In our consumer-centric society, marketers have been delivering weight loss to the public in the form of branded diets for so long, many people forget they can bypass the special packaging and go straight to the information and create a DIY diet.
If diets weren’t given memorable names, nobody would be interested in trying them out. For instance, nobody wants to “eat plenty of fat, consume less than 20 grams of carbs per day, and minimize protein intake,” but they’ll jump on the keto diet after reading about it on ketosisrevival.com.
Giving diets a special name makes it easy to monetize a consumer’s desire for a simple way to lose weight. With a brand name diet, you can sell books, food, equipment, establish clinics, and get celebrity endorsements.
Which diet do you want to follow today? The Paleo diet? The Carnivore diet? The South Beach diet? What happened to the Atkins diet?
If figuring out which diet to follow sounds complicated, that’s because it is. It doesn’t have to be, though. The truth is, you don’t need to follow any specific diet to lose weight. You just need to learn the fundamentals of weight loss and then make appropriate lifestyle choices.
Weight loss fundamentals are worth learning
If you’ve heard weight loss is simply about “calories in, calories out,” that’s only a partial truth. The key to weight loss is understanding the components of food (sugar, carbs, fiber, fats, etc.) and how they affect your body. Learning this information requires time and patience, and that’s what makes premade diets so appealing: they’re effortless. However, without the knowledge of what makes your favorite diet work, you’ll never be able to create your own meals from scratch.
Everyone knows the basics already
Everyone knows it’s important to cut sugar and carbs. Following through on that knowledge is another story. Sugar hides everywhere. The trick is identifying where you’re consuming excess sugar and carbs, and cutting it off at the pass.
If you’re going to use protein shakes for meal replacements, look for a brand that uses stevia as a sweetener instead of sugar. Stevia is quite literally the holy grail of sweeteners, since it’s a naturally sweet tasting leaf. Never settle for a protein powder with artificial sweeteners inside. BioHealth Nutrition uses stevia and has one of the shortest ingredient lists on the market.
You can’t eat a calorie
Counting calories isn’t enough, and it can be misleading. In reality, you can’t actually eat a calorie any more than you can eat inches. A calorie is a unit of measurement used to describe the amount of energy it takes your body to break down the food you eat. The measurement is based on the fact that it takes 1 calorie (which is really a kilocalorie) to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.
Not all “calories” are equal. Some foods have a significant impact on your body once they’ve been broken down. For example, eating a 500 calorie steak isn’t the same as eating a 500 calorie slice of cake. Your body will use 500 calories of energy to break down both food items, but the cake does something to your body the steak doesn’t: it releases insulin in the bloodstream (insulin triggers the storage of fat), destroys healthy gut bacteria, and can facilitate an overgrowth of Candida.
If you approach your weight loss goals believing you can consume Calories, you’re going to miss the details that matter. For instance, if you’re using a “point system” to lose weight, you might think it’s acceptable to save your points for the whole day so you can eat a big slice of chocolate cake. That’s a bad idea, and when you understand the Calorie and nutrition fundamentals, insulin, and fat storage, you’ll understand why.
There is no perfect diet
The basic principles of nutrition and weight loss apply to all, but the quantities of each nutritional component a person needs to eat will vary based on their lifestyle, activity level, metabolism, and other internal processes.
If you’ve tried all kinds of diets with disappointing results, you’ve probably realized there is no perfect diet. Each person has a unique set of nutritional requirements, and you have to experiment to find what’s right for you.
I personally have had great success with the Dukan Diet but it might not work for everyone. It takes strong commitment to stick to any diet, so make sure you find one that works with your level of motivation.