WHY DO FAD DIETS FAIL?
When you google “how to lose 5kgs in one week?”, you will get to know a variety of unsuccessful ways to achieve that, not backed by any science, no explanation as to why and how one could possibly achieve such an unusual number.
But the bigger question is – what is weight loss for you?
What do YOU understand by weight loss? What is a healthy weight loss?
I might have consumed 3 cheeseburgers and fries the night before, got up the next day in the morning to feel constipated- starved the entire next day, and woosh! I weigh 2kgs extra the next day in the afternoon.
Is that really weight gain, or more precisely fat gain? Or is it, just water weight + weight of the poop?
This is the strategy most fad diets use – they intend to make you lose water+poop weight, making you feel lighter, and of course- allowing you to poop more.
Let’s understand fad diets with an example
Let’s suppose I start with a fad diet– starving myself of salt, good lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and vegetables, post one week I lose 3kgs!
I get more excited and follow it way stricter the next week again.
But oops– post the 2nd week, I have achieved a plateau. My weight doesn’t seem to move at all.
The problem here is– I’ve lost the water weight now- and in reality, I haven’t lost any fat, and possibly, all during this fad diet– I have lost my precious muscle too.
Starvation can put you in a situation where the human body starts using the muscle mass to feed itself.
Do you want to lose your precious muscle?
A perfect, balanced, sustainable nutrition program is never going to let you starve, irritated, and never going to make you survive on just “fluids”.
How I lost weight without fad diets
I would like to share my story here – all the while when I lost 50+kgs, I used to consume 1L milk every day, have 6 boiled eggs, ate lean meats and vegetables, whole grains, omega-3s, and NEVER felt starved.
I did not face any gut issues or ever had a “plateau”.
BUT there was a difference- I used to run 15kms every day and do 200+ pushups plus my NCC regime.
Your diet has to go hand-in-hand with your workout. I believe in following simple strategy, “eat well, eat wholesomely, but push yourself in exercise”, and well – exercise becomes a mandate if, you actually want to boost your metabolism.
Your body naturally burns more calories throughout the day post exercising.
Ask these questions to yourself before going for fad diets
How much are you going to let your body starve?
How much are you trying to make it “not used” to consuming food?
How many of these marketing “fat loss pills”, “metabolic boosters”, “fat burners” etc. are you going to rely on?
If you want to lose fat- there is no easy way out.
You need to eat well, develop taste buds for wholesome food that our past generations are so fond of! (reasons they survive 80+ years damn easily) and, you need to push yourself through exercise.
You can’t be expecting to lose 10kgs (of fat, get me right on this) in one month- it’s practically impossible, oh wait but yes- you can lose your precious muscle if you keep starving yourself through all the fancy fad diets.
What should be your approach then?
Your approach to “healthy living” has to change- one must understand losing fat is all about eating the right composition of food, not eat less at any cost.
Eating minimally processed, least genetically modified food varieties.
Not getting scared of the “right” type fats, and over or undereating them.
Eating minimally processed whole grains, with timings of consumption being monitored as per approach (fat loss/muscle gain/maintenance).
Eating less can and in most cases cause gut issues later, you feel starved and there is a high chance of relapse – you might start overconsumption of foods not permitted at all in the nutrition program you are currently following.
This is where the importance of sustainability and feasibility comes. A nutrition program or your dietary lifestyle has to be economical and “local”.
We need to understand that foods that have always been eaten by our past generations – and that our bodies have maximal feature similarities with them, something that they consumed and advice that our grandparents have always been giving- does have a scientific explanation in most cases.
Consider affordability when choosing Weight Loss Programs
Consider the example of a recent trending diet plan- ketogenic diet plan.
I won’t call it a fad diet plan because it is not, there is science behind it, and if a human body is on ketosis– he or she does not have issues like starvation, cravings, boredom or gut issues (if, properly followed), yes the results by keto are absolutely optimal, sustained and some people even end up being on nutritional ketosis even after achieving their physique goals.
But the main question here is about its economic feasibility.
Is it okay for you to buy eggs/meat/paneer or other animal protein sources every day or tofu (if you are a vegan) every day?
Also, the daily consumption of soy products to such a high extent can have phytoestrogen effects.
Also, can you restrict yourself to low carb vegetables like capsicum, broccoli, French beans?
What if our local vendor doesn’t have them in all 7 days a week?
In such situations, people end up looking for “choices”, which may or may not be allowed in ketogenic plans, which may put you “out” of nutritional ketosis and can have other side effects – like people feeling guilty, depressed and might as well end up overeating.
Yes, obviously, if you live in a place where you have such vegetables, or lean meats available at your doorstep every day – then it is fine if you chose to do keto, and of course, if you can afford it.
Choose a weight loss program that doesn’t make you give up, a program that later becomes your lifestyle forever. A program that makes you feel better, makes you live longer and promotes a better quality of life.
Sweat yourself in cardio to burn fat, eat good protein to maintain and grow muscle, lift weights or do strength training, and take enough vegetables and whole grains. Let’s not run away from hard work- it always brings results.