When it comes to getting fit, it seems like everyone has their own ideas of how it should be done. One of the biggest ways is through dieting. Everyday it seems like there is a new, exciting diet that everyone is trying. However, more often than not – the people who try them end up either gaining the weight they lost right back or more unhealthy than they were before. The biggest reason a lot of these diets don’t work is because people are doing it for the wrong reasons – their goal is not to be healthy, it is to look good, which sometimes does not equal the same thing. Being healthy can come in all different shapes and sizes. Just because someone is skinny does not exactly mean that they have a healthy diet or lifestyle. The same goes for people who do not fit the American beauty standard, they might have an active lifestyle and eat well and still have a full shape. Adopting a diet that works well for your personal needs is important, that’s why we’re going to break down popular diets and talk about their benefits and their pitfalls so dieters can make their own decisions on which diet plan works best for them.
The Keto Diet
First, we’ll cover the keto diet. The ketogenic diet has been around for a long time but it has recently risen to popularity because it allows for some foods that many other diets prohibit such as fatty meats. Keto emphasises eating lots of healthy fats. It is meant to encourage the body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates. The diet attempts to get your body to go into ketosis, hence the name. In ketosis, your body is breaking down body fat stores and burning those to create energy rather than sugars from carbs. The body prefers to use the sugars for fuel rather than the precious body fat stores so it will only do so if that is it’s only option. Thus, the keto diet is all about low-carb, high protein. On keto, there are no grains, starchy vegetables and high-sugar fruits, sweetened yogurt, juices, honey, syrup or sugar in any form, chips and crackers or baked goods (including gluten-free baked goods) allowed. Because it does not allow for any baked goods or breads, the keto diet oftentimes gets the name the “caveman diet” because many of the foods on the list of acceptable foods are what a caveman would have had in his diet – lots of meat, nuts and leafy vegetables. The downside to this diet is that it doesn’t quite fit into our American culture. Carbs make up about 50% of our average diet and our cravings do not stop just because we want them to. Traditional American meals usually revolve around some kind of carb, whether it be pastas, biscuits, cookies, or something of the like. As with many kinds of diets, lots of people can not sustain the diet and fall back into old habits.
Another common dieting tactic is juice cleansing. A juice cleanse usually consists of a set amount of days in which a person’s only nutrients and substance come from a set amount of cold-pressed juices or nut milks. These cleanses are supposed to detoxify the body from preservatives and flush it full of natural sugars and nutrients. However, for most, going cold turkey from alcohol and fast food to an all liquid juice diet can cause quite a shock to the system. Many report lack of energy, headaches, aches, irritation, anxiety, and diarrhea, among others symptoms while on their juice cleanse. The problem many people run into is not so different from the keto diet. People initially lose weight because they are consuming a substantially smaller amount of calories but then finish the cleanse and regain it all once they “yo-yo” back into their old eating habits. Even still, ingesting huge amounts of juice can be very high in sugar and can be bad for people with certain kidney issues.
In the end, there is really only one real diet that works. That is just adopting a healthy lifestyle, one that includes regular exercise and lots of fruits and vegetables. There are no really healthy ways to lose weight and losing weight should not be the ultimate goal, it should be to just simply be healthy, having a nice figure should just be an added benefit not the ultimate goal. Rather than watching the scale, instead spend your time grabbing a fenix flashlight and go for a night hike to go watch the stars. Only when you are considering the health of your body, not simply it’s body mass index, can you find a healthy, sustainable diet and exercise plan that works for you. Then, those indulges of chocolate and ice cream can really be enjoyed, rather than spurning a guilt spiral.