Why You Should Quit Your Diet
Updated: Sep 21
Is the 'wonder diet' that you finally committed to making you less healthy? Don’t let this kill your motivation. The hardest part of a diet is the mental challenge of quitting numerous bad eating habits all at once. Contrary to popular belief, food withdraws are a very real thing. The good news is that you have already started and that alone is a huge step in the right direction. However, that still leaves a key question unanswered: why am I not seeing results? Well, you might be a victim of the fad diet. The problem with fad diets is that they jump into the spotlight showing incredible results with no perceived negative effects. The motivation of losing weight and getting in shape should be synonymous with getting healthy. You should not sacrifice your health to look better naked. Unfortunately, whether you know it or not, you might be doing just that.
Keto is backed by science, produces incredible results yet can be horrible for your body. Although the aesthetically pleasing results are astounding, this diet can wreck your body. Upon starting this diet, you might experience a phenomenon called the keto flu. Your body switches over to burning ketones, the product that results when fats are broken down for energy. By shifting to consuming 70% of fats, your body goes through withdraws and flu-like symptoms ensue. Nausea, vomiting, and irritability are just a few of the potentially unpleasant symptoms that may result from this initial period.
At the beginning of the diet, you may not even experience any of these. However, if you continue with keto, the potential for side effects can become more severe. This diet is also known to cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, nutrient deficiency, constipation, and increased risk for heart disease. The other problem with this diet is sustainability. The drastic change in diet composition is unrealistic for all but a few people. If you start a keto diet, lose weight, then quit, you will likely put the weight back on. Many of the problems with keto are shared with diets that greatly restrict carbs. The short-term effects and flu-like symptoms are felt in these diets. Restricting your carb intake will help you lose weight and be healthier, but carbs are not the enemy and should not be completely excluded from your diet. One caveat to the previously mentioned issues is that this diet is relatively new so the jury is still out. Like all new things, only time will tell the true fate of this diet. So why take on a diet with a 'potential side effects' list as long as that of some medications? There are so many other options.
Intermittent Fasting and the Circadian Rhythm Diet
Fasting diets are also backed by science but are risky if not executed properly. Popular fasting diets include intermittent fasting (IF), circadian rhythm diet, and extended fasting. Traditionally, IF requires only eating during an eight-hour window and abstaining for the other 16 hours. The circadian rhythm diet entails eating during a 12-hour window and fasting for 12 hours. These are generally safe and pose little risk to your health. However, be warned that it can make you irritable, light-headed, and cause blood sugar dips/spikes. These effects are more pronounced in extended fasting where people will fast anywhere from 20 to 48 hours. Long-term fasts can affect organ function and cause nutrient deficiencies. Dips in blood sugar happen when you are fasting and your body runs out of energy. The spikes happen when you break your fast with foods that easily convert to sugar when consumed.
Drastic spikes and dips cause your pancreas to work overtime due to trying to balance your blood sugar. If you do that enough, you might end up with type two diabetes and that’s an especially rough road. There is speculation that Tom Hanks cut back so heavily for his role in Castaway, that it accelerated his path toward diabetes. The Circadian Rhythm diet can be sustainable and IF can be good when implemented properly. If you are prone to overdoing diets then fasting is not for you. You risk essentially starving yourself and stressing your body into holding weight as a natural response to prevent death. Calorie restriction is the most tried and true way to promote weight loss but, like fasting, over-restriction causes stress, deficiencies, and can hurt your organs.
Cleanses and Detoxes
Cleanses and detoxes are a lie. Bold statement, I know, but all of the positive effects from these programs can be accomplished through less 'silly' means. This is because your body is always detoxing and cleansing your body. That’s what it was made to do and it works better than any three, five or ten-day juice cleanse/detox tea. Although the nutrients obtained from these fruits and vegetables can improve the function of some organs, the same results can be achieved by simply incorporating them into your meals.
It's also important to remember that 'yo-yo diets' lead to increased mortality. So if you can’t stick to it, don’t do it. Constantly shocking your body with crazy changes in diet is risky.
So which diet should you quit? Or which should you take on? The answer isn’t what you want but it’s the answer that never fails to be true. To quote Oscar Wilde, “everything in moderation, including moderation." When applied to your health and fitness goals, you should avoid a diet that calls for drastic changes. Start exercising like an athlete day from one! The best diet and exercise plan is one that you can stick to. Eat food that is in its raw state when you buy it and cook it at home. Drink plenty of water and start exercising slowly. Most importantly, cheat! It's all about balance. If you never cheat you won’t enjoy your journey nearly as much. So cheat, moderately.