Do diets work for everyone?

Diets, healthy eating, weight loss, fat loss, size reduction, call it what you like it’s everywhere. It’s either magazines giving so called expert advice or television adverts proclaiming the latest low fat spread to be the healthiest yet. But they are all trying to impose upon us this ‘one size fits all’ way of thinking, eating and living. We are individuals, just remember that.

If I were to round up ten people of all different shapes, sizes, weights and get them to wear the same one size of clothes. How many of them would actually suit the size of clothes that I had given them? 30%, 40% Maybe more, maybe less. But this is what we are doing when we prescribe the ‘one size fits all’ way of giving diet advice.

You’ve seen it, the food pyramid where there should be x amount of servings of vegetables and fruit per dairy, x amount of servings of dairy and so on and so forth. Do they tell how big each serving is? No they don’t, I know because I’ve studied the subject. But have you noticed how many people this approach actually works for, certainly not everyone. For one reason or another these people are either not helped or fully satisfied by the diet and end up either gaining weight or regaining any weight that they may have lost. After all this is a very boring and restrictive way of living. We can all see that by looking at the next person we are not identical in any way, so why would this be any different when it comes to eating and how much we should eat?

Then we have the ‘low carb’ diets that are all the rage and were all the rage years ago before the ‘low fat revolution’. Why are they so popular? Well great marketing, celebrity testimonials and the promise of weight loss, whether or not it maybe detrimental to your health. I mean most overweight people would tell you they would rather be slim than healthy, crazy if you ask me but vanity is cunningly persuasive animal. So why do these low carbohydrate diets work well for some, bringing out the best in them and filling them with energy and confidence and others report feeling lethargic, grumpy and depressed? It just proves even more that some diets just don’t work for everyone, they can’t do because we are individuals with individual needs.

The most effective way of long term healthy weight loss I have found within my career has been the method of ‘metabolic typing’. The client first has a health assessment to address any current health problems or concerns such as hypertension, high cholesterol, allergies etc. Then they complete a detailed and comprehensive questionnaire about their eating habits and how certain foods affect them. From this method a persons metabolic type can be accurately identified and with it what food types they should include or avoid.

But at the same time, common sense must prevail. As nutritionist it is apparent that all my clients can benefit from eating a diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables, fibre and natural oils. But from the metabolic typing method I am able to see what fruit, vegetables, oils and fibre sources are not suitable for a given client and prescribe a few alternatives.

Then there is the theory surrounding the ‘bad day’, where a client is allowed to eat and drink what ever they like on a given day once a week. Then for the rest of the week they act all saintly; eat and drink only the products that they are allowed. I personally favour the ‘bad day’ along with metabolic typing. It has great results and after all, what fun would there be if you weren’t allowed have a treat now and again? If it didn’t achieve results I’d be out of a job, instead of being a highly sort after health and fitness professional.

I know for a fact when I’ve been on one of my own diets, I’ve longed for the bad day to come along and when it does you almost feel guilty eating all this great tasting, fat laden food. So you end up only eating a fraction of what you initially planned to do.

At the end of the day, do you want to share a diet with the rest of the world? That has very little chance of succeeding? No of course you don’t, you want to lose any required weight in a smart, healthy way. So do yourselves a favour and visit a professional, get a personalised plan and rid yourself of the media stupidity that is all around us. Ever stopped to have a look at the cover pages of these magazines and read their slogans? ‘Lose a stone in a month’ or ‘Drop two dress sizes in two weeks’ absolute garbage! Then have you noticed that after the two weeks or the month, a new diet appears, promising even better results. How can that be, the one you were just offering was supposed to be the best. It is a bit like the best wash powder ever that’s just been improved, but that a whole new rant.

At the end of the day you can’t make bad advice any better can you, it is still going to be bad advice. Where would these magazines be if they gave you the best diet ever? Bankrupt, either that or very thin of topics.