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  • philandrosie

Confused about diets? You're not alone

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

The other week I had a walk with a friend who was telling me about the diet she was on. She was eating nothing but protein for the first few days then introducing some vegetables and finally a small amount of fruit further down the line.

This really took me back to the days when I used to buy every diet plan going, I spent a fortune on books and memberships telling me to do things like this but I always found them impossible, making me feel like a failure. I now know that weight loss only happens because you’re in a calorie deficit - ie you are eating less calories than your body is using.

Once you understand that all weight loss diets are based on this principle, you realise that these extreme plans are really not necessary at all and definitely not the healthiest way to lose weight. My friend was taking supplements to make sure she was getting the nutrients that her diet wasn’t giving her - personally I would rather include all the food groups and not go through the pain of a regime like this, but sometimes people like the challenge of something like this to kickstart their weight loss.

The irony is, much of the weight loss you would see at the start of a regime like this wouldn’t be fat loss at all. Our muscles store energy when we eat carbohydrates and they also store water alongside this energy. This isn’t the same as body fat, though it will show on our weight on the scales. By cutting out all carbohydrate at the start of this plan and then eating very little carbs for a few weeks, she will lose body fat if she’s eating in a calorie deficit, but some of the overall weight loss will just be loss of that energy and water stored in her muscles. For people who exercise, this will impact on energy as well as performance.

This is one of the many reasons I’m not a fan of fad or extreme diets - they’re really not necessary. This is likely to be a recurring theme as it’s something I care a lot about! There’s a whole massive money making diet industry out there based on confusing misinformation, luring people in when they’re down and I hate that.

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