weight. However, that weight loss is almost always short-lived because none of these diets have the component that matters the MOST for life-long weight loss and maintenance: sustainability.
These diets usually involve an extreme measure like minimizing or eliminating consumption of an entire nutrient or type of food. Sounds a little black and white, doesn't it? It is, and that's why it isn't sustainable. Let's take the most wildly popular diet right now: the Keto diet.
The Keto diet at its core is about reducing the number of carbohydrates that you consume to minimal levels. Now, there are certain aspects of reducing your carbohydrate intake * a little bit* that have positive effects on your health. More consistent energy levels, a greater feeling of satiety, a likely increase in protein intake, etc. However, drastically reducing your carb intake to the levels the Keto diet suggests is just unnecessary for losing weight.
The reason people lose weight quickly on the Keto diet is that they are cutting out almost an entire nutrient from their diet which equates to hundreds and hundreds of calories per day. Of course they lose weight fast! However, that weight loss will stop quickly, they will feel lousy, and food will become a monstrous chore. Think about it: you're going to be the person who doesn't eat cake at a kid's birthday party? You're never going to have another non-Keto beer again? You're never going to eat bread again? No donuts? NO DONUTS?!?! This is not a sustainable or enjoyable way to live for most people. Is it doable? Of course. But just because it is doable doesn't mean it is optimal.
Nearly all of these fad diets involve some form of extremism. In some cases, people may need to adhere to one of these diets for medical reasons (Celiac disease, seizures, etc) but that is a very tiny population compared to those who simply want to lose weight. Don't buy into the hype.
The truth is, you can enjoy all of your favorite foods while still losing weight. You just need to do so in moderation and make sure the numbers check out at the end of the day. Stick to the fundamentals that are proven to work and highly sustainable:
1) Eat fewer calories than you expend every single day
2) Eat enough protein
3) Get enough sleep
4) Drink plenty of water
You will be AMAZED how far that will take you. I routinely see people lose 50+ lbs focusing on nothing else. When people fail to lose weight with this method it's due to poor execution, not theory.
So, if you are thinking about starting a diet or have just started one, you must ask yourself this critical question:
"Can I do this for the rest of my life?"
Best of luck! If you have any questions about losing weight, please reach out. We are happy to get you on the right path!
Anderson Sport & Fitness
Results. Made. Simple.