Well-Being//

Why Fad Diets Don’t Work

There’s no quick fix to good health—it requires discipline, consistency, exercise and yes, good sleep!

Photo by Jan Sedivy/ Unsplash
Photo by Jan Sedivy/ Unsplash

Everything temporary comes with no strings attached T&C. Yeah! Fads are just like one night stands, they tend to make you believe that “You can achieve whatever you want… real quick”.

The problem with “real quick” is that the two words are an absolute oxymoron. Real is never quick. It’s always patience, consistency and discipline that goes a long way in creating anything long term—meal plans and relationships!

Fads throw you in a cycle of reward and punishment. Punishing yourself with a salad at dinner is going to be followed with a reward of two pieces of chocolate towards bedtime, which is really only working against your fat metabolism. But isn’t it obvious that your body needed glucose at dinner and all we fed it were leaves on a plate because someone really far away from you wrote on a blog that you should eat more greens? 

What if your culture doesn’t eat raw? What if it’s monsoon and you’re not supposed to eat greens? What happened to eating dal rice with ghee dinners? Those traditional dinners don’t drive you in a reward cycle post the meal, simply because they fuel you up with necessary nutrients you need. They don’t punish you, they only love you back and leave you in a space of feeling satisfied, not threat. Your body can easily burn fat when it feels safe, whereas with a fad diet when you make it feel threatened, it’s only busy neutralising those threats versus focusing on fat burning.

Let’s talk about sustainability. Ask yourself how long you can avoid mangoes or stay on just protein- and fat-based meals or how long can you avoid dairy? The food group you could digest when you were a baby. You can’t go an entire lifetime without having roti/ rice with your dal and sabzi and definitely can’t go a lifetime avoiding the milk in your chai and coffee.

Fads mess up big big time with your nutrient profiles too.

Let’s talk about how immunity crashes when everyone is following the Fat-Free Fad. Vit D3 which is barely available from the sun (because we bounce from air-conditioned homes to air-conditioned offices to air-conditioned gyms) was even lowly absorbed into the system because people stopped consuming ghee on their roti/ rice, stopped having cashews, stopped having regular milk and switched to the skimmed variant. The fat absorbs Vit D3 but I guess no one cared about those levels, till heavy 60k IU doses were prescribed for retaining immunity as TB and other respiratory disorders started attacking this elite section. 

Not only does such a fad make you vulnerable to picking up diseases because of tinkering with your immunity, they also make you question about the light at the end of the tunnel with the start-stop mentality of diet plans full of restrictions. They make you lose some weight (not necessarily fat, mostly you drop some muscle due to starvation) but you gain weight back, and some more, the minute you stop paying your dietician who put you on something completely different from what you’ve eaten since childhood. And mostly everything you gain back is fat, so now you’re at a higher fat percentage than when you started and rock bottom on motivation.

What’s the solution? Eat Future Foods! Future foods are nothing but ancient combinations of food and recipes, produce that’s grown close to you and is in season. Parantha for a Punjabi, rice idli for South Indian breakfast, koki for Sindhis—you are genetically compliant with the recipe of these meals—so much that it expedites fat burning because of the “nourished and familiar zone” it keeps your body in. 

It’s ideal to consume six small meals a day with traditional food doing the clockwork for main meals and fresh fruits/ seasonal produce of nuts/ delicacies making the mid-meals in controlled proportions. Working out and good sleep are very underrated when it comes to “nutrition plans”, it’s like having a perfect sabzi with all the masala but useless if it’s without the salt.

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Courtesy of <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/z0nVqfrOqWA">Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash</a>
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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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