Most people who read my articles and e-books know me as a science guy who likes to quote studies and apply research to everyday problems such as for example weight loss, bodybuilding, and other health/fitness related topics. However, sometimes you must step back from the science and look at the big picture to greatly help bring people back into focus, so they can start to see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
For most people reading this article, finding a highly effective diet that works usually must seem as complicated as nuclear physics. It isn’t, but there are always a bewildering number of choices for diets out there. High fat or no fat? High carbohydrate or no carbohydrate? Low protein or high protein? To create matters worse, there are a million variations and combinations to the aforementioned diet scenarios to increase the confusion. It appears endless and causes many people to provide their hands in frustration and present up. In this article I will try to change all that.
There are some general guidelines, rules of thumb, and ways of viewing an eating plan program that will enable you to decide, forever, if it’s the right diet for you. You may not always like what I have to say, and you should be under no illusions that is another quick fix, “lose 100 lbs. in 20 days,” guide of some sort. However, if keto pills are sick and tired of being confused, tired of taking the weight off only to put it back on, and sick and tired of wondering how to take the initial steps to deciding the proper diet for you that may result in permanent weight reduction, then this is actually the article that could change your daily life…
Does your diet pass “The Test”?
What is the number one reason diets fail longterm; above all else? The number one reason is…drum roll…too little longterm compliance. The numbers don’t lie; almost all people who shed weight will regain it – and frequently exceed what they lost. You knew that already did you not?
Yet, what exactly are you doing in order to avoid it? Here’s another reality check: virtually any diet you pick which follows the basic concept of “burning” more calories then you consume – the well accepted “calories in calories out” mantra – may cause you to lose weight. To some degree, each of them work: Atkins-style, no carb diets, zero fat high carb diets, all manner of fad diets – it simply does not matter in the short term.
If your goal would be to lose some weight quickly, then pick one and follow it. I guarantee you’ll lose some weight. Studies generally find the commercial weight loss diets will get approximately the same quantity of weight off after 6 months to a year. For example, a recent study found the Atkins’ Diet, Slim-Fast plan, Weight Watchers Pure Points program, and Rosemary Conley’s Eat Yourself Slim diet, were all equally effective. (1)
Other studies comparing other popular diets have come to basically the same conclusions. For example, a study that compared the Atkins diet, the Ornish diet, Weight Watchers, and The Zone Diet, found them to be fundamentally the same in their capability to take weight off after one year. (2)
Recall what I said about the number 1 reason diets fail, that is a insufficient compliance. The lead researcher of this recent study stated:
“Our trial found that adherence level rather than diet type was the principal predictor of weight loss”(3)
Translated, it’s not which diet they chose by itself, but their ability to actually stick to a diet that predicted their weight reduction success. I can just start to see the hands going up now, “but Will, some diets must be better than others, right?” Are some diets better then others? Absolutely. Some diets are healthier then others, some diets are better at preserving lean muscle mass, some diets are better at suppressing appetite – there are many differences between diets. However, while most of the popular diets will work for taking weight off, what is abundantly clear is that adhering to the diet is the most significant aspect for keeping the weight off long term.
What is a diet?
A diet is a short-term strategy to lose weight. Longterm weight loss is the result of an alteration in lifestyle. We are concerned with life long weight management, not quick fix weight reduction here. I don’t like the term diet, since it represents a short term attempt to lose weight vs. a change in lifestyle. Desire to lose a bunch of weight quickly? Heck, I will give you the information on how to do that here and today for no charge.
For the next 90 to 120 days eat 12 scrambled egg whites, one whole grapefruit, and a gallon of water twice a each day. You will lose plenty of weight. Will it be healthy? Nope. Will the weight stay off once you are done with this diet and are then forced to go back to your “normal” way of eating? Not a chance. Will the weight you lose come from fat or will it be muscle, water, bone, and (hopefully!) some fat? The point being, there are plenty of diets out there that are perfectly with the capacity of getting weight off you, however when considering any eating plan designed to lose weight, you must ask yourself:
“Is this a way of eating I can follow long term?”
Which brings me to my test: I call it the “Can I eat that way for the others of my life?” Test. I know, it does not exactly roll off your tongue, but it gets the point across.
The lesson here’s: any nutritional plan you select to lose weight must be part of a lifestyle change it is possible to follow – in a single form or another – forever. That is, if it’s not a method of eating you can adhere to indefinitely, even after you can your target weight, then it’s worthless.
Thus, many crash diets you see out there are immediately eliminated, and you also don’t have to be worried about them. The question is not whether the diet is effective in the short term, if the diet can be followed indefinitely as a lifelong method of eating. Going from “their” way of eating back to “your” method of eating after you reach your target weight is a recipe for disaster and the cause of the well established yo-yo dieting syndrome. Bottom line: there are no short cuts, there is absolutely no free lunch, and just a commitment to a lifestyle change will keep the fat off longterm. I realize that’s not what most people want to hear, but it’s the truth, like it or not.
The statistics don’t lie: obtaining the weight off isn’t the hardest part, keeping the weight off is! Invest the a close look at the many popular fad/commercial diets out there, and you also are honest with yourself, and apply my test above, you will discover most of them no longer appeal to you as they once did. In addition, it brings me to an example that adds additional clarity: For those who have diet A that will cause the most weight reduction in the shortest amount of time but is unbalanced and essentially impossible to follow long term vs. diet B, that will take the weight off at a slower pace, but is easier to follow, balanced, healthy, and something you can comply with every year, that is superior? If diet A gets 30 lbs off you in 30 days, but by next year you have gained back all 30 lbs, but diet B gets 20 lbs off you within the next 3 months with another 20 lbs a few months after that and the weight stays off by the finish of that year, that is the better diet