What’s a diet “fad”? Well:
If you don’t plan on doing it f o r e v e r… then it’s probably a fad. Did you stumble upon it on Instagram? Does your fav celeb follow this particular plan so you want to, like, totally be her? So here you are. Here we all are. Time and time again, falling on and off the fitness train. Why? Because we are going after the most unattainable physiques and meal plans. You wonder why you want to binge eat everything once Saturday rolls around… this is your answer. You aren’t being realistic with your “diet”… better yet, stop calling it that and maybe you will finally be able to stick to #health.
I have personally tried a plethora of these fads: IIFYM, paleo, the Whole 30, juice and smoothie “cleanses” (your liver does that for you, like, naturally ok?). I am here to tell you my experiences as well as my personal opinions on some of these diet fads. If I haven’t actually tried it… I will let you know with a disclaimer, so calm down. 🙂
You can take my opinions with a grain of salt. Let’s face it… what works for me won’t work for everyone and what works for you won’t necessarily work for me. Everyone is different, everyone’s body is different and that means there is no one size fits all when it comes to your nutrition choices. So many factors play a role: genetics, metabolism, food intolerances/allergies, how active we are, our likes/dislikes, and the list goes on. Let’s get rolllllinnnn’ shall we?
Ahhh, one of my favs. Good ‘ol Paleo. If you aren’t familiar, you can certainly Google it for yourself (if you don’t trust me) but I am v v v familiar with this one. The term paleo comes from the word “Paleolithic” as in a specific period of time in history… i.e. the caveman era. What did the cavemen eat?
“But what did the Paleo man eat and why. He did not drink milk because it was impossible for him to milk wild animals. He ate no cereal grains, he did not salt his food, he used no refined sugars or sweeteners, except possibly honey when he could find it. Wild animals were the main source of food for the Paleo man. His diet was rich in protein and low in carbohydrate. All carbohydrate came from fruits, berries and vegetables without starch, fiber was very high.” – Doc’s Opinion
Basically, a Paleo diet consists of meat, chicken, fish, pork, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy fats like avocado/coconut/olive oils, avocados… and the DON’Ts of Paleo include: dairy, legumes, peanuts, refined sugar (raw honey, coconut sugar, pure maple syrups are OK), artificial sweeteners, grains. You should be getting cage-free, grassfed, organic whenever possible, but if it’s not in your budget… it’s ok.
I personally felt pretty damn good when I was eating Paleo-ish. I said “ish” because on the weekends I allowed myself some non-Paleo foods and treats. I knew I wasn’t going to nix cheese and grains forever, so I felt like I would only being doing myself and my body a disservice to eliminate them 100% while I explored the Paleo lifestyle. I certainly saw a drastic decrease in my body fat and stubborn cellulite (in places I never manage to see improvement), I felt lighter and combated a lot of my stomach issues, too. I ended up turning to Paleo desserts a little too often towards the end, which in turn, put me right back to square one (maybe a little of an exaggeration) on the physique front and my sweet tooth was still at an all time high.
Problems with Paleo? I wouldn’t say I found many problems on this meal plan except for the fact that I missed grains and cheese and found myself binging them on the weekends. If you naturally don’t crave breads, pasta, sweets… you should try this lifestyle out for sure. Again, if you don’t think it is sustainable forevs, skip it. It does help you focus on a more whole foods approach which is extremely beneficial for anyone. I still bake paleo treats as “healthier” alternatives because I genuinely enjoy them and I definitely find myself consuming Paleo based meals often. I just don’t like to cut out any food groups anymore.
In case you’re not familiar, this stands for “If It Fits Your Macros”. If you want to go bat shit crazy, this is the lifestyle for you! lmao Okay, exaggerating again. I know there are some sick fucks out there who genuinely enjoy weighing their food and tracking every single crumb that enters their eating hole. To track your macros, you would need to figure out what those are for you personally. You can go here to check it out if you’re curious. You just need to enter your current weight, height, sex, how often you workout, and your goal (to lose weight/fat, to maintain your weight, or to gain weight/bulk). It will spit out the total calories you need to consume every day to reach your goals.
Then, you will need to download an app like MyFitnessPal to actually track your foods in. It is like a food diary. If you don’t pay for the Premium app, you have to try and get your macro goal as close to the one you calculated above as possible. Then you can start scanning or entering your foods (weighing with a food scale will be the most accurate, and if you are new to macros I do suggest this because you will be blown away to find out what real portions look like, ok? Like I always eat for at least 12 apparently.)
It is science, so it definitely works. You can also definitely eat ice cream and Oreos every single day and still lose weight if you track them. It is a calories in vs. out approach. Of course your overall health will benefit more if you consume HEALTHY foods, but it is def still doable by fitting junk foods in there.
Pros: You learn a great deal about portion sizes and will see progress more quickly if you are consistent. You will be able to eat your fav junk foods in moderation and still see those results (again if you are consistent).
Cons: Could lead to obsessive behavior with tracking macros, feelings of guilt if you don’t hit your macros, eating disorders…time consuming and requires you to weigh foods and enter them into app. Which I personally don’t feel is a normal way to live life. If you have specific goals you need or want to achieve, tracking is probably the way to go. If you just out here trying to live your best life… prob best to skip this misery all together. 🙂 Another thing to keep in mind is that IIFYM is a LOT of trial and error (I guess the same goes with any nutrition plan). You may find your body runs and progresses better on higher carbs, or maybe it responds nicely to lower carbs and higher fats. This will certainly take time, consistency and lots of trialing and erroring on your part, so be prepared to be patient.
I have not personally tried Keto and I honestly can say I will never fucking try keto. What is it? Basically a v v v low carb diet.
“Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.” – ruled.me
To truly benefit from ketosis, you may want to use a macro calculator as well, like this one here. Generally speaking, your macros will look like this:
- 60-75% of calories from fat (or even more),
- 15-30% of calories from protein, and.
- 5-10% of calories from carbs.
I don’t know about you, but when I don’t eat my carbs, I am a psychopath. Some people may confuse Keto and Paleo. They are not the same although they may encompass similar guidelines. Paleo is not low carb, at all. Just because you don’t eat grains, does not mean your diet is necessarily low carb. For example, I relied heavily on sweet potatoes, plantains, and high carb fruits when I was Paleo so my diet was definitely not lacking in carbohydrates.
Will you lose weight? Fuck yes you will. Why? You are drastically changing your diet and eliminating carbs. You will lose water retention from that pretty rapidly and see yourself losing pounds pretty quickly and lots of ’em right off the bat because of that. If you can’t see yourself not consuming carbs forevs, skip it. Your metabolism will likely take a hit and when you reintroduce carbs, you will feel it and see it as your weight will go up just as quickly went down when you stopped eating them.
Any food that is high in carbs should be limited.
Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:
- Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
- Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
- Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
- Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
Yikes. That is a big ass list of DON’Ts if you ask me. I also see some very nutritional foods on that list which means it is a NO from me.
I believe Keto is perfect for people with health conditions that require them to eat low carb, such as Diabetes. Otherwise, I don’t recommend this route.
4. The Whole 30
The Whole 30 is kind of like a “cleanse” that lasts 30 days… but it’s fucking hard. You can read all about it here. It is very similar to Paleo but more strict. For example, you can eat all the bacon you want if you’re Paleo… you can even modify it a bit to suit your lifestyle… the Whole 30, however, is 100% all in or start over. It’s a bit extreme and I lasted about 2.5 weeks when I tried it because I was getting so sick of the deprivation tbh. Again, it teaches you to eat whole foods and nothing else which isn’t bad per se and we can all learn to incorporate more nutritious whole foods… but I don’t like this plan because at the end of it, then what? Do you start a Paleo lifestyle? Do you go back to your old habits? Maybe you won’t want to eat junk food anymore once you survived the whole 30 days… (I wouldn’t know…) I just have a feeling that if you’re anything like me… once your 30 days are up…you will binge eat every donut in America.
Absolutely no sugars (not even the Paleo allowable coconut sugar, pure maple syrup and raw honey)… very recently they made this plan a bit less strict and when I did it I was able to eat Applegate uncured hot dogs and Whole 30 approved bacon!!! HALLELUJAH! It was still v v hard for me. If you want to learn all the details, check the link above. If you try it, let me know long you last! 😉 May the odds be ever in your favor.
5. Intuitive Eating
I am sorry, I am annoyed that this is even a category… because, like, since when did we forget how to just fucking eat when we’re hungry and listen to our bodies????? SINCE INSTAGRAM, THAT’S WHEN!
Intuitive eating is the way to go in my book. You just (re-)learn how to listen to your body. Nourish it. Drink lots of water. Make healthy choices most of the time but also feed it a cookie or 5 once in a while, too. (Re-)develop a healthy relationship with foods. There are no good v. bad foods as we can learn from IIFYM. There are no “fat loss foods” or “foods that make you fat”. Everything in moderation. Some people can’t do moderation. I understand because I used to be and kinda still am this way. I feel like it got worse when I tried IIFYM and Paleo, etc. I became an all or nothing type of person… if I had 1 cookie, I might as well eat them all and go find the Ben & Jerry’s factory while I am at it. This is not a healthy mentality to have.
Have a few pounds (or a lot) you want to shed? It will take you longer, but you can and will get there without driving yourself crazy. Without depriving yourself to rapidly lose the weight just to gain it all right back again just as quickly. Your metabolism needs to heal. Your mentality may need to heal too. And that’s okay. If I have learned anything in the last 2 years… it’s that our lives shouldn’t revolve around tracking every calorie we consume and burn. We should learn to live in the moment more and that includes with our food choices. I absolutely meal prep especially my lunches for work which helps me stay on track to eat nutritious foods rather than junk… but I also don’t stress out about going out to dinner, or being skinnier and skinnier, or having an ice cream with my friends.
At the end of the day, it’s all about your priorities, your mental health, your goals, and the quality of life you want. Everyone is different and if you thrive by tracking your macros… you go do that! If you don’t even like carbs… good for you for your Keto lifestyle. If you genuinely enjoy a more rigid meal plan… that is great. But if you feel depressed, anxious, guilty, unhappy in your skin, dreading every meal… you are doing it wrong and should not feel the way you do when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps reach out to a nutritionist, therapist or personal trainer for help. Whatever lifestyle you choose, make sure you are genuinely excited about it!
Any questions for me? Leave a comment!