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Holy crap, it’s already 2012!  I hope you all had an extremely successful year and plan to have another one.  Judging by the influx of new members at the gym I think it is safe to say that a common resolution is diet their ass off (literally) and exercise (hopefully for strength but that is another story).

This is the time of year when brilliant marketing and clever sales people will try to target consumers with the latest fad diet craze.  How do they do it?  Fancy studies?  Buff models?  Unrealistic before and after photos?  Celebrity spokes people?  Ding, ding, ding, ding ding!  If you answered d) All of the above, you win a prize for being a smart consumer!

Don’t feel bad though, it’s not your fault.  When it comes down to it, you could probably sell Eskimos on “The Snow Cone Fat Loss Diet”.  Note to self: create the Snow Con…..  Anyways I’m sure you have all been sold or at least tried a fad diet at some point.

So, What Exactly Is A “Fad” Diet?

Chances are that if you have ever tried a diet that:

  1. Promised that you will lose all unwanted body fat in 3 weeks or your money back.
  2. Claims you can “trick” your metabolism into burning extra calories from fat.
  3. Has you cleanse, crap, or starve yourself into weight loss.
  4. Doesn’t allow you to eat a healthy variety of whole foods.

then you have been on a fad diet.

Basically fad diets are the “quick-fix” diets that procure exorbitant results.  You can go all low-carb, high-fat, Atkins, eat grapefruit, cleanse with maple syrup and lemon juice (never understood that one), and drink all the rhino blood you want and still not lose weight. If anyone is seriously able to stay on one of these deprivation diets and actually keep of weight then EVERYONE would be doing the same thing.  PERIOD!

I’m sure that this includes whatever diet Snooki just went on to dip below 100 pounds.  Not to mention the Zantrex which has side effects of jitteriness, hair loss, insomnia, vomiting, become a sloppy drunk, excessive tanning and an uncontrollable urge to fist pump….wait that explains it!

No comment. Good for her though...

The problem is that no matter how appealing losing 30lbs in 30days is, it is not realistic for long-term weight loss and health.  Especially if they don’t incorporate a balanced diet and plenty of physical exercise.

Variety Is Key

Just like your Prius needs proper gas to run efficiently, your body needs proper nutrients and a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat.  Each vitamin and mineral you consume (Eat More Kale!) regulates a bodily process.  Vitamin A for your skin, vitamin C to protect against infection, vitamin E for your immune system blah, blah, blah.

I’m sure you all know that vitamins are good for your body.  The problem with going on a restriction diet you a)risk getting sick and b)reduce your body’s efficiency to burn fat, stay healthy, run a mile without getting a cramp and/or deadlift a Buick.

Side story:  My first “diet” experience came when I first starting lifting weights a little over a decade ago.  I used to read Men’s Health like it was the bible and was bombarded by a book called the Abs Diet in each issue.  Being an adolescent who’s main focus was getting the abz I bought the book.

Luckily it was more of a compendium on how/what to eat than an actual diet.  I don’t remember if there was much on the end of how much to eat (I’m sure there was) but I do remember the foods that it said to completely inundate your entire day with.  The acronym was ABS DIET POWER 12.

The 10 (or so) Commandments

The catch?  Absolutely nothing.  All you do is follow this nutritional foundation, eating a little from each category. There was no “tricking” my metabolism, losing 30lbs of fat in 30 days, gave me a hyooge variety of foods.  I was eating more than I ever had, about 6 times a day as was the tenet back then, and packed on over 30 pounds of lean muscle after highschool, got shredded and picked up all the hot girls.  Well, maybe not the last one.

Again, this is not the Snooki diet.  It is a way to learn how/what to eat without going on a fad or crash diet.

Practice Portion Control

The Abs Diet gave me my nutritional foundation but there is butt loads of research out there that says the types of food is NOT the only reason for America’s epic weight issue.  At the end of the day, calories have EVERYTHING to do on whether or not you are able to gain, lose or maintain weight.

Chances are your portions suck.  You eat too much at home.  Way too much at restuarants.  If you are still eating fast food then your are pretty much screwed.  Portions of things like burgers, tacos, *chicken breasts, as well as our perception of “the side dish” is almost 3 times what they were in the 50s and 60s.

I wrote a post on this a while back so I will have to search for it but KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES YOUR ARE PUTTING IN YOUR FRICKIN BODY DAMMIT.  WITHOUT THIS YOU ARE DOOMED TO FAIL.  IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE EATING THAT HAS MADE YOU FAT IT IS GOING TO BE HARD AS HELL TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET NOT FAT.  Just sayin’.

Don’t Be a Sucker For a Fad

The best diet is actually not a diet at all but a way of life that allows you to “eat to live”, as you enjoy healthy food, exercise and optimal health.

Chances are if you need to lose some fat, your exercising and you haven’t lost a pound then you are eating too much still.  If you aren’t willing to give up a few calories daily then you won’t lose fat.  Simple.

Here are THE BEST ways to eat healthy AND lose fat:

  • Eat a variety of foods.  Probably more protein and less carbs.  Move veggies and less grains.  Done.
  • S-M-A-L-L-E-R portions. If you have to go back for seconds, jack up the veggies.
  • Eat less calories.  Make sure to eat enough protein/healthy fatIF  to maintain/build muscle otherwise you fail.
  • If you MUST have a large portion, make it all veggies.  Getting the picture?
  • Snack on berries, nuts, and protein.  Start here, you can’t screw this up.
  • Avoid ALL empty calories.  Shitty drinks, carby snacks, starchy breads.  NO JUNK FOOD.
  • Drink between 1 and 2 gallons of water a day.  This is non-negotiable.

Once you have successfully re-learned how to eat like a normal human being you may scoff at all fad diets, beat on your chest like King Kong and then dive face first into a nice slice of chocolate-peanutbutter cheesecake.  Done and done.


Written by Steve