How to choose which one is right for you
Fad Diets = Bad Diets. First, let’s be clear about what a fad diet is, and what it is not. A ‘Fad’ is defined as a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal. Basically, people get excited about something new and hit it hard - only to lose interest or fall out of practice shortly after beginning. The reason Fad and Diet do not go well together is because Diet is the kind of food a person eats habitually. No diet is inherently a fad. That happens when we do two things: we don’t think long term about our eating habits, and we dive head first into a new diet without giving ourselves time to adjust. What we typically call a “Fad Diet” (i.e. Atkins, Keto, Weight Watchers, SouthBeach Diet) are in fact “Trending Diets,” not fads.
In fact Kevin, our Encore Fitness trainer, has experimented with a dozen trending diets with the hopes of gaining a better perspective from which he may guide his clients. “I have found some amazing results as well as some disheartening ones” he says. Something he tries to share with his clients is that every diet fail ultimately shares one major conclusion...your attitude going into it. The key to making any diet work is to fall into it naturally with the intent of making it a lifestyle change, rather than dropping into the next typical fad diet disaster.
"Do whatever you do full on and all out. There is no half-assing it."
-- Kevin Bunch | Encore Fitness Trainer
The very definition of fad calls to mind the idea that this sort of diet is a means to an end. Meaning at one point you've said to your self...“At the end of these 30 days I’ll be fit and can eat what I want! After only 3 months of eating like this, I can just pick and choose how much of it I want to follow and I’ll still reap the benefits"...WRONG. A diet is meant to be how your body interacts with food regularly on a day to day basis. The best diet is one that is not a fad. You can’t be truly on a Keto Diet if you only participate Monday through Friday. I'm guessing at this point you're asking "Why not?" Reason is, it takes weeks for your body to enter ketosis. A fancy term that means, when you deprive your body of a fuel source it begins to convert fat into a "new" fuel source. Similarly, you can’t be gluten free if you have a little gluten once in a while, the gluten will never fully leave your system. With just these two examples you can start to understand that this is where choosing the correct diet for your lifestyle comes into play, and we mean in a BIG way. If you are someone who likes to eat at fancy restaurants and likes to drink alcohol on the weekends, the Keto diet might not be the right fit for you. However, the Weight Watchers program might in fact lead you down the correct path for your future success.
Speaking of long term success, Courtney, owner/trainer of Encore Fitness, decided long ago that counting calories was a great way for her to become more mindful of what was being put into her body. After years of bodybuilding and learning about her macronutrient values, and understanding the effects that certain foods have on her body, she has naturally fallen into this "lifestyle" of eating. Choosing to live this way has made her a better coach for others that are searching for a way to balance “yummy” food with food that nourishes and fuels the body in a way that junk food just can't. A successful diet is one that you find yourself still doing years down the road, better yet, one that you are still reaping benefits from.
So how do you choose a diet that is right for you? Below are questions we typically ask our clients when they are researching a new eating style or diet program. If you find yourself answering NO to any of these questions you may want to go back to the drawing board to find something that better suits your lifestyle to ultimately reach your end goal.
Is this a diet that you see yourself adopting for years to come?
Does this diet allow you to do your daily activities without too much sacrifice?
Will this diet fit into your family dynamic?
Does this diet make sense for your goals and for your body type?
"A habit takes time to form. We aren't going to give it a number because some habits die hard, and it takes some people a bit longer to form good habits over others. The point to all this is to learn to use tools to form new healthy HABITS. Something that will last, something that will help shape you into a better version of yourself."
Kevin participates in regular and consistent Intermittent Fasting (IF). He came across IF while trying the Ketogenic Diet via the bulletproof diet (talk about a trend chaser). Kevin says that he likes the ease of waking up in the morning and not having to worry about making breakfast before he runs out the door. Similarly, he says he likes the boundaries IF has made for him. “It's not complicated” he says, “you fast and then you eat when the time is right”.
"The neat thing about simply being aware of what you're putting into your body by counting calories," Courtney says, is that she doesn’t need to count anymore. She practiced this style of eating for so long that she now knows what she needs to eat and how much of it is appropriate for her body composition. However, she says, “I'm not perfect. I like to go backpacking, attend social events and yes, I like to eat out and occasionally drink alcohol. I don't expect my clients to be on 100% of the time either. We are all human but it does take a tremendous amount of dedication in the gym and at home to be successful long-term.”
In order to be successful long-term, to form good habits, Kevin and Courtney have compiled a list of eating styles that they believe will help get you there. These are:
Weight Watchers- Courtney likes this particular diet because it's basically counting macros (aka calories). Its easy and efficient.
Intermittent Fasting (IF)- This is Kevin’s go-to diet for flat abs and big muscles. He has done this type of dieting for 5 years and loves the results he see’s from it.
If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)- Another counting technique us trainers like to use for bodybuilding and or weight loss. Flexible dieting at its finest.
Whole Foods - This diet is not really a diet, more of a lifestyle. The rules are, no processed foods that have nutrients removed and or foods that have been refortified. Meaning you eat grass fed organic meats, organic Non-GMO fruits and vegetables that are mostly locally and regionally sourced, and eating 100% whole wheat without fillers or artificial flavors.
Vegan/ Vegetarian- Another great eating style that allows us to simply change the types of food we eat rather than count calories or completely change the way our body burns its energy (Keto). Bottom line- EAT MORE PLANTS.
Try new things until you find something you really believe you could adopt for life. There are numerous different eating habits that vary as widely as humans themselves, and it really just takes good old trial and error. The key is to do whatever you do full on and all out. There is no half-assing it!
Written by: Kevin Bunch & Courtney Coleman