As the new year begins, the internet is flooded with articles about fad diets that promise weight loss results and a skinny new year. First of all, your happiness does not rely solely on the number on your bathroom scale. Secondly, fad diets are just that, fads meant to help you lose weight quickly (and sometimes dangerously) with no intention to be a long term solution. Our goal with this article is to show you the good and bad diet programs out there, and how to plan for success.
Meal Replacement Plans
There are tons of meal replacement-based diets that use pre-made bars, shakes and frozen entrees. The point of these plans is to take the planning out of dieting. Atkins, Nutrisystem, and Ideal Protein are just a few companies that use this method. The problem with this type of diet, however, is that they don’t teach you how to eat. People tend to have success when following the plan, but struggle once off since these plans don’t teach you how to prepare real foods in good proportion.
Followers eat high fat, high protein diets, while restricting carbohydrates, both from junk food and fruits and vegetables. Meal replacements, like shakes and bars are required to follow their designated plan. The idea of a very low carb diet is to convert the body to a state of ketosis, a natural starvation response which allows the body to burn fat for energy when sugars from carbohydrates are not available.
Ideal Protein uses protein meal replacements to burn fat through ketosis, much like the Atkins diet. Plans and products are purchased through their local sites.
Nutrisystem leaves little to chance. They have taken care of portion control and nutrients content, all you have to do is eat the food. Their premade frozen meals and shakes are sent to your door, making it one of the most convenient diet plans out there.
Point Counting Systems
There are several diets based on counting points, the most familiar being Weight Watchers. They assign point values to all foods and the dieter simply eats within their point limit. Basically, it focuses on portion control. This is a step up from a meal replacement plan since you control what you eat, and make a meal plan on your own. The only con is that the diet allows you to eat anything within your point limit. Portion control is absolutely necessary, and a skill that most people with weight issues lack, but there is more to the story. The types of foods you eat are even more important than how much. Loading up on foods that don’t do much for your body, like our stick figure friend to the left here, leaves you still feeling hungry because your body is not nourished.
Alli, Hydroxycut, Raspberry Ketones, Lipozene, and many more are no substitute for changing your lifestyle. Diet supplements work in different ways to decrease appetite or increase metabolism which may result in weight loss. There is little to no emphasis on changing diet or exercise habits. Sorry everyone, losing weight and maintaining will not happen unless you make changes to your entire lifestyle. Period.
Not to mention, herbal and chemical remedies for weight loss can be dangerous, with side effects ranging from stomach upset to heart palpitations or worse. These products seem to do more harm than good in getting you to a healthier state. Since these products are not regulated by the FDA, you have to rely on the goodness of the companies selling the product to verify product safety. Probably not a good idea.
What we recommend instead
Try a clean, “Paleoesque™” eating diet that automatically eliminates junk food, chemicals and excess calories. Our office promotes eating along the Paleo Diet, spearheaded by Loren Cordain, PhD which includes lean meats, leafy greens, and carbohydrates from “roots, fruits and gourds™”. Grains and dairy are eliminated completely. It is low in processed carbs while rich in fiber, good fats, antioxidants and vital nutrients. There are no calorie restrictions, simply listen to your body and eat from the paleo-approved foods list. See your body change and your energy level increase. This diet naturally reduces inflammation in the body, the underlying cause of most modern diseases. The best part is the 85/15 rule, where you follow the healthy eating plan 85% of the time, and allow non-paleo food items about 15% of the time. You will feel better, but will still be allowed your favorite junk food from time to time. Once you get started, you probably won’t even miss junk food.
All popular diet plans have good traits, but are lacking in some areas. The goal is to tailor a plan that fits your lifestyle, something none of these blanket programs can do. Your best bet is to do your own research and consult with a professional to develop a plan of action that will benefit you now and in the future, teaching you to eat for life. The professionals at Bordeaux Nutrition® LLC would be happy to help.