One of the top questions I get from my friends and family is “what do you think about ________ diet?” I can answer this question with 3 guidelines.
1) Is the diet you are considering something that can be upheld as a lifestyle? If not, think about this: we all want to find a weight that we can sustain, right? No one likes to “diet”. Following strict diets that can’t be maintained for the long haul literally set us up for failure. Quick fixes and hardcore restrictions never ever work and I promise there are no exceptions to this (unless you have a food intolerance, in which case it isn’t considered a real restriction).
2) Is the food list on the diet cutting out major, health food groups? If yes, don’t do it. Cutting out healthy food groups (most of the time in the form of fats and carbs) can leave your body literally starving for specific nutrients. An even bigger issue I see a lot is that when we deprive ourselves we end up obsessing over what we can’t have, leading us to eat more when we get the chance. Again, this is not a way to maintain weight for life, so why waste your time?
3) Is the diet cutting out whole food and replacing meals with processed shakes/products that have ingredients you’ve never heard of? If yes, press pause. Unless you’re making a whole veggie/homemade potion of green superfood awesomeness, pre packaged shakes that contain 20+ ingredients aren’t the way to go. Here’s why: whole and natural foods are filled with living enzymes, and enzymes are important for hundreds of things including the metabolizing of food aka gut health. Constipation, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux is oftentimes caused by a lack of digestive enzymes. Don’t fall for the quick fix.
Here’s what I DO believe in:
1) calories in versus calories out. This will never go out of style.
2) in reference to #1, calories should be made up of highly nutrient dense foods with tons of color and variety (and also include protein). Eating this way truly keeps you full versus eating processed foods that leave you constantly unsatisfied and wanting more.
3) sugar/dairy in moderation
I know it’s easy to want a quick fix when we feel down, but instead of wasting energy on making yourself truly miserable, make a list of ways you can ensure you are getting in wholesome meals each week. There are companies whose entire mission is to make eating healthy achievable. In Boulder: Fit Republic Nutrition Co and RAD (Real Athlete Diets).