Are you following a high-fad diet?
If you found it on social media or somewhere else on the Internet, chances are you are.
BY BELINDA POTTER
Oh, how exciting!
You’ve bought the supplement, the cookbook, the pulverising blender. You’ve signed up for the instalment plan and joined the Facebook group.
You’re one of the tribe, cutting-edge, and heaven help any of your work colleagues who glance curiously sideways at your lunch… They’re just begging to be ‘converted’— they just don’t know it yet.
Whether you are chugging meal replacement shakes like beers at Oktoberfest or throwing back handfuls of overpriced exotic supplements from the Amazon that no one quite knows how to pronounce, omitting entire food groups, fasting intermittently, or merely counting points, calories, macros, grams of carbs or fats then you, my dear, are following a high-fad diet. Of course, that is but a short list — there are others, so many others, but I have a word count and you get the idea.
Granted, they can be very convincing, with their flashy graphics of magically shrinking waistlines, pseudoscience and (paid) testimonials from ‘real’ people whose ‘results are not typical’ it reads in the teeniest of tiny fineprint.
But deep down we know that dieting is absurd. The research tells us time and time again that 95 per cent of people who follow a diet fail and regain all of their weight with interest, but we do it anyway.
Dieting gives us hope.
It doesn’t matter that your body type is nothing like the girl on the box or the glossy book cover. Pfft, minor detail. You imagine what your life would be like if you could even come close to inhabiting a body like hers. You’d be beautiful, sexy, successful at work, other women would be in awe of your steely determination to deny your most basic primal urge — the one to eat — and you’d be the star of your very own real-life Bachelorette (the trashy American version) where guys want to fight one another to demonstrate the depths of their affection. Nothing spells l-o-v-e like a bit of biff, right?
At the moment we do ‘that thing’ where we superimpose our head on her body and imagine how fantastically different our life could be, we don’t just buy the supplement or diet or contraption; we buy into the promise of it being somehow life-changing. Reality check: many of us just aren’t built to obtain that body, let alone sustain it without great (yes, great) personal sacrifice and detriment to the quality of every other aspect of our lives.
For the majority of us, it’s a scam of epic proportions. Do people get results? Sure they do, but not of the lasting kind.
It’s funny how people always say that the diet worked when they stuck to it. Der. The question begs, if the effort was worth the outcome then why didn’t you stick to the diet for good? Well, it just wasn’t sustainable and you’ve gotta live, right? I agree. You do.
So the diet actually didn’t work at all, did it? It’s time to redefine your definition of success or risk the insanity of going on and off diets your whole life in search of the mythical dietary ‘magic bullet’.
What’s the answer?
If you’re looking for some revelation, another fad diet in disguise perhaps, then you may as well stop reading because I am over prescribing those. Let’s be real: they are pointless and no one follows them anyway. The only thing that I can promise you is a certain degree of calm and freedom when you don’t get so uptight about following someone else’s food rules, especially if they just make you plain old hungry and miserable.
Don’t misconstrue this sentiment. I am not giving you permission to ‘trash your temple’, metaphorically speaking. You still need to apply some nutritional self-care, but this should come naturally, almost effortlessly, when you get ‘real’ with your food choices and honour your hunger.
What do I mean by ‘nutritional self-care’? Looking after yourself with food means eating foods that are as close to nature as possible in the quantities that your body needs to be satisfied. I acknowledge that may not be groundbreaking advice; I certainly won’t be able to trademark it and it’s hardly made me a fortune, but it’s honest and sound.
Your body knows how to look after its weight; it intrinsically knows what foods make you feel light and energised and the ones that make you feel like crap. So pay attention. Doing this effectively requires you to tune in to your body, a skill that we were hard-wired with at birth, yet seem to spend the majority of our adult lives trying to ignore, dampen or bully.
Your body is not your enemy; it’s your greatest ally. So don’t be scared to feel your hunger and know what you are hungry for. It won’t always be food (and that’s perfectly natural too), but when it is, just eat for goodness sake — eat.