Skip the Fad Diets. This is the Hottest New Health Craze
The cat is out of the bag. The genie is out of the bottle. I noticed it a few years ago while traveling on the West Coast and then in Colorado. I see it happening all around us, and I am really impressed with this new “craze.”
It’s the new fad in diets, the next big thing, the new magic trick to losing weight, building more energy, and feeling great while becoming healthier is (drum roll please….) eating healthy foods!
Eating natural and freshly grown foods, as our ancestors did, is at long last becoming popular once again. Likewise, consuming processed foods and processed carbs seems to be on the way out.
Weight loss is nearly inevitable when we shift away from processed foods and starts almost immediately for those transforming their diet. I have noticed this trend with many of my patients and friends, as well as with myself.
For example, I’ve been making healthy smoothies for breakfast and snacks for several years. I’ve also been juicing vegetables and fruits for one full day every week. I see many others following suit.
Practically every single day, I meet another happy convert in my practice or in public. And why are they so happy? They see and feel results within days of improving their diet!
So the questions become, are fad diets actually effective, and what is the best way to lose weight? Make sure you read to the bottom to find 5 Healthy Eating Habits that Lead to Weight Loss.
The Problem with Fad Diets
Many nutritionists and doctors always warn against fad diets. However, many of us are inundated by influencers across the web who share results from their journey with keto and actually lose weight.
So what is the disconnect?
While fad diets may offer short-term weight loss results, they often don’t offer sustainable results. In my practice, I’ve noticed people who shed lots of weight put the weight back on and then some.
According to a study of contestants from one season of the Biggest Loser, almost all of the 14 contestants who lost weight put it back on, plus more weight on top of it. However, there are many reasons for this trend.
First and foremost, most diets, including Keto, Paleo, Atkins, or South Beach, can be highly difficult to maintain over a lifetime. For example, it’s difficult for people to avoid carbs for the rest of their life, which is why a majority of people who go on Keto fail.
Other restrictive diets suffer from this same dilemma. However, more dangerous to the individual than the restriction of certain tasty foods is the number of nutritional deficiencies that can occur from fad diets.
Dieting requires balance, which is typically not promoted by fad diets. For example, many fad diets place people into significant calorie deficits, which can eat away at muscles and make people feel sluggish and tired.
Other diets may promote too much of one thing, such as protein and fats, at the behest of carbs, leading to an unbalanced diet.
Overall, individuals who experience dehydration, excessive hunger, or fatigue should quit a fad diet immediately before harming their body or liver.
Unfortunately, our bodies have evolved over time to ensure we always have the proper fuel for essential bodily processes. While suitable for survival, this makes weight loss difficult.
Studies show that extensive caloric deficits decrease your body’s basal metabolic rate, meaning even though you consume fewer calories, your body is burning less for survival. In turn, eating what would have been a normal portion of food two months ago will now lead to weight gain.
Another reason fad diets can fail is that they target the wrong things, such as water weight, which only delivers short-term results.
What We Eat Matters as Much as How Much We Eat
When it comes to dieting and weight loss, willpower becomes very important. While eating fewer calories than your basal metabolic rate (if done appropriately) will help you lose weight, this is highly difficult if your diet is filled with processed foods.
Unfortunately, many processed foods strip the fiber and water content out of foods, meaning that they are digested faster and leave people unsatisfied. Eating more fibrous foods, such as fruits and vegetables, will help you stay fuller for longer and allow you to eat fewer calories to feel full.
Additionally, other complex carbohydrates also are released into the bloodstream more slowly, allowing people to feel longer. If overeating or lack of self-control is an issue, eating high-fiber foods is a great solution.
I’ve witnessed this principle in action in my personal practice. For example, I just ran into a colleague who lost 30 pounds over the past six months. He looked great, and I asked what he had been doing and how he had found success.
He explained that he had read just a few of my blogs about eating healthy and followed my lead on eating more naturally and “crowding out” processed foods slowly over time. He has been filling up on smoothies for breakfast and big salads for lunch and dinner. He supplements his diet all day with fruits. He says he is never hungry and now has more energy than ever!
Overall, what you eat greatly influences how much you are likely to eat.
Why Healthy Eating Is Becoming so Popular
If the rise of diet fads indicates anything, it’s that people are searching for healthier solutions to the processed foods we eat every day.
Everywhere I go, I notice people who avoid sandwiches and processed carbs by ordering healthy salads and entrees without bread, pasta, rice, and starches.
While traveling to the West Coast several years ago, I noticed that most restaurants, convenience stores, and food outlets offer healthy smoothies, vegetarian options, and natural foods. These healthy offerings were ubiquitous on every menu, sign, and advertisement.
This obviously makes it easier for people to choose healthy options and the people in that area seemed healthier, thinner, and more vibrant.
In some ways, the move to greener and healthier options represents two significant shortcomings of fad diets. First, they simply are not as effective as eating healthy foods and adopting healthy eating habits.
Secondly, many diet fads are not convenient, especially for people on the go. For example, someone on the keto diet has very few options for eating at a takeout restaurant aside from taking the bun off of their burger. Even getting fruits or a salad with dressing can cause them to abandon ketosis.
Instead, adopting healthy habits like eating healthy foods with better nutritional content and eating food more slowly can lead to better results.
5 Healthy Eating Habits that Lead to Weight Loss
This leads me to another important point: how you eat your food is just as important as what you eat.
This may be a surprise to modern Americans conditioned on indulgence instead of austerity.
However, managing weight loss and eating healthy comes with adopting the right habits. Here are five important healthy eating habits that everyone should adopt to be more healthy.
Limit sugar intake
One reason to read labels is to avoid sugar, which is a fast-acting carbohydrate that can spike insulin levels, damage the gut, and make us crave more food. Replacing sugar with complex carbs will not only curb cravings but also give you more essential nutrients.
Supplement meals with high-fiber foods
If you’re looking for a quick snack or meal to curb cravings, opt for a high-fiber vegetable or fruit. Fiber is great for digestion and is more slowly absorbed by the bloodstream, helping us feel fuller for longer.
Hydrate before meals
Another way to cheat your body and feel fuller with fewer calories is to consume more water before meals. Water fills our stomachs, slows digestion in our stomach, and helps us feel fuller while giving us much-needed hydration.
Consume meals slowly
According to research, it takes up to 20 minutes for our bodies to signal to our brains that we are full. Unfortunately, by eating as quickly as possible, we bypass this mechanism and consume more than our bodies are willing to handle. Overeating doesn’t just put your diet at risk but could lead to digestive issues, such as reflux and gallbladder issues.
Eat More High-Protein Foods
Supplementing heavy-calorie meals with high-protein meals is a great way to feel satiated faster and also stimulate ATP production in cells that help burn more calories. Thanks to the latter, adding more protein to meals can help you burn more calories at rest.
However, I highly suggest eating plant-based proteins that are not high in saturated fats and give you all of your necessary vitamins and minerals.
You have already arrived at my program website for Seriously Simple Steps, which covers the topic of eating healthy foods throughout the program, and provides more detailed lists of the types of foods you can consume to help you reach your weight and fitness goals. Check out the program today!
You Can’t Shortcut Weight Loss
As I’ve witnessed in my practice, fad diets are highly unsustainable and sometimes dangerous. Now, this doesn’t mean some diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are bad diets, but that eating a balanced diet and adopting healthy eating habits are just as important for weight loss.
Most importantly, there is no magic pill or smoothie to promote total weight loss. Physical health, like mental health, requires adopting a disciplined and balanced approach that may take months, if not years, to achieve that payout we all desire.
However, we should be thankful that by adopting these healthy habits, we can hold onto them for life and use them in other areas in our life that would not be possible if dieting was as easy as taking a pill or eating the same protein shake day in and day out.
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