Fact: All diets claim weight loss . . . but most dieters won’t keep weight off forever. (Actually that is what’s best about counseling, discovering why someone doesn’t.)
Let’s face it, there are actually only three food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All diets break up into this combination. Then adding water, vitamins and minerals, you have the basis of nutrients. Therefore mathematically, there are only a certain number of physiologically sound plans which actually lose weight safely:
1. The practical diet plan which stresses plant-based food, lean protein and good fat in balanced ways, losing pounds gradually. These are the Mediterranean, Dash, TLC, Flexitarian and Volumetrics Diet, all variations on a theme.
Any of these plans I highly recommend – they are all simply variations on God’s theme of Genesis 1:29 and 9:3. You’ll lose sensibly. Add exercise which increases muscle, and you’ll lose faster because muscle burns fat. Lose a pound or two weekly and most likely you’ll keep weight off for a lifetime. And as you lose, you are learning self-discipline because no one has lost this weight but you. You, not gimmicks have conquered bad habits!
2. The restrictive food group diet plans; Atkins, Paleo, Fat-Free, Sugar-Free.
God created us nutritionally balanced for a reason. All food groups and nutrients work together to create a well-run machine. An engine won’t run efficiently without a balance of gas and oil. Our bodily machine can’t run effectively without glucose and essential fatty acids for brain power, carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle. More details on this category in upcoming posts.
3. Then we have the rapid weight loss diet plan: starvation diets, cabbage soup, protein drinks or any type using diet pills.
It is mathematically impossible to lose 10 pounds of fat in 10 days! And with these you are playing Russian Roulette with brain cells, muscles and heart tissue. Do you feel lucky? Not for long because you’ll gain it all back as extra fat, which is harder for your body to burn!
4. The boxed plans: Jenny Craig, Nutrisytem, Weight Watchers.
I like Weight Watcher’s because it educates and includes a support system for its members. One is taught to count calories however, and every calorie is not equal and if one counts points, it’s complicated. How is an avocado classified? As a carb, protein or fat? It contains all three.
Jenny Craig has coaches who educate and encourage their clients and although their boxed food teaches portion control, their food is expensive and gets boring quickly. Not bad if you can afford it.
I caught a Nutrisystem commercial yesterday gleefully professing losing five pounds in a week if you’d try their program. Talk about castles in the sky! Common sense: 3500 calories equal one pound of fat lost. To lose 5 lbs. of fat in a week, one would have to cut out 2500 calories per day! And you’d be losing brain, bone, muscle tissue also but mostly water weight! Desperate dieters expect to lose fat and fall for this claim.
5. Diets that are targeted toward chronic illness, such as Gluten-free, (for Celiac patients) heart healthy (Ornish) and Diabetic Diets, (ADA)
Excellent for those who need it. I’ve endorsed the ADA Diet a lot since I specialized in diabetic care while working for physicians. Gluten-free claims are primarily fads but we live under grace and if one wants to live gluten-fee . . . fine. Gluten is a protein that gives breads, pizza dough, bagels and other grains its chewiness.
6. Then the absolute crazy category such as a Hot Dog, Cookie or Grapefruit and Egg Diet. Remember a real diet is one you can stay on for life? Must I clarify?
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)