So you’ve decided to go on a diet. That’s great news, and I wish you the best of luck! I’m guessing that you are following a diet that has become popular these days. Perhaps you’ve seen it blasted all over your social media, blogs, or on the news. While these popular diets can be enticing with all of their “before and after” photos and success stories, that doesn’t mean that everything is rosy. With every diet, there are potential pitfalls.
Today I’ll go over some of the most popular diets, what things to know about them (in terms of the bad), and how you can overcome them to live your healthiest life while trying to lose weight.
Avoid These Pitfalls With Popular Diets
This topic came to mind when reading this article on CNN.com, so credit to them for the inspiration as well as much of the info. I encourage you to visit their article for more detail, which I’ll be summarizing below.
Any diet that makes health claims is something that you should be wary of. Simply put, all of the newer ones are far too recent to have any kind of long-term studies done on them yet. Also, they fall into a trap of you think of yourself being virtuous. Oh, these fries are gluten-free – I can eat a lot of them! That’s where the trouble begins. When you think that something is allowed in your diet, it can lead to you overeating that food, and you’ll go overboard on your calorie count which is the opposite of what you want in any diet. You’ll end up gaining weight, the opposite of what you want, and get discouraged. It is why many diets fail.
Low-Fat / Reduced-Fat / Fat-Free
This falls under the same pitfall as above with the gluten-free diet. You think that just because something is fat-free or low in fat, that it is OK to eat it. That creates the urge to just keep eating it, thinking that it is OK. Just like with the above-mentioned diet, you run the risk of overeating and consuming way too many calories. Another caution when it comes to fat-free or low-fat foods is that they are often loaded with sugar (fat-free yogurt, for instance).
One interesting point in the CNN article is that low-fat foods can also be a cause of obesity. This is because people look for junk food that is labeled “fat-free” or “low fat” and gorge themselves on it. Just because it has that label, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still junk food. Don’t fall for the marketing.
While eating organic foods means that you will avoid pesticides and other chemicals, and is overall better for the environment, that doesn’t mean that those foods don’t contain calories just like all other foods. The term “organic” on the label can be a distraction from the nutritional value of the food. Be sure to always read the nutritional label on the packaging and make sure it is healthy for you. Just because it is organic, that doesn’t mean that it is a building block of a healthy diet.
All of these diets – and I can go on and apply the same reasoning to other popular diets – mask the caloric value of the allowable foods. Just because something fits the terms of whatever diet you are on, that doesn’t mean it is open season to eat as much of those foods as you’d like. Any successful diet plan will include discipline in terms of calorie count, as a caloric deficit (eating fewer calories, and burning more calories) is the only tried and tested way to lose weight.