You probably think this article is going to be about coaching you on avoiding certain diets and that I am going to try and convert you and your poor eating habits into a life style modification! Well you’re wrong. Undoubtedly, the best decision would be to completely change your bad habits and employ a proper lifestyle modification such as: eating breakfast, eating every 2-3 hours, drinking plenty of water, eating lots of fruits & veggies, avoid red meats, consuming foods high in fiber and not eating 2 hours before bedtime – but this isn’t truly living is it? So bring on the crumb cakes and fat pies! Ok, not so fast Jaba the Hut, let’s find a happy medium and let me tell you what I think are the best 3 diets on the market and what you can expect. As always, consider consulting your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program. Registered Dieticians are the “know it all’s” when it comes to nutrition and take their advice over anyone including myself! Be careful of nutritionists, make sure they have an RD; RDs are legit and more respected than any doctor when it comes to nutrition.
Diet #1: South Beach Diet – What is it? It is more along the lines of proper eating rather than caloric restriction. The South Beach Diet focuses on three phases consisting mainly of the consumption of lean protein, high fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. The South Beach Diet also claims to lead to the end of sugar and carbohydrate cravings. It teaches you to rely on the right carbs and the right fats. Pro’s and Con’s: Great way of eating that avoids refined sugars and trans fats. Prepares you for success with a maintenance plan and shouldn’t be too weary of any nutrient deficiencies. A lot of the food products contain sugar-alcohols, which maybe hard on your stomach and your co-workers won’t like you, seriously you’ll stink!!! It isn’t very vegetarian friendly and may be tough to exercise.
Diet #2: Raw Food Diet – What is it? As it states, you will be consuming food in its natural, unprocessed, uncooked, raw form such as: fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed. The belief is that heating any food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit will destroy natural enzymes and good bacteria that help with digestion and absorption. Pro’s and Con’s: The majority of us do not consume nearly enough fruits or veggies, unless you’re like me, eating raw tomatoes, broccoli and chomping away on fresh red bell peppers (BE CAREFUL, those little seeds in the core are freaking HOT, I found out the hard way!) Because it is a drastic change to your eating habits, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and nausea via the cessation of sugar and caffeine (no more morning buzz for you; I bet you will be a morning treat!) No biggie, just make sure to drink plenty of agua and be careful of nutritional deficiencies such as protein, calcium and iron.
Diet #3: Caveman, aka “Paleolithic / PALEO diet” – What is it? This diet focuses on commonly available modern foods, mainly meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts. It excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and bad oils. Back in the day when we were bad-ass cavemen, we walked around to get our food and when we had a successful hunt we would party! Now, we are fat-ass cavemen, getting our food via a drive through window and have no energy to get it up and ravish our women (in a fun and playful way of course) – sad, but true. Pros and Cons: There is no counting or measuring your portions. Low energy levels are seen because of the fasting and lack of carbs. Eliminates many favorite foods such as pasta, bread, potatoes, and desserts and like the Raw Food Diet, may have an initial withdrawal period due to eliminating coffee, sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates. Really tough to workout.
Overall – Let’s have my inner dad come out (even though I don’t have kids), because you’ all are my responsibility when it comes to fitness and nutrition. All of these diets ALLOW for exercise to be a part of the program (it’s just tough); be sure to listen to your body and make sure you have enough energy. The fundamental principles for most diets look great on paper, but when implemented, they fail. What we want to do is add muscle and lose fat, right? When we starve our body of calories (below 1200 and extreme cases below your BMR – come back for more on Basal Metabolic Rate) our body literally goes into starvation mode.
Let’s take a closer look at that bad-ass caveman who passed his genes onto us. When we experience acute caloric restriction, our body starts to freak out; usually within 3 weeks (hence, your plateau and frustration with your weight loss around this time frame). During this stressful situation our body begins excreting more cortisol than normal. This event triggers the storage of our most important fuel (FAT) and now we are going to burn carbs, which are in limited supply, then muscle! *&#&$ ^&#@#$*&*^$ ^%#*$@! That’s me slapping the key board and kicking my cowboy boots like a kid at Toys R’ Us! WHY THE HELL WOULD WE WANT TO DO THIS? The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn, that’s why they call it a higher metabolic tissue Sherlock; it requires more energy to build.
So in the end, a diet might give you some temporary pounds of weight loss (usually water and muscle), but we are doing the complete opposite of what we really want –a lifestyle modification! Love how I wrapped this back in at the end! Also, diets won’t firm you up! So get your inner-caveman down to Show Up Fitness and let us add muscle and burn fat the proper way. You will feel better and look amazing! As always, keep smiling, help those who need it, stay away from creepy guys at the gym and Shake and Bake!!!!!!