Fake news takes many forms.
My whole career I’ve been cobbling together damning evidence of weight loss lies from “reputable” sources. I’m talking about everything from an ab-belt that magically electrocutes your muscles into a six pack, to the obscure caffeine laced spanx that ‘destroy fat cells.’ These items should stand out as fake to even the least sophisticated individual, and it’s easy to mock those who open their wallet for obvious scams. But what about when you get bad information from from more credible sources like medical professionals or popular weight loss programs?
Consider these examples:
A 300+ pound client whose doctor told her to eat 1000/calories day.
Doctors go to school a long time, gain expertise and experience in a variety of areas, and are stretched thin at practices across the country. This recommendation, however, is extremely dangerous and I hear similar stories often enough. A 1000 calorie per day diet is the amount of food recommended for a sedentary 3 year old. Even with ideal nutritional balance, it could still be detrimental to all sorts or biological systems including metabolism. A doctor throwing out a round number that sounds good is both reckless and lazy.
Nutrisystem/Medifast customers buying diet shakes as opposed to eating real food.
In general, we know that processed food is unhealthy. But what if it’s being sold by a popular weight loss company making big promises? Well in that case it’s still bad for you, but at least someone is making money off of your good intentions. When food comes in processed forms, that means the body has to do less digestion work and absorbs a higher percentage of calories from that food. Don’t buy disgusting shakes to lose weight.
Whole 30 dieters who immediately gain all their weight back.
One year ago, this diet was all the rage and clients brought it up to me at least once per week. It’s a simple program. By simple I mean you stop eating all dairy, grains, legumes, and alcohol for 30 days. Then after all your friends abandon you because you’re impossible to hang out with, you adopt three cats, one for each of the meals you dread every day. There is a low track record the sustainability of this diet, which is why it was ranked almost last in the USNews Best diets for 2019.
Weight loss is a major concern for people all over the world. I work daily to move my clients toward better control of their weight. I know the frustrations many have had their whole lives, always thinking about their size, always looking for a cure and anxious to see results. It’s in their minds while dining out with friends, shopping for clothes, any time there’s a photo being taken, and even getting on an airplane or in a car.
When it’s this all encompassing, it makes sense why people would flock to seemingly credible doctors, weight loss in a can, or fad diets marketed on instagram. Nationwide there are millions of dollars being spent to sell these easy answers. Eat like the caveman, eat specific for your blood type, don’t eat fruit, avoid the color “white.” Which one works?
It Should Be Painful Right?
Whenever we want to make a big change in our lives it’s natural to expect that it’ll be really hard. If you’re just getting started with weight lifting, you’re going to be sore. If you are a first time home buyer, you’re gonna get frustrated with household repairs. Comparing these two examples, one is physical toil and one is mental toil. The hard work from changing your diet shouldn’t be phsyical, it should fit the learning curve example. Tracking your calories, planning your food each day, and stocking your home and workplace with healthy, delicious foods requires patience and knowledge. It doesn’t involve skipping meals, going to bed hungry, or drinking weird shakes.
A Closer Look at the Evidence
What’s the answer according to the experts?
Don’t Starve Yourself
Research measuring resting metabolic rate (RMR), essentially your body’s ability to burn calories, shows that cutting calories too deeply decreases your RMR. This is what crash dieting is and it’s why I recommend my clients average a weekly weight loss of .5 to 2 lbs. per week. It usually reflects sustainable change.
It’s not Complicated
When someone offers you overly simplistic advice or you come across clickbait centered around weight loss, pass. I’m talking about articles with ‘one weird trick’ in the headline, or any supplements Dr. Oz has been sued for. You have to eat real food to achieve healthy weight loss. There is no special ointment or elixir. Anyone who recommends such things is probably a witch and should be thrown off of a cliff. If they fall to their death blame me and if they fly away you’ll know I was right.
Eating is the New Dieting
Here’s your counter-intuitive lesson for the week. Rather than cutting out food from your diet, weight loss works best when you focus on adding in the foods you know you should be eating. The reward is that you don’t have to starve, there are just some basic concepts you need to embrace.
- 5 Servings of Vegetables Per Day. One serving is equal to a half cup of chopped veggies like carrots or a full cup of leafy greens like spinach. You know which vegetables you like and which ones you don’t, so buy the vegetables that make you like to eat and devour the shit out of them.
- Slow down. This is good advice for people looking to lose weight or just to stop grossing out people around you. Eating until you’re stuffed will always get in the way of weight loss and slowing the speed at which you eat helps tremendously. Noone needs to hear the wind whistling out of you as you cram in food.
- Eat more lean protein. If you think you’re eating enough, you’re probably wrong. Precision Nutrition, a world leader in exercise and performance nutrition gives this recommendation: Two palms per meal for men, one palm for women. One palm equals approximately 20-30g. This will help you boost your metabolism, increase muscle, aid in recovery, all which leads to reducing your body fat.
These three habits alone will give you the tremendous bang for your buck and none of them involve not eating. As with all habits, slow and steady wins the race. Take the items one at a time and move to the next one as you get comfortable. Planning ahead will help. Some people even prefer to plan all their meals out a week at a time, although that’s not necessary. You’ll find what works for you.
Most people know the basics and it’s easy to make fun of those who don’t. Applying the lessons is another thing together. I’m happy to help you improve your eating and meet your weight loss goals. If you want help becoming and expert in losing weight and eating lots of delicious food please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to every email.