Dieting will get you only so far

  • Extreme dieting: be careful when looking at fad dieting; instead recognise what works for your lifestyle and, most importantly, that you don't miss out on the six essential nutrients (File photograph)

    Extreme dieting: be careful when looking at fad dieting; instead recognise what works for your lifestyle and, most importantly, that you don't miss out on the six essential nutrients (File photograph)


Here we are, three weeks into the new year and hopefully still grinding and working towards our goals.

Are you still being honest with your efforts? Do you still hold yourself accountable? Have you been eating according to your goals? After all, you did promise to make 2020 your year, right? Eating according to your goals?

Let's talk about that today. I'm sure as 2020 approached you researched diets and what was trending, in an effort to help you eat better this year. Perfect.

Did you find something that works with your lifestyle? Or were you overwhelmed by the options or the many people preaching their way and results? One thing I've constantly reminded you of is that this is your lifestyle.

You have to find what works for you, trying as best you can to avoid extreme fad diets and focus on lifestyle changes.

How do you choose?

Fad diets typically promise weight loss by eliminating one or more of the essential food groups.

Fad diets usually recommend one or more types of food while demonising other food groups. The challenge of finding the pros and cons lays in the fact that all of them are right and wrong to some degree if not implemented with adequate knowledge of your nutritional needs.

How is this possible? OK let's dive deeper.

Our bodies need six essential nutrients: water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. If your diet requires you to significantly reduce or eliminate one of these essential nutrients, chances are it's a fad diet — all fad diets have a common goal of achieving a caloric deficit which in turn helps you lose weight.

A caloric deficit is any shortage in the amount of calories consumed, relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of your current body weight.

So basically, a caloric deficit is eating a little less than what you typically need to consume on a daily basis.

Let's take a look at some popular diets. The low carb, Keto, low fat, Paleo, clean eating, Whole 30 and raw food diets all restrict food choices — creating a caloric deficit.

Weight Watchers, Zone and flexible dieting meal plans all restrict food amounts, creating a caloric deficit.

Intermittent fasting simply restricts time available to eat — creating a caloric deficit.

Lastly, intuitive eating restricts the desire to binge or overeat and in turn ... creates a caloric deficit.

Now you see a common trend occurring here? Caloric deficit, lose weight.

Now the issue lies not in choosing a specific diet, but in not recognising what works for your lifestyle and, more importantly, ensuring you aren't significantly and permanently eliminating the six essential nutrients.

Once you understand the pros and cons of each fad diet you can use each diet as a temporary tool to achieve specific goals throughout your weight loss or weight gain journey.

They are all tools. So use them wisely. Try not to fall into the trap of extreme diets — quick results with little to no longevity. Remember that patience, making small changes and consistency will lead to long-term results.

Dre Hinds is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years' experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: absbydre@gmail.com or 599-0412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre

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Published Jan 22, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 22, 2020 at 8:09 am)

Dieting will get you only so far

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