So here we go again. If you’re like me this isn’t your first diet rodeo and you don’t really want to get on that bull. It has thrown you one too many times. Diets are hard. Sure, you lose weight for a while but there has to be a reason why ultimately you are right back to what you once weighed and maybe a bit more. So let’s take that proverbial bull by the horns and figure out how to put him down.
There are two primary factors in diet plans …
- Is it really good for you, that is your body, your mind, your disposition and your life style?
- Is it this diet sustainable? By that I mean is this diet plan something you do but look forward, longing for the day when it is done when you can get back to a normal life?
I’ve tried more than a few crazy diets, probably the silliest was Suzanne Summers “Bagel Diet” … hey she’ skinny and I like bagels! Even if I lost weight, which I did not… no surprise there, there is no way I want to just eat bagels for the rest of my life. That is what I mean by sustainable. So say, hypothetically that on this bagel diet I had actually lost weight would I be getting all the nutrients my body needed? Any diet that requires you to eat a specific food, often in large quantities is a fad diet, totally bogus and you will gain any weight you lost when you stop that insanity. Did you know, there is actually a “cookie diet!” Wow, if only!
Now there are quite a few plans out there that you will lose weight and you will get enough food that your body needs. Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are both successful programs. But here’s the glitch. You buy meals, prepared by them. You don’t have to do the work of deciding what to eat and cooking. Great, right? Are you going to live eating Nutrisystem meals for the rest of your life? No… it isn’t sustainable, you have not taken responsibility for what you put into your body, so nothing has really changed.
It seems every celebrity has a miracle diet plan. Google them: Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Dr. Andrew Wells, Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet. There are diets based on your ethnicity or blood type. People spend millions trying to lose weight, no wait, I looked it up, 60 billion dollars a year is spent by American in the pursuit of less pounds! Shut the back door! Think about that. It is big business.Just take this pill, folow this plan, but before your do.
Ask this question… Does the industry specializing in weight loss want you to succeed?
So are all diet plans bogus?
No,but along with a plan you need to understand what make us fat, what about a plan is good and what are the pitfalls. For instance, the Pritikin Diet at first glance seems healthy. It is full of vegetables, good stuff right? And it is low carb, low fat. That sounds healthy too. First this is not sustainable. Most of us will not be happy living on this diet. You would feel deprived, and grumpy. Second fat in your diet is not the enemy. Even Atkins and South Beach diets, which have some really good ideas but still are not leading you to a sustainable, healthy diet.
Atkins and its less demanding cousin South Beach, restrict carbs and opt for unlimited fat consumption. But not all fat is good and not all carbs are bad. To indiscriminately eat fatty foods is not a healthy way to go and sooner or later you are going to eat potatoes and a piece of cake.
Get the Sugar Out!
We want to be thin, sexy, and feel good. But we really don’t want a sustainable diet. By that I mean, we don’t want to change our eating habits forever. We want Ice cream and sodas and whatever your go to food is… mash potatoes, mac & cheese. Change is hard. No sugar coating it! Exactly, and that is where we often hit a wall. No sugar!
Now many of us just stop when someone says… no sugar. You have to be kidding, I can’t do that! Believe me I’m with you. I know it’s bad for me and I mean sugar is the root cause of medical and mental issues. I admit it… I’m addicted. It’s evil and it’s everywhere. Our foods are intentionally laced with sugar! If you don’t think that’s a problem, the consumption of sugar in the American diet has sky rocketed. The average American eats 3 lbs. of sugar a week. In the 1800’ we ate less than 10 lbs a year. According the Department of Agriculture we now consume 150 pounds per year! Impossible you say, start reading the labels, sugar, corn syrup of any sort … canned vegetables and yes canned fruit, sauces like BBQ or spaghetti sauce, salad dressings, cereals and all those so-called health foods like yogurt, read the labels.
But we like sugar! Yes, we do and that is why 1 in 3 people are overweight. Sugar tastes good and our bodies are programmed to want it. Sweet foods are typically not poisonous. Sugar makes our brains feel good. Sugar is addictive, research equates sugar as addictive as cocaine. No it is not like a hard drug because it takes longer for sugar to destroy the body.
So diets restricting sugar are healthier but only if it is something you can do forever! Something as simple as stop drinking soda, even diet soda (diet sweeteners and other soda ingredients pose different health issues) it will make a huge difference, 10 pounds per year difference. What is the best soft drink ever … water!
Yes, there are good diet plans out there …
The Paleo Diet and the Mediterranean Diet are two good ones that can be adapted to our ever-changing life style. Still you need to know why you gain weight and the mechanism to lose it is not less calories but good clean food. So don’t just pick a diet but get to know what your body needs. Knowledge is a tool.
I can get enthusiastic and start a diet, eliminating all the stuff someone says don’t eat. But I want it! The enthusiasm wanes about week 2. So much for the diet! What to do?
The Best Plan … Ever
First a few don’ts …
Don’t follow someone else’s diet plan. Create your own. Your smart and there is no lack of information. Granted what you find can be confusing and often contradictory. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll blog on the topic and let you know.
Don’t try to do a 180 in what you eat. Our eating habits are very ingrained. Pick things that are easy to change, then move on to things in your diet you know are bad. As you eliminate each find something you like to take it’s place. Here are some suggestions for easy changes and your family won’t even notice!
Do this …
Switch oils. Uses coconut oil (naturally a solid at room temperature and grapeseed oil for high heat. Olive oil low heat and before the food goes on the table add olive oil or avocado oil. Oils need to be extra virgin, cold pressed. Cheap oils are heated, processed to change the color and remove flavor. In these processes the chemical structure of the oil changes into something quite harmful. Butter is not evil! Buy grass fed, no antibiotic or organic butter and don’t scorch butter or anything else. Black is burnt and burnt is carcinogenic!
Eat organic. Organic vegetables are becoming affordable. Consider organic meats it you can afford them or at least no antibiotic, grass feed, no GMO, cage free, wild caught.
Avoid processed foods … flours, cereals, sugary stuff … just about everything on the shelves of the grocery!
Avoid Sugar Substitutes. They fool your tongue but not your body. Research continues to find sweeteners as carcinogenic or causing weight gain. The latest is Monk Fruit. Seems natural and maybe is okay, but it hasn’t been around long enough to know. Stevia is another claimed as natural. Unfortunately, many brands are reducing it to sugar alcohol which can cause intestinal distress and diarrhea.
Along the way many of us need support to stick to our plan. We need accountability groups like Weight Watchers and the Mayo Clinic Plan, which are very popular and sound, but you also need solid facts to make decisions.
The Bottom Line
A diet must be healthy… good for your body and good for your brain.
If you are just going to gain the weigh back again, why bother, you are actually doing yourself harm.
A diet is simply what we eat. To lose weight and feel great, what you eat must lead to life style changes that bring lasting results, are acceptable to you and achievable.
My Basic Diet Principles
- If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
- Avoid processed foods… all that stuff in the middle of the grocery store, pre-made meals. Limit grains and cereals, pasta, bread … all high carb, low nutrient foods.
- Avoid flavor enhancers like sugar and MSG and “natural flavoring” which as it turns out are not natural at all but mimicking a natural flavor chemically, often with an addictive component.
- If God made it … you can eat it, in moderation.
- Choose organic, free-range, grass feed, non-GMO.
- Eat a huge variety of foods.
- Make 2/3 of your plate vegetables and low sugar fruits.
- Drink water (8 glasses a day), limit alcohol.
Become knowledgeable. All carbs are not equal. There are good fats and very bad ones.
Eat to live, instead of living to eat.
A lot of information about what makes a healthy meal has changed over the years and will continue to change as people reject information coming from any group with a financial bias and also as we learn more about how our bodies work. It is easy to get bogged down in information over load which is why we go for the diet that says just to this, yet we know some of those things can’t possibly be good. Knowledge is a tool and some of the things I will share with you will be contrary to what we were told growing up. But then again, I was told a lot of stuff that has taken me a long time to throw away. Isn’t time to take out the trash in your life and lighten the load, it feels so good!
Thank you for stopping by. Share your encounters with diet plans and how it worked out for you.
Stop back by … and keep on keeping on, you will do this time!