S’mores, shorts, and diets- Oh my!
I wanted to talk about dieting this week as we are in the heart of summer and it can be tempting to seek a quick fix after weeks of walking around in more revealing clothes and eating fun foods at cabin weekends, parties, or camping. Just recently, after a fun, cabin weekend with friends and eating lots of chips and smores, I heard my friends say to each other, “Tomorrow we need to start a diet.” Then later at the campfire after eating a few smores that same friend asked, “Are you binge eating like I am because you know that you have to diet tomorrow?”
And I say this not to judge, but more to point out that dieting tends to be considered something to dread and can lead to binge eating. It also puts a lot of pressure on people to ONLY eat “healthy foods” so then when they are hanging out around a fire and eating a smore they tend to feel immense guilt. That is NOT enjoying the journey. Life is too short to feel that amount of guilt during an event when we should be enjoying each other’s company, the beautiful lake, and the sunny weather. So that is why I am talking about dieting today and how when put to the test, scientifically, it actually isn’t always the most effective.
Why Not to Diet
Dieting is something I’ve talked about in the past but I haven’t talked much about why not to do it. Dieting is a quick fix, is usually restricting, and definitely not fun, which goes against enjoying the journey. So today, I’m going to talk about the reasons why not diet.
There is a lot of research on the low-carb diet vs. the low-fat diet. These diets are different because they each focus on different macronutrients either carbs or fats. The largest calorie contributors to the American diet are refined carbohydrates, added fats, meat, and added sugars. So that is where people are getting most of their calories. So if you are on a low-carb diet, you are going to decrease the grains and the added sugar. On a low-fat diet, you are going to decrease the added fat and the meat. So it’s interesting to compare them and guess what the results were?! Everyone lost weight. Truth is, no matter what diet you do, if you are consistent you will lose weight. But, what does that say about our health and habit change? I hope that by working with me at this point you kind of understand that what you do matters most. What they found, is that people were really driven on the low-carb diet because of that quick weight loss. Well, that quick weight loss wasn’t weight. Carbohydrates carry water and your muscles carry glycogen which is stored energy. Once you get rid of both of those you get rid of water weight and stored glycogen so everything appears smaller and the weight goes down. But it’s all just water, it is not your weight. And, when the low-carb diet was put to the test it was found that it decreased and impaired artery function which leads to heart disease which is the number one killer in America right now. So low-carb diets aren’t the answer.
Then when we look at the keto diet it is even more nutrient restrictive. It was found with the Keto diet specifically that in order to get all of the recommended nutrients in a day, a person would have to eat 37,500 calories in order to get all of the recommended nutrients. Mind you, a recommended calorie count for a day is about 2,000 calories. So rather than eating 56 sticks of butter in your coffee, you are better off sticking to a well-balanced diet. Also, when we eat well-balanced it’s motivating because we have the science and the why behind what we are eating. If you are curious about what that looks like in comparison to diets and why this approach does work, then you may want to check out the book How Not to Die by Michael Gregor. I’ve used it for the scientific studies referenced in the book. It’s a great reference and a good way to compare diets and what’s actually working for your health. No pressure, but it’s a great starting place if you are looking for more background information on what we’re talking about.
Also, if you would like more information on our approach to diet and mindset, join the Wholesome Community! We will help you every step of the way to start enjoying your journey and feeling your best!