Talking about the popular diets at the moment I basically said that, if we were to follow all those rules of what is healthy and what is not, we would be eating leafy greens and nothing else. It doesn't sound so appealing to me, how about you?
What has made these diets so popular then?
People who follow these diets are all lyrical about their specific choice of foods, and would like for everyone to join their "salvation" and start eating the same way. What is it that makes them so special, and how can you get the same feeling of wellbeing from eating almost nothing but meat, as eating almost nothing but vegetables, nuts and fruit?
People on these diets often give anecdotes of how their stomach cramps have disappeared, their sore and tense muscles have loosened up, their head-aches have been relieved and most of all they experience a much longed for weight-loss, energy and general wellbeing - feeling sharp and alert and satisfied.
I believe that there is a few common grounds in these diets that contribute to these feelings, and enough talking, here is number 1:
No calorie counting
None of these eating habits require calorie counting. You are encouraged to eat as much as you like as long as you stick to "the rules". You are encouraged to start eating when you feel hungry (not because it is now 12 o'clock), and stop eating when you feel satisfied.
Why do I believe this is a good thing? Because I've been down the road of calorie counting. It gives a false sense of control. You feel good about yourself when you stay within your daily limit. The problem is that, to so many people, the sense of control quickly becomes an obsessing habit. It becomes scary to not know how many calories a meal contains. It feels like you've let yourself down when you have gone over the limit. It can quickly become something that spirales out of control, instead of giving control. If that makes sense. It also gives the brain a false logical train of thought, that the less you eat, the better, right?
Well, as we've seen, starvation harms the body and the brain. We become obsessed with food, depressed, anxious around food, anxious in general and cannot simply think straight. Our bodies and brains need fuel. If we count calories, we run the risk of cutting the amount of fuel needed by too much, until we cannot function normally anymore (whether that be physical or mental).
Furthermore, all calories are not the same. OK, let me rephrase that. Not all calories are handled by the body the same way. It is true that you will lose weight by eating a small amount of calories coming from junk food (for example all the diet shakes, juices, bars that are sold to us as a quick fix). The problem is that they contain little valuable nutrition and will leave you feeling hungry, deprived and unsatisfied. As soon as you start eating normally again, you are very likey to gain weight again.
There is also a difference in weight loss, and fat loss. Losing weight by cutting calories but still eating junk food, most likely mean that you lose both fat and muscle. Losing weight by eating until you're satisfied, and food that contain high quality nutrition will lead to greater fat loss, and a better chance of maintaining muscle mass.
Not counting calories while eating these diets are closely tied to the second common ground, that I will write about another time.
And once more, these are all my own thoughts, based on information I've read about health and nutrition. I do not tell anyone what to do, I'm simply putting my thoughts into words. I do not tell you this is right for you. Just that it is right for me :)