We’re always looking for the easiest way out. When it comes to dieting, we tend to look for the quickest solution. Perhaps you have struggled with your weight, but no diet seems to help to lose a few extra pounds. You have tried EVERYTHING.
Each month at the office, it seems as though there’s a new fad diet. Which one is right for you? Why is it that none of them work? When it all boils down, there is no substitute for proper nutrition and physical exercise. You need to put in the work, in order for your body to respond.
Many fad diets do allow you to lose weight, but your results are short-lived. Without making lasting changes to your current lifestyle, you will continue to gain back the weight you lost. Let’s examine five of the diets you may have adapted from your work environment, yet have left you feeling more frustrated than ever before.
1. Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet focuses on foods in which our ancestors would have eaten. In that sense, it most certainly has some good qualities. It emphasizes the importance of whole food, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. The fact that individuals eliminate processed food is great, but it doesn’t necessarily equal weight-loss.
The problem with the Paleo diet is that it excludes grains, dairy, and legumes. There’s little evidence supporting this evolutionary argument. Also, people struggle with what they can and cannot eat. This leaves inconsistencies and little progress. Nutrition doesn’t need to be this confusing and you most certainly should not eliminate fiber-rich sources such as whole grains and legumes from your diet.
There has been some confusion as to the most effective way to lose weight through juicing. This is a tricky one because, without proper knowledge, you can actually gain weight while negatively affecting your blood sugar and dental health.
Although you do gain nutrients by juicing, you are actually missing out on some of the most beneficial vitamins and minerals (which are often found in the skins, pulp and seeds). Juicing simply squeezes the juice out of fruits and vegetables, leaving much of the nutritional value behind.
If you are strictly drinking fruit juice, you’re exposing your body to high concentrations of sugar. In turn, this can actually sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Whenever you do juice, focus on 75 percent vegetables and 25 percent fruit. This will help reduce your sugar intake.
Juicing has also been shown to throw off your metabolism, causing it to slow down. There’s nothing wrong with incorporating nutrient-rich juices into your diet, however, juice cleanses do not provide enough calories. This actually negatively affects your metabolism, as well as your muscle mass. Since muscle burns more calories than fat (even at rest), you want to conserve your muscle mass. Along with your healthy diet plan, incorporate strength training twice a week.
3. Atkins Diet
Although this diet has been around since the 1970s, it has many people fooled. The basis of this diet is low-carb intake and high protein consumption. There are four stages which allow participants to add carbs within each phase. The first phase begins with basically no carb intake, encouraging higher consumption of meats, cheese, butter, oils, vegetables, and eggs.
Although this diet claims that you will lose 15 pounds within the first two weeks, this is simply water weight. This is not a healthy approach, as true weight-loss takes time. This weight drop is generally due to water and glycogen weight, not fat loss. Carbs have gotten a bad rep, causing people to get the wrong impression. It’s all about the types of carbs you choose. When you choose sources such as quinoa and oatmeal, you provide your body with energy and support your weight-loss efforts.
4. Calorie Counting
A group of individuals at work may not be following a specific diet, they’re just not eating. This is the time to be a leader, not a follower. When you starve your body, it counteracts by holding onto fat. What you do eat, is stored for later use just in case there’s another period of starvation. Your body doesn’t know you’re trying to lose ten pounds, all it knows is that it’s not getting what it needs.
Remember the muscles mass we discussed? This is where it’s significantly affected. Studies have shown that when calorie intake is significantly decreased, 70 percent of weight loss comes from muscle, not fat. When you don’t eat enough, you will actually have higher concentrations of body fat in comparison to someone who eats a balanced 2000+ calorie diet.
Unless you’re celiac, you do not need to remove gluten from your diet. In fact, whole grains are essential within a balanced diet. The gluten-free industry is a billion dollar business that has created deception amongst consumers. When you see gluten-free, you may think you’re making healthy choices. These options aren’t always ideal and can actually contribute to weight gain.
So, how do you actually lose weight? Ditch all these fad diets, as weight-loss isn’t overly complicated. When you choose fresh whole foods and exercise, you will naturally lose weight. Here are some simple tips to achieve long-term results:
- Eliminate processed foods, as they are one of the worst contributing factors. Eat more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, nuts, and seeds. You should never eliminate any essential food group when losing weight, as you will not function at an optimal level. Care for your body and give it what it needs, and weight loss will follow.
- Be aware of ’fat-free’ options, as they are generally full of sugar. It’s all about reading labels and not being fooled by marketing schemes. You can lose weight, but not on the useless diets your co-workers are on.
- Become more active, focusing on activities you enjoy. If you like to cycle, then you’re more likely to stick to it. Incorporate both cardio and strength training into your fitness routine.
- Swap all soda and high-sugar drinks for water. By making this one simple switch, you could significantly improve your weight-loss efforts. Sodas are empty calories, providing nothing more than sugar, artificial sweeteners, and additives. Don’t be fooled by diet soda either, as it has the same effect on your body, if not worse. Studies are now showing a direct link between diet soda and an increased risk of diabetes.
- Keep a food journal in order to track your progress. This is a great way to be more self-aware, not only of what you’re eating but how you feel.
- You have to truly commit to a healthier lifestyle. This means changes will need to occur, but don’t give yourself deadlines. No need to put pressure on yourself. Start by making one minor change a day, until these changes become part of your regular routine.
- Be mindful of your portion sizes. A great way to avoid overeating is to use smaller plates. This gives you the impression that you’ve eaten more than you truly have. Also, slow down! It takes an average of twenty minutes for your brain to get the message that you’re full. When you don’t eat as fast, you can better control your intake.
The best diet for you is one that you create for your personal needs and goals. You don’t have to do what all your coworkers are doing. We’re all unique and no diet is ideal for everyone. It’s not about restricting yourself; it’s about choosing foods that support a healthy weight and overall health. Be more active during lunch breaks, get enough sleep, and practice stress management techniques whilst at the office. All of these will equal a healthier version of yourself that will automatically increase productivity. The key is to not focus on being thin; it’s more about being healthy.
Have you ever used any of these diets? If so, do you agree with the points above? Let us know in the comments section below.