I could start this post by listing all the popular “fad” diets right now, but the list could go on and on. Thanks to the pandemic, we all have a lot of time to contemplate our dietary and fitness choices, and some interesting trends have emerged. A lot of trendy diets cut out carbohydrates completely or focus on cleansing by drinking only juices for extended periods of time. Other diets are extremely limited or strict in other categories, always leaving people feeling hungry, tired or like they aren’t following “all the rules” and that would be why they aren’t seeing great results.
We work with patients every day who come in and want to change their bodies. Often, they want to lose weight, lower body fat percentage and burn visceral fat. These are certainly excellent goals to work toward in order to feel and look our best, but these goals tend to skip over the idea of building muscle to change our actual body composition.
Building muscle AND lowering body fat percentage is actually key to changing the physique in a meaningful way. Crash diets can make people lose weight very quickly, but there is a large risk of the body entering “starvation mode” due to a lack of nutrients and calories to perform basic functions. The brain, organs and muscles all need energy to do their best work, so with too few calories, the body will start to store anything it gets as fuel for later, which could end up just being saved as fat. This is how people end up losing weight, getting “skinnier,” but still not the body composition they want!
In each consultation with patients, we use our InBody scale to look at the patient’s body composition and most importantly, determine their Basal Metabolic Rate. The patient’s BMR tells us how many calories their body requires in order to function optimally. We very, very rarely recommend that someone consume fewer calories than their BMR, but we find it to be VERY common for patients to already be eating under their body’s requirement and not getting the results they want.
Enter the anti-fad diet. I even hesitate to use the word “diet” here because this ends up being a permanent lifestyle choice and shift that allows people to reach their goals, maintain a healthy weight and energy level, and hopefully live much longer!
Here are some concepts I encourage you to embrace:
- Don’t demonize carbs. Our bodies love carbs! Carbs are our muscles’ favorite form of energy for all variations of exercise, not to mention just daily functional activities. We need nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrates every day. Great sources of carbs include whole grain breads, brown or basmati rice, fruits and dark, leafy veggies.
- Be aware of protein. Protein helps build the underlying structure of muscle to create the framework of our bodies, protect our joints and bones (especially the vertebrae) and to get stronger faster. For years, it was thought we needed a LOT of protein, but actually we only need a moderate amount for most fitness goals. Protein is found in lean meats, Greek yogurt, eggs and legumes (among many others!).
- Drink water. It is true people should consume at least half their bodyweight in ounces. If you weigh 150lbs, you should aim to have 75oz of water each day! Water improves ALL dietary results, but especially boosts energy, circulation and digestion.
- MOVE. Exercise is the missing piece for all “diets.” Healthy amounts of macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) are there for your body to use as fuel in order to improve cardiovascular health, build more muscle, burn fat and feel great! 30-40 minutes of exercise per day is ideal, but consistency is king. Find something you love to do and do it almost every day!
With New Year approaching, it’s everyone’s favorite time to hit the reset button on how you plan, prepare, consume, and even think of food. If you have any questions or want a custom plan, schedule an appointment with us!