Last week, I was scrolling through the news topics on Yahoo and, as always, one of the health highlights caught my eye. A self-proclaimed “yo-yo dieter” wrote an article about his unsuccessful attempts at losing weight and staying on a diet; nothing new since so many people are always searching for the instant-magic pill that solves all weight and food issues (spoiler: there is no such thing). However, this guy decided to try out 10 diets in 50 days; these were only diets that were made up of “real” food with no shakes, pills, or cleanses; he switched diets every 5 days and recorded his weight loss with each of them.
Want to know how many red flags were shooting out of my head by the end of paragraph 3?! Here:
1.) 10 Diets. 10!
Since when did we start to coin the way we eat? I bet 5,000 years ago, people didn’t argue over the ‘right’ way to eat. Thanks to science, new foods have been created and marketed with one goal in mind: money. And then the government takes over and promotes guidelines for us to follow so we stay healthy, yet the base of the pyramid is full of man-made-chemcical creations (aka bread, pasta…) that plugs money back into the system. All these diets go against what the government and it’s experts promote. Confused? Yeah, I always am, too. What about real food without nutrition labels? Why is that food ‘set’ for us to eat at lower percentages than the Frankenfood? Just think of how many diets are out there… Too many.
2.) What was he eating prior to this?
Yes, he lost 25 pounds in 50 days. Did he have his body fat tested before to see if what he lost was muscle (a lot of the diets had minimal protein), water-weight, or fat? When we step on a scale, it reads our bodies as one whole piece and can’t tell us the important information such as visceral fat (bad!), subcutaneous fat, bone density, etc. If he was eating high-carb and high-fat prior to starting these diets, he most likely lost a lot of water weight. If he was eating a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs, then he may have lost a good amount of muscle when he switched. Delving deeper into his past could reveal a lot!
3.) 5 Days is like a grain of sand on the beach.
Think of how many time throughout our lifetime we eat. I eat about 5 meals a day, 7 times a week, 4 weeks per month; that’s 140 times I spend eating in one month. Now multiply that by how many years you’ve lived – we eat a lot! 5 days of dieting does not give our bodies a chance to adjust to the food we are eating, let alone 50 days! When we introduce new things into our bodies, they can be rejected for a while until we get used to continually doing it. Think of it like walking. We don’t just stand up one day and learn to coordinate our arms and legs to move in a perfect gait. One meal we eat is like a small grain of sand on a beach… you need many many grains to make a sand castle!
4.) How did his stomach hold up?
There are a couple diets that he tries which are all liquid. Not to go into too much detail on this topic, but I hope he carried air freshener around with him.
5.) His problem of ‘boredom with diets’ needs addressed.
Yo-Yo Dieting is such an awful experience and many people who have been through this usually have some other issues that need to be dealt with before committing to more quick-fixes. Eating creates chemical reactions in the brain that give us that feeling of being happy and help us feel satisfied and full. The majority of the time, people’s hormones are not functioning to their peak potential, so the chemicals don’t fire properly and we can’t seem to control the food we put in our mouth (and tons of other problems besides food). Many times, the other issues in our life (stress, emotion, stress, drama, did I say stress?) can be fixed and we can learn to feel better about other areas in life. We have control on what we eat, so it’s an easy outlet to feel like we are in charge; whereas you may not always feel in charge in other areas like your job, living situation, traffic, etc. So we take it out on our food – emotional eating, anyone? When we don’t feel in control in the other areas of life, it feels good to be the boss of feeding yourself. BUT, you are in control of every situation in life. It’s your life and you can change it (that’s a whole other topic).
6.) Thanks for continuing the viscous cycle!
For those who are constantly searching for the next fad weight loss trial, this author just plugged 10 more failing diet plans into all the reader’s heads. “Oh, he lost 5 pounds eating Special K for some meals in 5 days. Now I can lose 20 pounds in one month by eating cereal!”. Sigh, if only it worked that way. You can’t expect to get results if what you put in your mouth is a temporary fix. Your weight change will also only be temporary.
The bottom line is that we need to make smart decisions with every meal and realize that we are either eating towards health or we are eating towards sickness. It’s a little extreme, but if we can fill up our healthy cup more than our sickness cup, you will be on a path towards a disease-free life.
He did make great points throughout the article, but those can be easily overlooked by the reader searching how to lose weight fast. His last paragraph states, “It is not so much a diet, as a way of life; a basic principle that you should stick to”. He saved the best point for last, but it may be too late for many people to listen to those ever important words.