March 14, 2014
Diets work… Dieting is worthless.

It is time to address the popular statement, “diets don’t work.” To that I ask, “What the heck do you mean?” Looking at the facts, it is clear that people lose a lot of weight on a diet. When weight loss is the goal, few things can help you clean up your eating habits other than a diet. Now, when I say “diet” I want you to think of the Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Sonoma Diet, South Beach Diet, etc. Please do not think of the Grapefruit Diet, Atkins, Cabbage Diet, or HCG, etc. There is a drastic difference between these types of diets, which we will soon explain. But let’s just state the obvious; while you are on a diet, you are most likely losing weight. Therefore, they work.

First, let’s discuss the difference between a diet and dietary masochism. A diet is simply a way of eating. The Paleo Diet, for example, is a way of eating and it is very effective. It will help you remove a lot of processed foods and will help you focus on fruits, veggies, and quality protein. Think about that last sentence; if you chose to focus your eating on fruits, veggies, and quality protein, don’t you think that would be a great decision? The Mediterranean Diet is similar in that it too is an eating lifestyle. In it, you would focus on whole foods and healthy fats. Again, if you chose to eat whole foods and healthy fats as a focus in your lifestyle, that would be a great decision. There is a clear difference between these two examples and what I call dietary masochism. This is where you choose to take your calories to an insanely low level (below your basal metabolic rate) or when you completely remove macronutrient from your plan. Some diets decrease caloric intake to 500 per day, no –carb diets are afraid of sugar and eliminate all carbohydrates, non-fat diets used to be the rage and removed all fat, and now there are even non-protein diets. All of these can be considered masochistic and WILL fail in the long run. If any diet says, “eat these three foods for every meal and you will lose weight” then clearly it is not meant to be done over the long term and it will fail you over the long run, every time. This is self-torture, and these should not be considered diets, they should be considered insane.

We like to say that diets don’t work because that takes the ownership away from us and places the blame on the diet. What makes a diet work is incorporating it’s teachings into your lifestyle. Diets work! It is our mindset about the diet that must change. They TEACH you how foods and food restrictions affect your body. There are millions of people who still follow the Mediterranean Diet… they are called Italians. And they are healthy! Also, there are millions of people who are eating a Paleo diet that would make any CrossFitter jealous… they live in Papua New Guinnea, the African Safari, and the Amazon rain forest. And they too are healthy. Their blood pressures, cholesterols, and body compositions are amazing. The distinct difference should be obvious: this is their lifestyle. They don’t consider their awesome eating habits as a temporary fix to a problem.

We could also argue that 20/20 LifeStyles uses a diet. We use a system that teaches people how food affects them. Using an elimination diet, we remove (practically) all carbohydrate sources and then slowly incorporate them back into the food plan. We actually use 7 diets to do this… but we call them stages instead. At 6 of these stages, an individual can stay there and eat healthy as long as they wish. Advancing to a new stage (new diet) requires new skills and teaches the individual how to incorporate new foods in a balanced and healthy manner. This is an eating system that can be utilized by anyone.

Diets do not end, as you will never cease eating. How you choose to eat, and what you call your diet, will dictate much of your health. If you go on a masochistic diet, or temporarily clean up your eating, then you cannot and should not expect long term results. What you learn on your “diet” should be applied to your lifestyle and how you eat. Change your mindset from “temporary diet” to “what can I learn and apply long-term.”

Diets work. And when they do not, it not the diet that failed, but our own mindset. This failed mindset is that if dieting. Dieting immediately implies that it is temporary. DIETING MUST END. We can learn much from the Paleo, Mediterranean, Sonoma, or the 40/30/30 diet. Whether you choose to learn or make this a temporary change is up to you. But at least own your choice and your mindset. You can choose to learn and choose to make a lasting change.

Keep learning. Keep practicing.

Written by Clark Masterson

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