Currently in the U.S. it is estimated that 66% of the population is on a diet; more than 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese; the weight loss industry is $66.3 billion industry. What gives? We seem so entrenched in an activity that should yield a ton of result yet the numbers continue to grow in the wrong direction. Do we really have any idea about what to do or are we just clinging on to the hope that this too shall pass? Let’s examine this.
Diets Don’t Work
It’s almost cliché now but whenever the discussion revolves around going on a diet someone will unequivocally say don’t waste your time – diets don’t work! Yet billions of dollars are spent on books and programs each year defiant to that statement. Truth be told, diets don’t work. They’re not even programmed to do so. They’re designed around some sort of gimmick that will initially cause a positive change, whether it be dismissing a food group, a component of a food group, or particular items that are somehow the demise of our plight. They’re “endorsed” by celebrity doctors, lab rats, or anyone else they can make to look or sound convincing. Beyond that, there isn’t a morsel of truth to what they promise or deliver. But…
Diets Do Work
Yes they can and will. IF you find one you like; IF you can follow them for all eternity; IF they become your lifestyle; IF you throw all intuition and knowledge out the window. They will work and serve you well until any or all of the aforementioned takes a turn in the other direction. Hopping from diet to diet doesn’t count and often times is why people fail so much. They’re not livable, repeatable, or palatable long term. But find one that meets all that criteria and your home free. There’s nothing magical about them except….
The Joke is On You
Dietary success is strictly due to control of caloric (energy) intake. That’s it. There’s no magical combination of nutrients; no special bundle of macronutrient uptake; no magic timing of nutrient uptake, etc. It’s as simple as calories in vs calories out. Take in more than your body can assimilate over time and you will gain weight. Successful management of what you take in over time and you will have better control over what you gain. Most if not everyone has no idea just how many calories it takes to run them. Yet they’re easily willing to cut calories because eating less must be better, right? Wrong! Cutting calories with no idea what the numbers even mean is like throwing darts with a blindfold. You’ll be lucky to hit the target. It’s arbitrary and while some might have success many will not and the cycle of dieting, not dieting begins which is the real problem here. Rather than blame or hate on a diet, take charge of yourself by doing the following:
• Determine your BMR (basal metabolic rate). You’ll be getting a rough estimate but it’s a place to start.
• Track for about a week everything you put past your lips. You can use online services such as My Fitness Pal or LoseIt to track and record.
• Once you can determine how much you take in or don’t, develop a long term plan with mini goalposts along the way.
• Make small, subtle changes initially. This isn’t a race. This is more like a marathon. You’re in for the long haul so find what’s manageable and sustainable first with minimal effort.
• Incorporating exercise is a no-brainer but I can’t recommend enough that you include some sort of resistance training. Just as with the nutrition, start small and see what you’re able to tolerate initially.
• Hit cruise and go. Anything worthwhile is worth doing correctly. Diets promise quick fixes to long term problems. Slow it all down and realize it’s all within your control. It just takes a dedicated focus but one that will reap greater rewards.
Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.