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Diet Failures
and how to spot them.

Are you eliminating entire food groups from your diet?
Are you eliminating entire food groups
from your diet?

Over the last 20 years I've been a trainer, I've seen dozens of wildly popular diet plans. They arrive with a burst of excitement and tons of press about how someone finally got it right. People desperate to lose weight embrace them, and results finally seem possible.

We create these successes because when someone starts a diet, the first few pounds are the easiest. Even small changes in behavior can result in rapidly losing five or ten pounds. Then we excitedly share the results with the world. Look at me! I'm a strong, successful person who has taken control of my body!

Then the problems start. Staying committed to lifestyle changes is difficult. It's easy to slip back into familiar habits. Junk food is everywhere and cheap. It takes time to cook healthy. Working out regularly is tough. It's hard to remain committed to lifestyle changes.

Once the weight loss stops, or even worse, when we start to put weight back on again, we feel like the failure is personal. We don't want to admit it's not working, so the only public information people see is when we were raving about how wonderful the diet is. Failure is something we don't share.

After a few months, flaws start to emerge. The diet is too restrictive, dull, or causes physical harm. A small band of around five percent emerges successful, while the remaining 95% give up. Then the entire process repeats as people start looking for the next miracle.

It's time to call these companies out. Before you get caught up in the next diet fad, consider these warnings of what to avoid. If you see any of them being promoted as the next great thing, you should move on. They're just recycling old failures and trying to lure new suckers in.

All calories are NOT equal. Yes, you can eat nothing but cupcakes and lose weight if you limit your calories. However, your body won't be getting vital nutrients to keep you healthy. Multiple studies have shown that two people can eat the same number of calories and end up weighing the same. But the person who ate an appropriate mix; ended up with a body that had more muscle and less fat.

Dump diets that only promote calorie tracking without considering the food.

Diets that demonize entire food categories are especially problematic. Some people like to say all carbs are the enemy. But they forget that fiber is a carbohydrate, and if you don't eat enough, your risk for cancer dramatically increases. Diets that eliminate food groups like fruit, vegetables, grains or protein only work because they typically reduce your caloric intake by 20% or more. Plus, they deprive you of the nutrients that food group provides.

Good choices include multiple healthy options from a variety of foods. Labeling entire categories of food as evil should be a warning sign.

Have you read the label?

The label on the front of food packaging is marketing. The nutrition label contains the truth. Just because the box says low fat, gluten and sugar-free, doesn't mean it's a good choice. A cookie may claim to be fat-free but come loaded with an entire day's worth of sugar. Sugar-free drinks might use artificial sweeteners that cause later cravings. Many gluten-free products have more fat and less fiber than their gluten-filled counterparts.

Read the nutrition label to see what's really in something. While you're at it, make sure the serving size is realistic.

Blueberry pancake mix that forgot the blueberries. See what you discover when you read the label?
Blueberry pancake mix that forgot the blueberries.
See what you discover when you read the label?

Diets are not short-term solutions. Once you lose a few pounds on a diet, you'll put them all back on if you return to your previously unhealthy eating habits. What's worse is that constantly dropping and putting weight back on can hurt your metabolism, making it harder and harder to lose the weight.

Long-term success comes from making small but permanent changes. Look for foods that provide similar satisfaction as the ones you're eating now, but that have healthier and lower-calorie profiles. If you need ideas, you can find a few hundred taste-tested options at WeEatFit.com.

Call for a FREE Consultation (305) 296-3434
CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.