I’m not here to bash diets.
Why? Because all diets actually work.
On the surface, most diets look like they’re all different. One dieting camp says Food A isn’t allowed, while another says that Food A is allowed, but Food B isn’t.
Surprisingly, all diets have two commonalities:
1. They cut back on calories (quantity).
Diets do this by taking away our options. Whether it’s carbs, fats, grains, legumes, fruits, processed foods, dairy, or even lean protein. When a diet calls for instantly removing a certain food or food group, it automatically helps to shave off extra calories.
2. They help to improve food choices in some way (quality). Although they take away options, almost all diets include some sort of whole, minimally-processed, nutrient-rich foods. For those trying a new diet, the new added foods are often much “better” than the crap they’re already eating. There’s not really a diet camp that tells you to eat more processed crap — well at least I hope not.
Now you’re probably asking yourself, “If these diets work, then why didn’t the last one I tried work for me?”.
It’s because you were doomed since Day 1.
Diets have a vicious cycle that look something like this…
Fad Dieting Phase #1 — At the start of each diet, calories are restricted. No matter what the diet’s “demon” foods are, restricting cheese, or restricting all carbs in general, you’re still reducing calories and eating less than you normally would.
Fad Dieting Phase #2 — In turn, weight loss occurs because (as you’ll learn later) calories are the primary determining factor of body composition.
Fad Dieting Phase #3 — After weight loss comes temptation. Remember all those delicious foods you deprived yourself from because your diet said they were evil? Well, your body started calling their names again. It’s not so easy to pass up those cookies at your work party. Or avoiding all carbs. Or giving up alcohol for the rest of your life.
Fad Dieting Phase #4 — Next thing you know, your deprivation leads to bingeing. And then guess what? The weight you lost slowly starts creeping back.
You see, the problem isn’t that diets fail people — the problem is that people fail diets.
In reality, there are thousands of people out there who are successfully adhering to a Paleo, Mediterranean, low-carb, or even raw-food diet.
Diets fail when we pick one that we cannot adhere to.
Most diets are too restrictive and rigid, and therefore, unsustainable. On top of all that, they don’t factor in things such as your:
- Body type
- Cultural beliefs
- Current lifestyle
- Current fitness level
- Food preferences
- Food tolerances
- Food availability
- Time availability Nutritional knowledge And a bunch of other stuff
Not taking the above into consideration causes the lack of sustainability, which in turn leads to giving up.
It’s why people who’ve been eating pasta their whole lives can only go on a low-carb diet for 2 days.
Or why Asian people (like myself) would never do well on a diet that didn’t include white rice. I’ve been eating rice since the day I was born. If someone ever told me to ditch it, I think I might just go crazy.
Imagine going Paleo, even though you love your dairy and sweets. Or if someone told you to eat nothing but hormone-free, non-GMO foods. As far as I’m concerned, these foods can be double the price of their “regular” counterparts. If high-priced foods are not a problem for your wallet, fantastic. For those whose wallets aren’t as thick, it’s not a viable option.
Creating a diet that is personal to you and that serves you is the one you can succeed with. We’ll go over that in Part 2 of the book.