I had a client the other day ask me to recommend to her a way that she could lose weight quickly, and if you have been reading this column enough you already know what my answer is. There is no way to lose weight quickly…but she wanted more clarification and started to ask me about all of the fad diets that she hears about in the media, the lunch room and the locker room at the gym.
As this isn’t my area of expertise, I asked my colleagues for some information and I wanted to share with you what I learned. Before I get started, I want to clarify that I am not judging any of these diets and if you can find a healthy way to incorporate any of these diets into your life then I applaud you. Also, if you are curious about trying any of the diets below I suggest you hire the help of a nutritionist or dietician to make sure it is the right plan for you.
This diet is probably my least favourite way of eating but it actually may sound quite appealing to some of you. The keto diet is a high fat, low carb way of eating and it is extremely restrictive to the point where you are not allowed to exceed more than 20 grams of carbohydrates in one day (there are 14 grams of carbohydrates in an apple). On the keto diet you will eat a lot of fat (think red meat, cheese, eggs, fish and vegetables) and a moderate amount of protein. This causes your body to produce something called ketones as your energy source which forces your body to use its stored fat as a main energy source.
I would have to say that this is probably one of the more popular forms of eating right now. There are a few different ways of doing this but the most popular is eating all of your caloric requirements within an 8 hour window and then fasting for the remaining 16. This is supposed to promote the breakdown of fat and help your body regulate its insulin levels which usually leads to less of a desire to consume sugar.
In carb cycling you limit your carbohydrate intake for a few days then eat normally for a few days (usually 3 off carbs and 2 on carbs). This sounds a bit better to me because at least in the no carb days you can trust that carb days are coming. However, I fear that when I do get to have carbs again, the leafy greens and fruit that I should be eating will actually be bagels, sushi and cookies.
This is probably the most balanced way of eating as it’s simply tracking where your calories are coming from versus just blindly counting calories. For example, if you are consuming a 2000 calorie a day diet, on a macros program you would want 40% of those calories coming from carbohydrates, (800 calories or 200 grams of carbohydrates), 30% of those calories coming from fat (600 calories or 67 grams of fat) and 30% coming from protein (600 calories or 150 grams of protein). These number vary for each individual but what I like about this diet is it is the most realistic way of eating and very easy to stick to for a prolonged period of time.
So why would you want to follow any of these diets? I would recommend an extreme diet, like Keto, Fasting or Carb Cycling in a few situations, along with the help of a nutritionist or dietician. If you are trying to jump start your weight loss, someone who has a lot of weight to lose and for health reasons you must drop weight quickly, one of these diets might be an option. That is it. To me eating like this is not sustainable so why put yourself in a situation where you are constantly falling off the wagon. If you attempt one of these diets, make sure you have an exit plan.
If you are just someone who wants to clean up your food intake, I suggest you pay attention to where your calories are coming from and follow a macros plan, which is what I do. I use a fitness app to record my food intake so if at the end of the day I look at my macros graph and I see I am WAY over in carbohydrates and sugar then I make a plan to be a bit better the next day. There is no failure here, just an awareness of when to pull on the reins a little tighter. Eating in this way may not drop the pounds as quickly as you would like but it will hold you accountable and keeps things in check and when you fall off the wagon it won’t hurt as much.
I’m always here for any and all smutty fitness questions. Email me at [email protected].
Attached: Jennifer Lopez leaves a gym in Brentwood on July 9, 2018.