I'm going to tell you a humbling story about myself.
When I started doing research for my own health & wellness turnaround I thought it would be a slam dunk
BTW: Looking back, the research was a great excuse to NOT start anything.
I figured my formal education in Biology and Chemistry from a top school just needed some updating.
I'm sure I can just google the information I need and have it return a result that worked.
That's the way it should work anyway.
So I tried googling (I think it's a verb now)
- Weight Loss
- How to Lose Fat
- Current Diet
Wow. What a failure that was. I quickly became overwhelmed with all of the "information" that was out there.
What a wasteland full of snake-oil
No joke, there was a beer and sausage diet where a guy ate nothing but craft beer and sausage for a month....and lost 18 pounds. Sign me up for that...along with a driver so I don't get a DWI
There was the Starbucks diet where a worker at Starbucks ate nothing but their drinks/food for a year and lost 75 pounds.Fun Fact: That Java Chip Frappuchino will account for 580 calories
A nose tube feeding diet for brides to be. This diet comes complete with a tube that a Dr places into your stomach through your nose. A Doctor!
Come on...is this really where we're at? Ladies...You're going to look stunning in that dress..Seriously. And if your husband doesn't agree to those 5 extra pounds you might want to reconsider that wedding.
If your bride's maids think you need to lose the weight, add ground up hot peppers into the bouquet when you throw it back to them. Screw them...this is your day.
Then there were belly wraps, pills, bands, machines, creams, all claiming to be the magic answer.
There was even a powder you put on your food that allows you to eat anything you want and you'll "shed pounds"...Ugh..this makes me sad.
Getting Past the Scams
They I got a hold of some more legit diets. I'd read about the Paleo diet only to read that the Mediterranean diet would say something different.
Then I'd look at Atkins which would add some of this..take away some of that.
But I exercise...does that mean I can eat more carbs? Well not if I want to get into nutritional ketosis. "Get into what...?" I said.
Jenny Craig - okay you use points..and their food. But what happens when I get off of your food? How many points is that potato salad at the picnic?
All of these diets had their passionate following who were sure that their diet plan that helped them lose 100 pounds was the right one for everybody. If you didn't follow their way of eating then you were an outsider.
AND...if you did follow that diet and it didn't work for you, then you didn't do it right!
This whole research effort was getting maddening...AND...I was just getting fatter sitting in front of my laptop trying to figure all of this stuff out!
I was totally conflicted:
Part of why I even started our highly rated podcast was to discover the truth. I interviewed literally dozens of experts from all over the world on my podcast to talk about the latest in exercise and nutrition such as:
- Rich Roll - Vegan Ultra Athlete (Episode 27)
- Dustin Maher - "Fit Mom's for Life" (Episode 17)
- Nora Gedgaudas - Regarded as one of the world's leading experts on Paleo (episode 22)
- Jonathan Bailor - New York Times best selling author (episode 8)
All of the above have found incredible success with seemingly completely different approaches. With so many different options out there, all claiming to be successful, how do you know where to start?
Without exaggeration, I've invested 1000's of hours researching all of the different diets and approaches to fat loss out there.
And I came away with this ONE overwhelming conclusion which I'll share with you now. If you take this advice, you'll be 90% of the way there.
Ready for it?
Eat Real Food
It's almost annoying simple....because it is. Truthfully...I wanted the answer to be harder than this.
Everybody wants to be part of a group, aligned to a cause so they can associate with something.
It's the way we are wired. Think about it. I'm a Chicago Bears fan. And I have disdain for the Green Bay Packers and their hats.
But why? Because of history, rivalry, etc.
But if I step back. I love football. Aaron Rogers and Brett Favre are two of my all time favorite competitors...but I still say I'm a Bears fan and have fun shunning the Packers.
We do this in other areas of our life too. Politics, Religion, clubs, and more.
My friend Jonathan Bailor put it eloquently when he says: "We tend to demonize our differences rather than celebrate our similarities" - I love that quote because he nails it.
Diets are the same. If you exclude the crazy wonks who preach that their diet is perfect and just look at all of these diets, the one thing they all have in common is to EAT REAL FOOD.
What the Science Says
Dr. David Katz at Yale published findings from his analysis of several of the most popular diets in this paper.
Based on their findings, he concluded that "A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention."
In other words...eat real food.
I'm out of time for this blog. I'm tempted to write a part II of this that is titled "Food you think is real..that isn't"
Mainly because I honestly thought I was eating real food before only to realize that I was pretty confused.
Just respond back at the bottom of this blog if you'd like me to do that.