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Why Restrictive Diets Don't Work | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » GoRunaMuck » Runners
yanah
yanah Jul 23

This is another article that I wrote on my blog and the reason I'm sharing it here is because it got a lot of positive feedback when I shared it on my social media a while back.


Many times, when people follow restrictive diets, they feel like they are in control of their destiny. Being able to stick to that diet for a long time is a sign of discipline and willpower, right? Wrong.


We are made to feel that if we are not on Diet X, Y, Z, then we will never reach out fitness goals. After all, if we are not depriving ourselves of treats then that means we are failures and we are doomed.


Promoters of fad diets often attempt to make us feel inferior and scare us into spending our hard-earned money on yet another gimmick.


Although in the short-term you will see your weight drop when you follow a restrictive diet, the negative consequences it will have on your health and metabolism in the long-term are just not worth it.


Personally, I am tired of the quick fixes and the gimmicks along with the misinformation associated with them.


Over the past several years, I’ve discovered an amazing secret that has helped many people lose weight, keep it off and get fit. Here’s the best part: it doesn’t require you to buy a special diet program and it also doesn’t take all the pleasure out of life (and food).


The secret to successfully losing weight, feeling great and enjoying life while doing it is balance. If you live a balanced lifestyle, which means a combination of eating healthy, exercising, enjoying the occasional treat without feeling guilty and taking a few rest days without beating yourself up, you are more likely to achieve your fitness goals.


Overall, restrictive and/or fad diets suck…and here is why:


1. They are not sustainable for life. Your body needs enough calories from a variety of healthy sources just to survive. You can’t live on grapefruit and lettuce alone and quite honestly-you wouldn’t want to.


2. They deprive you of valuable nutrients. You NEED protein, carbs and fats in your diet to survive. When I say carbs and fats, I don’t mean fast food. I mean unrefined carbohydrates and healthy unsaturated fats.


3. They take the joy out of life. Food is not your enemy. The way you view food when you follow a restrictive fad diet is the real enemy. It’s not healthy to constantly count calories and then beat yourself up if you slip up. It’s also not right to forego social events which involve enjoying food with your friends just because you are afraid to slip up.


4. They can be a drain on your wallet. Do you really think that buying a special diet pill will help you achieve your fitness goals fast? Notice how the label on almost every diet pill says: “For best results combine X, Y, Z with exercise”? Jeez, I wonder why?


5. There can be negative long-term consequences to your health. Since restrictive diets often eliminate important nutrients, you are more likely to experience hormonal imbalances and metabolic damage in the future. Hormonal imbalances can cause a variety of health problems.


I want you to take a moment and ask yourselves: Is short term-gain worth the long-term pain? If your answer is “no”, then I urge you to view fad diets as nothing but a way for their creators to make big profits at your expense.


Creators of fad diets prey on unsuspecting consumers who dream of achieving their fitness goals faster and with minimal effort. I hate to bear the bad news, but the truth is, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.


So, I’m going to keep doing the sport I love, while at the same time enjoying seeing the gradual improvements (and eating the occasional piece of cake, cookie, or burger).


Those who are looking to achieve their fitness goals do not need to eat less than 1200 calories a day, kill themselves for 2 hours in the gym 7 days a week, nor feel like a failure if they have not been able to do the aforementioned due to this thing called “living life”.


What we should be seeking to accomplish is a long-term, gradual lifestyle change without stressing ourselves out if we eat a cookie once in a while.

Moderation and consistency is key, my friends.

The Forum post is edited by yanah Jul 23
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Average_Jbob Original
Average_Jbob Jul 24
Another great article yanah.  I never got into 'fad diets' myself.  I find that if I simply eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm thirsty, and continue to stay active I'm doing pretty good.  As I have increased my activity level and become more serious about pushing my running abilities I've found that I have naturally become healthier about what I eat because my body craves healthier food.  It wasn't an 'overnight' transformation at all, but I just don't crave junk food like I used to and I believe it's because my mind knows that it doesn't have the nutrients that I need in order to repair from the run / workout I've done.  I've also learned from reading blogs from different endurance athletes that I look up to about what they do or don't eat and I've adopted what makes sense AND ignored what doesn't.  By listening to my own body and learning what it responds positively to I'm quite happy about where I am currently at!  I still eat meat, dairy, sugar, etc. . .but I moderate the portions based on where I am at my current training / race cycle!
johnnyquick
johnnyquick Jul 24
Excellent post.
I think anyone can have a good nutrition with food you already, not expensive pills or suplements. All nutrients are in vegetables and meat we already consume, just maybe have change some preparation methods if they are not healthy, but ingredientes are the same, and we can have delicious and healthy meals without buying expensive methods.
yanah
yanah Jul 26

Spartan_Jbob, you are definitely doing the right thing. Also, as you run more, you naturally start to get hungry more because your body needs the fuel. However, I find that the less junk food I have, the less my body craves it. I like to eat from a variety of food groups. Sadly, chocolate is not a food group on it's own!! HAHAHA.

There has to be a balance of proteins, cabs and healthy fats. I always want carbs though. If I could live on Ravioli, Gnocci, and spaghetti, I definitely would!

Quote from Spartan_Jbob Another great article yanah.  I never got into 'fad diets' myself.  I find that if I simply eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm thirsty, and continue to stay active I'm doing pretty good.  As I have increased my activity level and become more serious about pushing my running abilities I've found that I have naturally become healthier about what I eat because my body craves healthier food.  It wasn't an 'overnight' transformation at all, but I just don't crave junk food like I used to and I believe it's because my mind knows that it doesn't have the nutrients that I need in order to repair from the run / workout I've done.  I've also learned from reading blogs from different endurance athletes that I look up to about what they do or don't eat and I've adopted what makes sense AND ignored what doesn't.  By listening to my own body and learning what it responds positively to I'm quite happy about where I am currently at!  I still eat meat, dairy, sugar, etc. . .but I moderate the portions based on where I am at my current training / race cycle!

yanah
yanah Jul 26

Thanks, johnnyquick. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

I think that the reason why many people are looking for the easy way is because we as a society in general have become so busy. We are bombarded with information about the latest and greatest supplements and fad diets that will solve all our problems if we buy in. A lot of people also don't have time to cook so they resort to the quick and easy fast food. Unfortunately, there are no pills that I know of that we can take to get lean and fast without putting in other work.

When we look at what the elite athletes (runners like Shalane Flannagan) eat, we can see that her diet is very healthy.

Quote from johnnyquick Excellent post.
I think anyone can have a good nutrition with food you already, not expensive pills or suplements. All nutrients are in vegetables and meat we already consume, just maybe have change some preparation methods if they are not healthy, but ingredientes are the same, and we can have delicious and healthy meals without buying expensive methods.

SirDirk Original
SirDirk Aug 12
Now here is a diet plane that's sustainable.


Well said

SirDirk Original
SirDirk Aug 21
Topic was moved from Nutrition & Diet.