If you’ve ever gone on a diet – and in our culture, who hasn’t? – then you know that diets frame themselves as having two phases. First, there is the diet proper, which is to say, whatever particular nutritional manipulations the undertaking calls for, whether that’s eating cabbage soup or drinking diet shakes. Then, there’s the maintenance phase, which is all the work it supposedly takes to keep the weight off, but here’s the thing: the maintenance phase is the diet and that’s because diets are unsustainable.
By definition, dieting is about deprivation and our bodies don’t do well with deprivation, mentally or physically. When we move into the maintenance phase, then, it’s almost impossible to abide by the slightly increased intake options, and in the long-term, diet maintenance is still essentially deprivation, just less than the primary plan. This is why so many modern diet companies market themselves as lifestyle brands, but whether or not this is really true is up for debate.
At Demetz Online Personal Training, we eschew dieting in favor of in-depth nutrition coaching. And, while our nutrition coaching program can help you lose weight, by emphasizing sustainable dietary choices instead of deprivation, we encourage you to learn more about how food fuels your body. Deprivation will never help you meet your goals, but targeted nutrition can.
Deprivation And The Danger Of Yo-Yo Dieting
There is an overwhelming array of diets available if you skim popular websites or walk down the nutrition aisle at your local grocery store. Ask any doctor, though, and they’ll tell you that every one of these fad diets, even the ones that have cycled in and out of use for decades, don’t work and distort the idea of health. Additionally, restrictive diets can actually damage your metabolism and your relationship with food, with the result that you end up yo-yo dieting, or going on a diet and losing weight, then gaining it back and then some, only to repeat the cycle over and over again.
Selling Lifestyle Change
While Demetz Online Personal Training emphasizes nutrition choices built around your lifestyle, there are a lot of other brands that suggest they’re doing the same thing – so what’s the difference? Let’s look, for example, at Noom, a fairly new service that’s advertised widely in the last few years. Noom claims it isn’t a diet, but as countless experts have explained, despite the branding, Noom is little more than a calorie counting app. While understanding calories does have a place in nutrition education and coaching, it’s hardly the only important element at play.
Wreaking Havoc On The Body
The more we learn about radically restrictive diets, the more we learn about how damaging they are. In addition to compromising your metabolism by causing it to think that starvation is a real and present risk, low calorie diets may cause GI inflammation and digestive distress; in some cases, it may even lead to an increase in the population of dangerous bacteria like clostridium difficile, a hard to treat microbe that can make sufferers quite ill. This is what happens when you prioritize deprivation over nutrition.
So, What Works?
We’ve clearly established that diets don’t work, but what does sound nutrition look like? The first step to understanding what you should eat is to be clear about what your goals are. Though we often casually use the word “diet” to refer to any specially planned approach to eating, in the world of nutrition coaching, we help you approach food with an eye to a range of different goals. While some people may hope to lose weight, others want to build muscle, increase stamina, or otherwise improve their athletic performance, and what you eat will significantly impact how easy it is for you to reach those goals.
Beyond the simple calories in, calories out formula for weight loss, nutrition coaching accounts for factors like current body composition, physical activity, and macronutrients. This can help ensure you’re getting the right balance of carbohydrates and protein before a workout and consuming the best balance of nutrients for physical recovery afterward, as well. Additionally, because we don’t approach nutrition through extreme restriction, you’ll be steadily making changes that fuel your body, keeping you feeling your best, and, most importantly, ensuring that you can maintain these changes in the long-term so that your progress doesn’t lag.
Don’t Forget Variety
Fad diets are often premised on such narrow approaches to food that it’s easy to forget just how many delicious and nutritious options are available to you. That’s a problem for several reasons, the two most important of which are that, first, when you eat a limited diet you tend to miss out on important micronutrients and, second, a limited diet is, for most people, very boring and contributes to an overall lack of sustainability.
Luckily, breaking out of food ruts can be as easy as falling into them. If you’ve been stuck on a loop of apples and bananas, try freezing some grapes for a poppable sorbet-like experience or grabbing a juicy pineapple. Tired of protein shakes but need the macro boost? Add nut butter or even protein powder to your morning oatmeal, along with some fresh berries for a burst of flavor and texture.
Nutrition That Works For You
Whatever modifications and swaps mainstream diets offer, at the end of the day, they’re all attempting to present a one size, fits all approach to nutrition, but our bodies and physical goals are all very different. That’s why the Demetz Nutritional Coaching program offers 24/7 access to nutritionist support, custom meal planning advice, and regular revisions based on your individual progress – and most importantly, it’s not a diet. Deprivation won’t help you get the body you want, and it certainly won’t help you keep that body, but individual nutrition planning will teach you how to relate to food for life.
If you’re ready to ditch the diets, Demetz Online Personal Training is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services and start making progress toward your goals with a program that treats your body the way it deserves to be treated. You’ll never go back to dieting the way you did before.