There are two separate meanings to the word “diet”. One refers to a weight loss programme. This is the most common use of the word and it usually results in some success followed by more weight gain. The main reason that most weight loss diets end up with the dieter gaining weight after losing weight is because they hardly ever use the word “diet’ in the best manner, meaning a permanent eating programme for weight maintenance after the weight loss.
The bigger problem is that all successful weight loss diets call for us to eliminate foods such as ice cream and sugary drinks. Cake and cookies, too! In the modern world the overwhelming majority of foods we eat are processed in a factory. Food engineers have learned how to take simple, earthy products and turn them into food that makes us fat and still crave more. So we succumb to temptation and gain the weight back.We Need to Accept Reality
The single most important reality with regard to long term health is that there are a lot of foods we love that we have to either eliminate completely or restrict to a very high degree.
There is an organization that helps people lose weight and keep it off. OA or Over-eaters anonymous has been very successful in its mission. One famous OA speaker is a man who once weighed over 300 kilograms! Here is a story he tells about himself.
First of all, he lost a massive amount of weight but had not yet accepted the reality that he couldn’t eat an entire family sized bag of M&Ms or possibly even a single M&M. The story is exactly about that family sized bag of M&Ms.
He became a star speaker for OA in his 30’s. Ten years or so before, he weighed about 300 kilograms. His friend from forever came over and saw the remnants of an enormous meal: empty bag of rye bread, empty salami wrapper, empty six pack of a cola drink and so on.
The future hero was eating a family sized bag of M&Ms by holding it over his open mouth and literally pouring them into his mouth.
His friend started yelling, “Why are you eating an entire family sized bag of M&Ms?” The answer came back quickly and with a smile: “Because they didn’t have any Raisinets!”
After losing about 200 kilograms, the future hero gained a lot of it back. Then he accepted reality and lost all the weight he needed to lose - again! - and has kept it off for almost 30 years!
This is an example of truly accepting your body and diet reality, AND also learning to use the word "diet" as a permanent life style, not a temporary fix-it way of eating.
We Need a Diversion
Everyone who starts out on a weight loss diet needs a diversion. Otherwise, we’ll be obsessively thinking about food and obsessively thinking about food makes us regress once we see some good results in the way our clothes fit.
Some people use exercise as a diversion. We have one simple rule for keeping our minds off of food: we need to get our minds to focus on something else. In Australia, one of the more popular diversions is low cost online gaming. The no deposit codes at Fair Go lead you to free money and a lot of diversionary online casino gaming.
Sit and Walk
After gaming, which has players sitting most of the time, we suggest going out to walk for a while. Sitting and then walking is a good formula for training your mind to no longer crave sweet and highly processed foods.
However, all dieters face another daunting challenge, namely deciding which diet programme to follow. They all claim to be the best but they are tremendously contradictory.
High Carb or Low Carb
The two most contradictory diets in the sense of eating for long term health are the Ketogenic Diet and the Pritikin Diet. The Keto diet is high in fat and low carb whilst the Pritikin diet is high carb and very low fat.
On the Keto diet you can eat avocados and add olive oil to your salad. You can fry eggs in butter. You can eat high fat fish and cheese. But you have to keep your carbs down to 20-50 per day.
On the Pritikin diet, you can’t put more than one teaspoon of olive oil on a salad, you can’t eat as much salmon as you want, but you can eat carbs - rice, pasta, legumes, etc.
If you begin either diet to lose weight first, you do need to restrict calories. On the Keto diet, most of your calories will come from fat. On the Pritikin diet, most of your calories will come from carbs.
How can both diets’ advocates claim that their plan is the best for long term health and to reduce type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure?
They Do Both Work
The key element in how both of these diets work to lose weight is that they restrict calories. In terms of losing weight, it doesn’t really matter where your calories come from; if you eat less than you expend, you’ll lose weight.
Advocates of the Keto diet say that by eating a lot of fat, you train your body to use fat cells and fat molecules for energy. Advocates of the Pritikin diet say that the largest category of foods by far is carbs. By restricting calories and eating smaller meals, we lose weight because our bodies know how to use carbs for fuel and how to take our stores of fat as well.
Long Term Benefits
Human bodies are not a one size fits all proposition. There are short people and tall people. Athletes and non-athletes. People with large muscles and people with small muscles.
By the same token, there are people who thrive long term on the Keto diet and there are people who thrive long term on the Pritikin diet.
Neither is the best diet. However, both are highly restrictive. Even more people than those who thrive long term on either of these diets are the ones who thrive by eating moderately but eating all kinds of food.
Long term benefits come by eating very little of the foods we know are bad for us. It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that those foods include most of the foods we like best!
Training for Reality
So, rather than trying to figure out which diet is the best diet, we need to teach ourselves to live more moderately when it is time to eat!