There are a million ways we try to get skinny.
Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Shakeology.
Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, Slow Carb, Whole 30.
High protein, low carb.
High carb, low fat.
No sugar. No fruit. No gluten.
Injections. Pills. 500 calories a day. Freezing. Surgery.
Juice fasting, fat fasting, master cleanse, the cabbage soup diet — heck, there's an even a Peanut Butter Diet.
Yes, peanut butter. For real.
Here's the truth, regardless of which diet-of-the-week you're trying: fad diets can definitely work for the short-term.
And that's fine — there's nothing wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds so you can feel fabulous for your wedding or at your high school reunion or on a tropical vacation.
However, having some short-term weight loss — and following the restrictive kind of diet that got you there — often isn't sustainable.
After awhile, the diet becomes too limiting, and you get burned out on salads-with-chicken or eggs-for-breakfast.
Eventually, you go back to your regular, pre-diet ways — and the weight starts to creep back on.
Regaining the weight is a big bummer.
And hardly unique: the general consensus is that 95% of people who lose weight on a fad diet regain the weight once they resume normal eating patterns.
In fact, people typically gain more than they initially lost in the first place.
But the real bummer about fad dieting — the most important one — is that it's not healthy.
Yo-yo dieting won't help you reduce heart disease or cancer risk. It won't address cholesterol issues or balance blood sugar or even out hormones.
Fad dieting can't enhance athletic performance or help you PR a half-marathon.
It also won't balance the body, boost its healing powers, or generate more energy.
And fad dieting definitely won't support longevity.
So if Fad Diets Don't Work, What Will?
The best, most effective, HEALTHIEST way to lose the weight and keep it off involves nothing short of changing your lifestyle.
And I don't mean changing your lifestyle overnight — because that's what a fad diet is.
I mean changing your lifestyle step by step. Recipe by recipe. Mouthful by mouthful — small, yet powerful adjustments that ultimately add up to the big picture that is a leaner, healthier, happier you.
Changing your lifestyle means changing your food of course, but it also means addressing your relationship with food — for better or worse — and starting to understand why you make the decisions you do when it comes to food (and wine!).
Fostering long-lasting weight loss also means changing your palate so the healthier foods become more appealing, and so that you eventually crave something like a kale salad or green smoothie.
Winning the weight loss game, in my experience, is rooted in one simple, yet powerful lifestyle change: eat your veggies.
For long-term weight loss and maintenance, I coach clients to think “plants first.”
Make vegetables the centerpiece of your meal — at every meal — with a small amount of protein on the side if you like.
It's as simple as that.
We all know we should be eating more vegetables, and yet so many people fail to get more than 1 or 2 servings a day.
I believe that's because we're all brainwashed into thinking that getting enough protein is Job #1, while the reality is that hardly anyone in this country is protein deficient.
However, most people are actually deficient in the many micronutrients found only in vegetables and fruit.
Phytonutrients — that is, nutrients and chemical compounds found only in plant-based foods — are the true superheroes of the nutrition world.
Think of it this way: chicken can't help you reduce your cholesterol issues.
Beef doesn't help your body resist or fight cancer.
Broccoli does that. And blueberries. And kale.
So stop being all starry-eyed for protein and make plants your #1.
Don't get me wrong — protein is important — but it's not everything.
Most people over-consume protein anyway, at the expense of ignoring the vegetables and fruit their bodies so desperately need.
Learn how to shop for, prepare, cook, love and, eventually, crave plants.
Master this, and you'll never have to look at a fad diet again.
For starters, try adding a green smoothie to your daily routine. The recipe for my Creamy Tropical Mint Smoothie is below.
For additional recipes, nutrition coaching and lifestyle tips, check out my brand new program, Camp Kale.
Want to Learn More About Managing Weight Loss with a Plant-Powered Lifestyle?
Then check out Camp Kale, my online nutrition and lifestyle coaching program for living your healthiest summer yet. It takes place from July 6-August 1, 2015.
Camp Kale is a plant-powered nutrition and lifestyle protocol that will help you add more vegetables and fruit to your diet, regardless of the protein you prefer.
The program is open to all “tribes” — omnivore (i.e. eats chicken, beef, fish), pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, etc.
Camp Kale Activities
- Learn powerful “flex-tox” strategies to help manage weight, and balance the body, while indulging in summer treats and festivities.
- Use improved nutrition (eat more fruits and vegetables!) to look and feel good in our swimsuits, running shorts, and party attire.
- Celebrate summer’s bounty with delicious “real food” recipes: smoothies, breakfast dishes, juices, salads, soups, “bowls,” wraps, grill/skillet meals and other tasty fare.
- Explore the benefits of incorporating “raw” and plant-based foods into our diet, regardless of the kind of protein we eat.
- Support and strengthen your body with enhanced nutrition coaching from a certified holistic nutritionist.
Who Needs Camp Kale?
- Those of us who partied our faces off last summer.
- The “veggie-challenged” — people who know they “should” eat more vegetables, but haven’t figured out how to make that happen just yet.
- People who are trying to manage their cholesterol, weight, body mass index or blood sugar levels — and could benefit from some extra guidance and support around nutrition, meal planning and cooking.
- Omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, take-out junkies, Paleo-ists, the Plant-Curious — anyone who has fallen into a flavor rut and wants to excite the palate with fresh and simple seasonal recipes.
- People who are interested in learning more about juicing, healthy smoothies, raw foods, and nutrient-dense superfoods.