Today I am talking about what all fad diets have in common. All of the fad diets that you have ever tried, that I have ever tried, all of them have some certain facts in common. All of them work for a given time, because of common factors and I am going to detail what those common factors are. I will also explain why they are setting you up to fail pretty much, by having the you need the diet, in order to be successful.
Step one is that they all implement calorie restriction in order to lose body weight, we know that we need to implement and adhere to a calorie deficit over a period of time. This means eating fewer calories than you expend on a day to day basis in order to lose body fat tissue. All fad diets, when they do work, they work because they help you implement a calorie deficit.
Step two of what they have in common is the fact that they are easy to do. They have the benefit of ease of implementation, this doesn’t mean though that they are necessarily easy to stick to. We all know that they can be quite hard to stick to after a period of time, but they do make it easy to achieve and implement a calorie deficit.
The low carb diet for example, you just remove all your carbohydrates, therefore it is easy for you to implement a calorie deficit, because it is easy for you to understand that you just need to remove carbs. Likewise, with the Paleo diet you remove all foods that are “unnatural”, all dairies, carbohydrates that are processed, all of those foods, so therefore it is easy for you to do because you understand what it is that you need to do in order to adhere to the diet.
When we just say, hey, all you need to do is lower your calories, although that is true, that doesn’t give you that clear, easy, implementable advice. If you do the Keto or the Atkins diet it’s very simple, you just need to cut out a certain food group, or you need to adhere to a certain set of rules like Slimming World, or doing crazy shake diets or something like the Cambridge diet where all you’re eating is soup. It’s up to you to follow the procedures, to follow the rules in order to adhere to the programme and therefore lose weight. Similarly with Weight Watchers you’re given a certain amount of points or a certain target to hit. With all these diets there’s a set of procedures, a set of rules, there’s basically a yes or no list, in terms of what you’re allowed to eat and what you’re not allowed to eat.
Step three is that they have a start and end point, when you think about doing a diet, it’s always with a temporary mindset. There is a start and end point where you think I’m going to do this diet for X amount of time, achieve a certain amount of weight loss, then I’m going to go back to eating normally. The thing is, we need to change the definition of the word diet, rather than calling a diet a temporary thing that we do just for a certain result. We should think of a diet as our habitual eating habits, what we do on a day to day basis. This is basically what our diet is, it’s what we eat, day to day. So, in order to be successful, we need to stop thinking about starts and end points. Certainly, implementing a calorie deficit shouldn’t be forever, there should be a return to maintenance and I can talk about that in another episode. But the fact that fad diets have start and end points are what is setting you up for long term failure because you’re not implementing new habits and new behaviours that you’re going to be able to maintain for life.
The fourth step they have in common is that they get you used to taking things away, so like my podcast episode the other week when I talked about focusing on adding things in rather than taking things away. All fad diets are all about restriction, they get you to remove things from your diet that are either bad or unclean or unhealthy. In so doing they are allowing you to stick to the set of rules and achieve weight loss, as long as that helps you implement and adhere to eating fewer calories over a period of time. The thing is is that although this is well intentioned, the fact that you’re taking things away all the time, means that you then crave these foods and these drinks that you’re not allowed to have more than ever, because they’re off limits they’re naughty foods, they’re not good foods, they’re not good drinks, this tends to make you want them even more, making the diet harder to stick to. Also making the fallout even worse when you leave the diet, because you just binge on all the things that you were taking away from your life.
Step six is that fad diets make you hate your life because of this reason, they’re so restrictive. They can be very strict, hard to stick to so that you don’t enjoy your life with them and you don’t enjoy your social life. Generally you can’t wait to get off of them again, making them pointless really in the scheme of things. The last factor that they all have in common is that they don’t teach you why they work and what to do after them. They don’t teach you that the reason that this diet is working is because you’re implementing a calorie deficit, they don’t teach you how to survive after them. Nobody wants to be low carb for the rest of their life. No one wants to eat keto for the rest of their life. Well, some might, but not everyone does, not everyone wants to have restrictive yes no lists for the rest of their life. You want to be able to eat the foods that you enjoy, the foods that you desire. You still want to live a healthy lean natural life and there is a better way. There is a better way to do this, the way to get over this is to understand that implementing a calorie deficit is what you need to do in order to lose weight, it’s doing that for a certain period of time that allows you to get to a body weight which you feel happy or comfortable with. Then learning how to eat more calories while maintaining that body weight, this comes down to building new habits, building new behaviours and building a new relationship with food.
This is where intuitive eating, which is something I’m going to be talking about tomorrow with Gabby and Shannon about, comes in. The idea of giving yourself permission to eat whatever you like, giving yourself permission to eat the foods that you enjoy while still intuitively knowing what your body needs in order to maintain its body weight. Understanding what else you’ve had that week, or that day, that fits in with your progress at that given time. Basically having a better relationship with food, which allows you to live at the body weight that you’re designed to be at. You can enjoy a very fulfilling life where you can eat and drink the foods you love, while having great time with friends and family, and not worrying about the healthfulness of your given diet. Of course that goes alongside building great habits like eating protein with each meal, eating a certain amount of fruit and vegetables each week and generally living that kind of lifestyle.
If those are things that you want to pick up on, I would highly advise you getting on the priority list for Project Puck Faleo which is open. If you do that you get to guarantee your spot because there are only 20 spots that go live this coming Monday. So if you want to get on the priority list you should do so now, because the people on the priority list get the signup link tomorrow morning, which guarantees their spot 72 hours before the public, and you also get a cheeky discount as well. So if you want to finally end the cycle of fad diets, you want to get off the yo yo train, and you want to start learning about what habits you need in order to lose a bit of body weight and keep it off for life. I would highly recommend that you get into the priority list of Project Puck Faleo.