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Diets are stupid. This isn’t a joke. A diet is a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
“Diet” — just the word itself brings up a whole host of negative emotions. Every time you hear about a person who failed at losing weight, they were on a “diet”. Every lifestyle magazine in the checkstands says you can lose X lbs in Y days, with their special “diet”. Many trainers push their own “diet” to get thin (sometimes also in Y days). Sometimes, it’s a “juice cleanse” (ugh), which is still a diet, just rebranded.
You’ll notice a theme here: a “diet” is always something you do for a moment, and stop. That moment could be a week, or a month, or some other time period, but it all eventually stops.
If you stop pressing on the gas pedal in your car, it stops moving forward. If you unplug the fan in your room, it stops circulating air. If you stop doing your dishes, they pile up.
So why do we expect our weight to be controlled once we stop the diet? Simple: we haven’t been sold a solution, we’ve been sold a band-aid. The people selling the band-aid don’t want to sell you something that works long-term, because then you don’t need to keep getting new advice from them (and they can’t drain your wallet). And you keep going back because they make you feel insecure if you fail so they can sell you another band-aid.
I’m ripping the band-aid off: your temporary solution is shit because it’s a temporary solution.
The only path to long-term, sustained weight control is changing how you eat, permanently. This isn’t as scary as it sounds, honest! There are a nearly-infinite number of ways to do this properly, and they depend more on your personal tastes and lifestyle outside of food.
Sustainable Lifestyle Choices
- Calorie Counting: This is the method/lifestyle I use/live and have for over two years. I am a data guy, so seeing the raw numbers for calories and macros allows me to conceptualize food in a way that works for me.
- The Ketogenic Diet (Keto): This one is great for people who have carb cravings. It eschews carbs (for the most part) for protein and fat. Protein and fat are naturally filling and hard to overeat (but not impossible), so if your issue is satiety, I would give this a look.
- Low-Carb/High-Fat (LCHF): This is great for people who want to lower their carb intake, but maybe not go full keto/carnivore. You have more freedom to experiment with carbs, as long as you keep them low-ish.
- Carnivore/Vegan: Only meat and animal fats/only non-animal foods, edible plant life, grains, avocados, etc. Carnivore doesn’t require much nuance, as it’s pretty straight-forward (eat meat/animal fat!) but it’s worth noting that vegans can also do Keto.
- Vegetarian: Vegan but with animal products (like eggs). There are several offshoots (like pescatarian) that I won’t go into here, but feel free to research them and see what option might be right for you, if you want to go this way.
There are likely more that I haven’t heard of, but those are the basics. It is worth noting that you can mix and match (keto + calorie counting, vegan + keto, vegetarian + lchf) based on what works for you.
The most important part is that if one lifestyle doesn’t work for you, that does NOT make you a failure, nor does it mean you’ve failed. When you “test drive” a car, did you fail if you didn’t like the car? Of course not. It means you should try a different car. If I drive a Prius and you drive a Fiesta, does that make you better or worse than me? Of course not, it means that we have different tastes and requirements.
It is OK to try a lifestyle and determine it doesn’t work. To quote Thomas Edison: “I haven’t failed — I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
You won’t fail either. You may find several ways that don’t work for you…and one that does.
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