I’m sure you were hoping I’d start explaining this magical diet, probably containing kale or some gag-worthy detox tonic, which will guarantee a slimmer and trimmer you in just 2 weeks! Am I right?
Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like to believe there is a unicorn-diet out there that could deliver on these promises, the hard reality is that there just isn’t. When it comes to dieting or exercise, anything that sounds extreme or too good to be true, most probably is and most probably should be avoided at all costs. These extreme approaches are termed “fad diets” and they’re downright dangerous for you. They perpetuate destructive restriction and binge cycles that by the end of it, leave you fatter, frustrated and more disillusioned than when you started.
When it comes to nutrition and training there is no “one-size-fits-all”, no perfect program. What works for one person may not necessarily work for you, and that doesn’t mean one way is better or worse than the other. So next time you’re looking to weed out the fads diets from the truly healthy changes, ask yourself the following 5 questions:
1. Does it fit my lifestyle?
If you’re a professional athlete, a busy student or a desk-bound businessman/woman, your diet must adapt to and complement your lifestyle, not the other way around.
2. Is it something I can adhere to on a consistent basis?
If you can’t stomach rich, high-fat foods, stop trying to force yourself to be a “banter”. If you can’t stand the taste of kale, stop trying to survive on green juices. The nutrition choices you make need to align with your own personal food preferences and become habits that unconsciously form part of your everyday eating.
3. Will it help you achieve your desired results without forcing you to go to extreme measures?
Where most people go wrong is they try doing too much too soon. They drop calories, cut out certain food groups, go cold-turkey on all the foods they crave and although initially see results, inevitable the unsustainability of the diet catches up with them and they rebound. Small, manageable baby-steps in the right direction is all it takes.
4. Does it allow you to incorporate the foods you enjoy eating? (In moderation of course!)
I refuse to live in a world where I’m told I can’t ever eat bread or chocolate again. You don’t have to ban or demonize the foods you love- rather learn smart ways to fit them into your life and enjoy them mindfully.
5. Can you see yourself maintaining this for weeks, months and years down the line?
If you’re thinking of this as a sprint- you’ve lost already. You need to think of this as a permanent lifestyle change. So if your current diet is giving you commitment phobia, that’s a sure sign to get out now.
There are pros and cons to every type of nutrition program. The sooner you stop giving into the ridiculous “quick-fix” fads out there and find out what type of nutrition program you can enjoy adhering to the most, the sooner you’ll set yourself up not only to successfully lose weight, but keep it off too.