I came across this young man while on Instagram. Something said see what he is about. I went on to find out some very interesting things about him. Former medical student who wanted to go deeper, further into what we know about food and dieting. He is an entreprenuer, restauranteur and a joy to talk to. I asked him to blog a piece for my health corner and he gladly took the opportunity. Here is his contribution and I, along with Tye, hope you enjoy!
A Look at The Dysfunctional Approaches Behind Dieting
Dieting doesn’t work. Really, it does not work. Just look at the dismal research surrounding looking at different diets and the dieting concept as a whole. Add the non-academic and ever-shifting revolving door of the fad-diet industry, created by less-than-qualified “health pros” and it is no wonder why losing weight has become one of the hardest tasks you’ll experience in your life. It’s no wonder why obesity and chronic disease incidence is skyrocketing, not just in our country but around the world. If you’ve tried to lose weight, you know the struggles and you know how hard it is to keep the weight off. This is the truth of mainstream dieting.
I’m going to describe the 4 fundamental reasons why dieting is such a failed concept and provide some insight into what you can do to ensure real and meaningful fat loss without ruining your life to achieve it.
Whether you medically need weight loss or just want to drop a few pounds, this is important.
Reason 1: Cheat the System, Cheat Yourself.
In all fairness, there are some great nutritional models and “diets” (we’ll soon see why I hate this word) available an if these well-put-together programs are followed closely, they will yield significant results. Unfortunately, even the most well-formulated and research-backed diet can easily be perverted by a fundamental lack of health understanding. Example 1: The Vegan Diet. Sure, this no-animal approach can be very healthy, although it has some fundamental glaring flaws. However, veganism isn’t remotely healthy if the no-animal-product diet consists of “vegan-friendly” processed foods, loaded with added sugars and stripped of the nutrients. Remember, soda is vegan. Sounds healthy, right? Sadly, this is not a stretch, I see people mistake these popular health terms as blanket statements of health all the time. The number of vegetarians and vegans I personally know that have poor health due to their ignorant (meaning uniformed, not stupid) attempt at a no-animal-diet is astounding. Example 2: The Paleo Diet and Ketogenic Diets. There is a growing field of research showing the health benefits of high-fat, low-carb nutrition; however, any potential success of the Paleolithic or ketogenic diet evaporates if it consists primarily of bacon and butter. No veggies = No health. It’s that simple. The fact that both Paleo and Keto diets include massive intakes of non-starchy fibrous vegetables was somehow lost in the translation.
My Tip: Balance and moderation are key, both in nutrition and in life in general.
Reason 2: Your Mom Told You to Eat Your Veggies.
No veggies = No health. Your mother was right. I’m talking about all vegetables but specifically the fibrous (non-starchy) types, like asparagus, broccoli, spinach, peppers, etc., are the “super-foods” of the food world. As a class, they have the highest concentrations of nutrients and the lowest caloric load. Plus, these nutrients go far beyond the typical vitamins and minerals. Vegetables (and other plant products) have unique compounds called phytonutrients (phyto = plant). Example: Anthocyanins which are red, purple, and blue pigments found in fruits and veggies have been shown to protect against a myriad of human diseases.
My Tip: It does not matter what diet you are following or considering, if it does not include a large amount of fibrous vegetables (think kale, spinach, broccoli, peppers, or anything that is not a starch, grain, or legume), it will fail in the long-term.
Reason 3: Tick-Tock, It’s All About the Clock.
Health change is slow. It’s so important to understand this. The same concept applies to weight loss. Even the best nutrition plans, adhered to obsessively, often fail because they are not given enough time to work. To achieve meaningful and sustained weight loss, it’s going to take time. Not a few weeks and sometimes not even a few months. Therefore, it is essential to find a simple and sustainable system that you enjoy. This is the key! If it’s not enjoyable it’s not going to work because you aren’t going to do it.
Detecting Frauds: Any diet promising 5-15+ pounds of weight-loss in the first weeks is defining “weight” quite fraudulently. These systems use water-flushing strategies to trick you into thinking that you magically shed those pounds of fat, when it is almost purely water. In my opinion, dehydration from diuretics and glycogen depletion is not a long-term health strategy.
My Tip: Find a program that is easy, fun, and was created by knowledgeable health professionals. Avoid the flashy systems created by fitness models, promoted by celebrities, and advertised with pictures of 8-pack abs. If your diet feels restricting, it’s going to be impossible to maintain. If the system sounds too good to be true, it is.
Reason 4: Forgetting the Most Important Thing.
Most diets are using the completely wrong approach. The key to health, wellness, and weight loss is not in the calories, the macros, or the meal timing. Our health professionals at Epibolics have a saying, “Health must come first. Then, weight loss will easily follow.”
Correcting cellular and metabolic dysfunction with healthful, wholesome, and sustainable nutrition is far more important than religiously counting grams of carbs, fats, and protein, or ensuring that you eat every four hours (that “metabolism-boosting” idea is null-and-void, per new research). Cellular and metabolic dysfunction can seriously impair your ability to burn fat. If your body is incapable of burning fat, do you think you ever going to lose weight?
My Tip: Eat mostly whole foods and, of course, lots of vegetables. Consult with a health professional and ensure specific conditions you have are addressed (Insulin resistance, Cortisol imbalance, etc.). Ensure that any medications you are taking do not have known pharmaceutical-induced nutrient deletions (this is true for most medications, both OTC and prescription).
Forget the diets and nutrition plans. Find a way to eat that you enjoy and has a sound research-based approach. Find a better way to live, not a way to diet. It must be simple and sustainable.
Changing your lifestyle can be difficult. It might be uncomfortable at first but as you learn to cook whole food meals, develop tastes and culinary abilities, and experience the widespread health benefits and meaningful weight loss, it will be easy to continue for long-term. I hate the word “diet” because it assumes cessation. You start a diet and then you stop a diet…and then you start another diet and stop the again. It’s an endless cycle of frustration. What’s the point of going through hell if you just regain the weight? This yo-yo dieting is not a way to live.
Personally, my nutrition focuses on eating whole foods and avoiding processed, refined, and commercialized foods. If the foods and ingredients did not exist 100 years ago, I don’t eat them. My daily diet consists of lots of fats, lots of fibrous vegetables, moderate amounts of fruits, moderate amounts of quality proteins (grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic if it is an animal product), and limiting grains, starches, and all added sugars, which is easy to do if you avoid processed foods. Every couple of months I’ll do a few weeks of a strict ketogenic diet to optimize my fat metabolism and restore insulin sensitivity.
The most powerful advice I have is: Make it a lifestyle. Small, simple daily improvements will always yield greater long-term results than dramatic, unsustainable short-term dieting (or exercise for that matter).
In the best health,
A Look at The Dysfunctional Approaches Behind Dieting