What diet is right for you?

That’s a wrap!

With 2016 becoming a sweet memory, many of you are starting to think about how you’re going to shed your holiday pounds when the clock strikes 12.  Even if you have a basic idea of what you need to do, there is always that nagging suspicion that there is a magic pill that you don’t know about.  Trends and fads have dominated the nutrition industry before any of us were even born.  I have a special soap box that I reserve for rants about “diets” and I’m about to dust it off for one last time this year.

We are still living in a protein obsessed world.  It seems as though most diet trends are still glorifying protein and healthy fats while demonizing carbs.  Most plans are macronutrient focused while paying little attention to vitamins and minerals.  I love staying positive in my posts and I try to be the silver lining queen 90% of the time, but I’d like to finish off 2016 by sharing my top 3 most overrated diets of 2016:

Paleo:

What is Paleo?

AKA The Caveman Diet, this plan **ahem, lifestyle** encourages you to eat like a hunter/gatherer.  This means no potatoes, corn, grains, cheese, sugar, etc.   While I haven’t seen anyone tackle a wildebeast on this plan, I have seen many a recipes for almond meal banana bread and Paleo smoothies.  I wonder how Cavemen blended their coconut milk smoothies without electricity.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many great, healthy recipes that fall within Paleo guidelines.  I even have some Paleo style cookbooks that I love.  But the plan as a whole can be a little silly.  For example, many Paleo recipes have you replace a traditional ingredient with almond meal instead.  While almonds are good for you in moderation, they actually contain oxalates that bond to minerals preventing them from being absorbable in your body.  So, in high volume, almond meal contains too many “anti-nutrients”.   Plus, no potatoes? I die.

According to an article in Oxygen Magazine, following a strict Paleo plan may significantly reduce your intake of thiamine, calcium and riboflavin.  You could supplement with a vitamin (although I’m pretty sure hunter-gatherers weren’t taking Flintstone’s chewables).  Plus, when possible you’re better getting your nutrients from a well balanced whole food diet.

 

IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros)

This diet isn’t all bad.  When done correctly, many have experienced favorable results both nutritionally and on the scale.  The problem with the format of this diet is that the primary rules leave much room for self sabotage.

I can macro it in.

What is IIFYM?

The diet takes into account a predetermined ratio of what balance of macronutrients you should consume (Protein/Fat/Carbs) within a designated number of calories based on your height, weight and goal.  Once you have your numbers, you basically eat anything you want so long as it fits within your macros.  If you follow this plan while incorporating fresh fruits and veggies and other high quality foods, then you should feel great.  However, many lean to highly processed, nutrient void foods.  I’ve seen people macro in Oreos and Pop Tarts, then at the end of the day when fat and carbs are up, they pour a carton of egg whites into a skillet with some spray on Pam and eat a giant protein pancake before bed.  They have now followed the basic “rules” of a plan but consumed almost no vitamins or minerals.

The HCG Diet

This wins the award for the one I hate the most.  Anytime I meet with someone who is on it I cringe.  Especially if it’s under the recommendation of their doctor.  I will never ever advise someone to not follow doctors orders, however…it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion from another qualified professional (especially if you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right).

What is the HCG Diet?

The HCG Diet combines hormone injections of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) with extreme calorie restriction (500 calories per day limit).  HCG is a hormone that pregnant women produce to support fertility and egg development.

Why I hate it:

Extreme calorie restriction is such a temporary and dangerous weight loss method.  Your body loses fat and muscle and is depleted of vital nutrients.  While you may experience extreme results quickly, you will also notice thinning hair, chronic fatigue and mood swings.  When you lose muscle mass quickly, you also weaken your body’s vital systems like your cardiovascular and respiratory system.  You are essential destroying your metabolism for the future as well.  Many people try purchasing HCG through unregulated (illegal) sources which can be even more dangerous.  Even those who administer HCG legally are required to provide the following statement:

“HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity.  There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Stepping off soapbox.

So what the heck should you eat in 2017?

  1. Real Food.  Nothing should be entirely off limits unless you have an allergy to it. 90% (or more) of what you eat should not be coming from a box with a list of instructions.
  2. Proper portions.  Your body does an amazing job of telling you how much is enough.  If you don’t know where to begin with portion size, start small, eat slow, go for seconds if you must.
  3. Slow down! Just like I mentioned in #2.  Chew slowly and completely.  If you aren’t in Navy Seal training then stop eating like you are.

If you do better with specific guidelines in order to keep your nutrition in balance, then check out my monthly meal plans or the 21 Day DO-IT tab on this site.  You’ll find shopping lists, recipes and meal ideas that fit within a well balanced, nutrient rich plan that will help you accomplish your fitness goals.

Don’t forget to move!  Exercise will help you shape the body that you want.  It will help protect your metabolism and keep you energized both mentally and physically.

Go Celebrate!

It’s the last day of the year!  Finish it with a bang 🙂 Let’s get one more workout in before the clock strikes 12.  Whether you’re going out or staying in, this barre workout will complement  your favorite cocktail dress or your coziest sweats!

 

Cheers to 2016! I will see you on the other side 😉

 

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