If you can name a diet invented in the past 40 years, chances are I have tried it: from low-fat diets, low-carb diets, liquid diets, hard boiled egg diets, and the grapefruit diet. Some of it worked at first, but the thing about fad diets is that they soon become inconvenient, boring, or extremely difficult to sustain long-term…
The phrase above is a paraphrase from a book – Good health, Good life, written by my mama, Joyce Meyer. I wanted to begin with it because it perfectly captures my thoughts about fad diets.
In my fitness consulting journey, I have come across people who have tried all sorts of diets to lose weight. There is the Cambridge diet, the Atkins diet, the Paleo diet, Keto diet, and so much more. What irks me the most is how expensive some of these diets are.
Let’s begin with water therapy
Some time ago, I was speaking at a ‘men’s only’ event, and one of the men asked me if I had heard about the water therapy. He was referring to a diet that involved only water. I couldn’t believe it but not only was there such a thing as that, but he had also done this diet/therapy for a few weeks. As in, he was only water.
He said he did it because he wanted to lose weight.
Can you imagine?! He subsequently shared how the water therapy resulted in a couple of fainting spells and had to end it.
Sound the alarm
I wish I could explain to people that even though weight loss can be notoriously hard, we can go about it in such a way that it doesn’t get harder than it should be. More importantly, in a way that we won’t only get results but will actually be sustainable.
Let me put it this way: Any diet you get on that is not sustainable is a fad diet.
A fad diet is any diet that promises results (usually within a relatively short time), is usually drastic, maybe gives results (where faithfully applied), but lacks sustainability, which ultimately cancels out any results you got.
You see, what is a fad diet for me may not be a fad diet for you…
Shall we get on the keto diet segment of the table for 2 quick seconds? I am choosing the keto diet as it is most popular in Nigeria and so a lot would relate to it. I am not necessarily knocking it. Matter of fact, I find it fascinating.
Most people would think of Keto as a fad diet, but it isn’t. The keto diet is one that is recommended by nutritionists in some cases, and can not just produce results but may save someone’s life
Let me break this down…
The keto diet is a low to no-carbs diet and trust me, that stuff is hard! especially in Nigeria where all our staples are Carbs. However, weight loss is not enough motivation to get on the keto diet. However, if that is the only reason for starting the keto diet, you may find it difficult to sustain. You need a higher force to ensure you stay on track.
There are some serious health conditions that a keto diet would help take care of like celiac disease, epilepsy, diabetes and the likes. There are some whose bodies cannot process carbohydrate properly, and by the process, I mean their quality of life becomes grossly affected and, in some cases, death may occur, so they have to be of most if not all carbs.
Not about keto
You see, that’s strong enough motivation for someone to be on the Keto diet. It is a literal matter of life or death, not just weight loss
In other cases, even without a health condition, some people are so disciplined and really into their health and so can handle being on a Ketogenic diet. They didn’t just jump into It but have taken their time to study and see how to make it work for them.
It wasn’t just that they wanted to lose weight, heard about Keto, saw someone who did keto and lost weight and jumped right into it bristling with half-baked knowledge
Note to keto wannabes
My sister, we are all dating and in love with Carbs in this country and you can’t just wake up one day and give it up on a whim.
For a lot of people who jump into the keto diet, they underestimate just how much discipline it requires. And for most people who need to lose weight, discipline is a major problem. So what you really need to do is not jump in on the bandwagon, it is to gain some discipline.
The lack of discipline, plus a gap in knowledge and an excessive desire to achieve results fast is a bad combination and unfortunately, those who engage in fad diets are guilty of all three
What that means is that you won’t get the results that you so desire.
Results are possible
Now don’t get me wrong; just like Joyce Meyer, you may get some results from diets but any results that cannot be sustained for the long run (actually for life) should not be seen as that.
To lose weight, you need discipline knowledge and patience.
If you get a hold on all 3, you will be better informed on what the best diet plan is for you. Then you can follow it long enough to see results, This works, whether you choose the keto diet, the paleo diet or even the hard-boiled eggs diet.
The water therapy though, frankly I find it useless and dangerous.
My Professional advice
However, as a professional and in practice, if weight loss is the goal for a healthy client, then I don’t exclude any food group. You need your carbs, your fats and oils, your protein, your dairy and of course fruits and vegetables, not just in the right portions, but also in the right frequency. You also need treats occasionally. Meaning that there are some foods you can afford to eat every day, but some should fly once a week or a month
Once you figure out right portions to have and the frequency of consumption of everything, then you are well on your way to losing weight the right and sustainable way.
And if all of that seems hard and technical. Just hire a Coach.