Article reposted with permission from Liam O’Hagan. Article reposted from https://www.ohagancoaching.com/single-post/Why-Diets-Are-A-Good-Thing-3-Reasons-Why-You-Might-Want-To-Do-One
First off, if you’re one of my fellow personal trainers hear me out. I’m usually one of the trainers that goes against diets but today I had a sudden realization and kind of wanted to challenge my own current thought processes on this topic.
The idea for this came about when I got a notification about someone posting on my free Health & Fitness tips & advice group on Facebook (if you want to join click here). It was someone who was saying that ever since they stopped eating after a certain time they feel less bloated, has less digestive problems and it helps her to lose a little bit of weight/body fat.
Now, this is a myth and has been proven wrong so many times that you don’t have to stop eating at a certain time to lose fat/weight. But, before I replied just saying “this is a myth”, I looked at the bigger picture of what it had done for her and then realized well if it works for her, why would I tell her not do it?
Diets are now often demonized or loved depending on where you read them. (Good) fitness sites usually say that they’re bad and do more harm than good, whereas if you read the latest women’s magazine all they do is go on about the next big diet. And whilst I’d say I’m still against diets (or rather extreme ones), they do have some benefits that people can find valuable.
1. It Teaches Discipline.
One of the main things that people can get from diets is the discipline aspect. Let’s say if you’re on a diet and that diet tells you that you have to restrict something like sweets for it to work, a lot of people follow it for however long that they do the diet. Now, what they may or may not realize is that they now know that they don’t need that one thing and can live without it, so now they can say no to it just that little bit more the next time it’s offered.
I would say that’s a bit of a valuable thing when it comes to losing fat, wouldn’t you?
2. People Become More Aware.
This again kind of goes in line with the restriction thing and having to eat certain things when you’re on a diet. People might start to notice how their body reacts to eating certain things, take for example the ketogenic diet where you severely limit carbohydrates in order for your body to switch the main focus of using glucose (sugar) as energy and into ketones (fat). For some people this might work better for them rather than a normal diet, where they just restrict calories overall, because maybe their body is just better suited to running on fat as the main source of energy rather than sugar.
It’s because people forget when it comes to health, fitness & nutrition we’re all similar but yet so different it’s hard to say what works for everyone.
3. They Give People Guidance.
Most people when it comes to wanting to lose fat or change their body shape feel so confused and lost and I don’t blame them. So if they find something that they’ve seen has worked for other people then I’m sure most of us would try and emulate that for ourselves, right?
I’m not saying all diets give a great guidance but at least people get given some form of a plan to follow and that’s what most people want. Besides, if you follow a plan you’re bound to get some results, after all it’s better than following no plan and getting frustrated and angry about it.
When You Shouldn’t Do a Diet
Now there are certain things you should avoid when looking for when looking for a specific diet to follow to make sure you’re following something that isn’t going to damage your health:
When you feel tired and hungry all the time – whilst you should feel a little hungry on a diet (because you’re now eating less than you’re used to), you shouldn’t feel tired & hungry and you definitely shouldn’t feel it all the time. This would suggest that you’re not getting enough energy to get through the day, so either stop the diet or increase your food intake a little.
When they just sound crazy – think of the “baby food diet”, “the charcoal cleanse”, “the vision diet” (last one you eat with blue sunglasses on – weird I know). These diets are only ever made to get whoever created them famous by coming up with the most ridiculous thing that they can think of to get more publicity, whether it’s good or bad. It’s just common sense.
If they tell you to completely remove one macro-nutrient (carbs, fat, protein) – generally these diets just aren’t good for your health as all of the macro-nutrients serve a purpose in the body and without one of them you’ll struggle with certain functions. Whilst it’s fine to reduce some of them, it’s not a good idea to cut them out completely.
Avoid juice or any other cleanses – not only are they a waste of time and money it’s unnecessary to only consume kale laced smoothies for 3+ days or sticking a coffee enema up your butt (yes, this is a thing). Besides, you have a liver & kidney to do that for you, just feed them good food…
I usually recommend my clients to focus on lifestyle and behaviour change when it comes to food but if you want to get technical about it, then technically that is a diet of some sort. So ultimately we have to sacrifice some of our favourite “bad” foods to get in the shape we want.
Am I saying that all diets are bad? No. Am I saying you should follow a specific diet? No. I am telling you to do what works best for you, even if it’s against what I recommend. If I tell you not to go on a diet but you come to me 4 weeks later and say you achieved the results you wanted then I’m nothing but happy for you.