If you are reading this, chances are that you have decided to make a change in your eating habits. The fact that this part of your life is something you would like to improve is admirable, as so many of us get caught up in the fray of every day life that we do not even realize just how poorly our choice of food becomes!
No matter what your job, hobbies or goals may be, the choices you make when it comes to fueling your body are the absolute foundation for performance. That being said, frequent stops at the drive thru on your way home and microwaved “meals” only lead to decreased performance in everything you do as well as overall quality of life.
Given the fact that diets come and go every single day, with one fad diet screaming in your eye after another, this article will not focus on naming specific diets to avoid. Instead, we will discuss four key characteristics of any diet you may consider starting that will serve as bright red flags that allow you to steer clear!
Extreme Caloric Restriction
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of fad diets make is encouraging people to drastically reduce their caloric intake from day one. For example, the standard diet usually consists of around 2,000 calories. If any diet instructs you to only consume, let’s say, 1,200 calories from the very beginning, forget about it!
This is a fallacy for a couple of reasons. First of all, the most important aspect of any diet you choose to follow is consistency. If you fall of the wagon after a week or so, every eating plan ever created is going to fail. Do you want to know a great way to avoid sticking to a diet? Being miserable will get you there QUICK!
Another reason this type of diet is a no-no is the bodily response to acute caloric restriction. Sure, reducing your caloric intake is how weight is lost. However, this should be done gradually.
Ironically, when you instantly begin eating far less calories than the body is used to, you actually signal a sort of starvation response. Your body is literally hardwired for survival, and instead of shedding excess bodyweight; it will literally do everything it can to spare it. The end result: being hungry all the time and still not losing weight.
Completely Eliminating A Macronutrient
In case you are not aware, there are three key macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat. Your body needs each of these to repair and carry out vital functions. While it is true that consuming a proper ratio of these nutrients is beneficial, eliminating any of them entirely is a mistake.
Many diets that you are sure to come across will preach the miracle of abstaining from a certain macronutrient for a lengthy period of time. Simply put, don’t buy into it!
Weekly Or Daily “Cheating”
Remember how we talked about the importance of consistency as it pertains to sticking to a diet? Well here’s the thing: a healthy relationship with food needs to be a lifestyle, not a 6-week crash course. If you notice, a lot of diets basically have you starving yourself or eating things you hate all week before “allowing” you to have a cheat meal or day on the weekend. Essentially, you deprive yourself of enjoying food for days on end and the gorge on an unhealthy feast of your choice for one day.
Make no mistake; one day of stuffing your face with junk food CAN undo an entire week of healthy eating. Your body doesn’t just reset its caloric calculator every morning; there is no “cycle”. Furthermore, this way of eating significantly increases your chances are developing an eating disorder.
Let’s keep this one simple. If a particular diet sounds absolutely ridiculous, it is. The things you can find out there can get crazy. For example, consuming every single meal in liquid form or only eating celery sticks and quinoa for two weeks is not going to magically chisel out your beach body.
Use your own discretion here. You are not a lab rat taking part in a clinical trial. Any diet you decide to adhere to needs to at least appear reasonable from the get go!