Monday, July 22, 2013

Creating My Own Diet Plan - Part II (Fad Diet Syndrome)

So, yesterday I told you about "Sally".  A nutritionist that has come in to my life after reading one of my posts and giving me some great information.  Don't ask me where I got the name Sally from...she thought it was rather amusing when she read my post.  It was just the first name that popped in to my head when thinking of a code name.

Sally has shared with me her background, growing up without any weight issues, then having weight issues, then finding a solution to them.  After she received the help she was looking for, she became a nutritionist herself and then found a job working along side a homeopathic doctor.

I'll admit.  I didn't know what a homeopathic doctor really did until I Googled it.  I always thought it was a doctor that specialized in alternative medicines...natural medicines.  I was wrong.  But, it happens, on occasion.

I asked Sally what the doctor and she did for their patients, and she told me.

Basically, they run all kinds of tests on a person to determine the best and worst foods for weight loss.  They look at the possibility of weight related health issues such as diabetes, thyroid issues, digestive issues, etc.  They also run allergy tests to make sure that a person isn't allergic to certain foods.

What fascinated me the most about some of the things she's told me is the huge number of patients that visit their office and start with "I've been doing *BLANK* diet, and it's not working!  My friend lost a gazillion pounds doing this diet, and it's not doing anything for me.  I don't understand why".  And, after a few tests, it's determined that there's a medical reason why a certain diet program isn't working for that particular person.  

She told me that one of the biggest misconceptions in the weight loss community is that there is a particular diet plan that will work for anyone.  Or that a person could use just about any weight loss plan out there that's "tried and true".  What happens, however, is that they do the program and still not lose weight, because their body isn't made for that particular program.  Even worse, some of the more recent, popular diets can actually cause medical issues for some people.

I told her that I had received several suggestions about trying the following diets:  Clean Eating Diet, Vegan Before 6, Atkins, and Paleo.  There have been others, but they are the most popular suggestions, and the ones that I've looked in to the most.

Quick run down:

Clean Eating Diet:  Eat foods that are the closest to their natural state.  Meaning no processed food.  No white flour or sugar.  Picking organic produce and grass fed proteins.  Using only healthy oils.

Vegan Before 6:  A vegan diet all day long, consisting of healthy grains, fruits, and veg.  Then pretty much whatever you want to eat after 6.

Atkins:  Low carb eating.  Basically a step diet that starts by almost eliminating carbs from your diet except for veg, and then slowly introduces carbs back in phases.

Paleo:  Pretty much an extension of Clean Eating, except you eliminate diary, grains, and legumes from your diet.  You eat lean proteins, veg, fruits, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils only.
One thing they all basically have in common is a more healthier approach to eating.  More healthier foods.  There's just some haggle over what foods are considered more healthier than others.

I have openly admitted several times that I know where my hole is: Carbs.  Carbs that come in the form of breads and pastas.  Regardless of whether it's whole grains or processed...I I eat WAY too many carbs and not enough veg and fruit.  

I also don't like the idea of cutting stuff out of my diet.  I love dairy.  I love meat.  Anything that tells me I can't eat those things - when I know that there are healthy versions of both out there - is a quandary for me.  I just don't think I could live without my Greek yogurt or chicken breasts. 

So, it was nice when I heard Sally give me the statement I was kinda waiting for... GET RID OF THE FAD DIET SYNDROME!  

Meaning, don't get overwhelmed about what program I should be using.  Focus on what I can do that works for me, by maybe incorporating a little of one with a little of another.

Now, she stated and I wholeheartedly agree, these diet plans do work for lots of people.  I've read countless reviews and success stories from people that use each of these programs.  But, there are just as many people out there that these plans don't work for.  Not just because of a willpower factor, but also because of medical reasons.

The list of health issues that people can have and do have that are irritated by these diet plans are mind blowing.  What is praised and hailed as the "only way to eat" by many people can be an almost death sentence to someone that suffers from a certain allergy or digestive issue or even someone that has diabetes.  

As she shared with me, and I shared yesterday, she discovered a plethora of health issues she was having after switching to what she believed was a healthy diet.  

Take the current crazy of Gluten Free as an example.

She explains that there are lots of people out there that have a digestive issue when it comes to gluten.  That's a valid issue that is resolved by taking gluten out of their diets.  Then a craze emerged that gluten was basically a food devil - and gluten free became something that everyone feared.  So, many people jumped on the gluten free bandwagon, even though there was no real rhyme or reason to - except that everyone else was doing it.

Then, people started appearing in their clinic after doing so and reported upset stomach, cramps, rash, diarrhea, bloating, and headaches.  A few tests later found out that some people that were perfectly fine eating gluten their entire lives had gone gluten free and were now having reactions to the replacement gluten being used in gluten free products.  Many gluten free products are made with a "natural" gluten replacement.  Some are made with a chemical gluten replacement.  Either way, the ingredients used in these replacements can cause havoc on someone that has an allergy or sensitivity to those products.  Lesson being?  If you're not having issues related to gluten, there's no real reason to stop eating it.

The same can be said about the Soy Milk craze.

Many diets call for the elimination of dairy.  Dairy is the devil, is way too processed, etc. etc.  So, the best way to deal with that is eliminate it from your diet and replace it with a soy based product.  That's all well and good, except to someone that's highly allergic to soy, or even a mild allergy to soy.  Sally recounted one tale of a patient that had an allergic reaction to soy that resembled an allergy to a bee sting - the patient's throat swelled up, she got hives on her face, and had to be sent to the hospital.  I didn't know, either, that people who are not lactose intolerant can be soy intolerant.  Meaning soy could cause diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting to someone who's stomach reacts towards it.  And that's just soy...that's not even mentioning the nut allergy that can spark from using something like Almond Milk as another dairy replacement.

The point is, what I'm discovering is that losing weight isn't just mind over matter.  It isn't just about avoiding junk food and replacing it with all natural, healthy ingredients.  There really is a biological science behind it.  Each person's body works differently, functions differently, and reacts differently to certain foods.

I, unfortunately, can't go through all the tests that Sally and her doctor performs on a person.  I do know, however, that I'm allergic to avocados and bananas.  I have a mild allergy to eggs, but not enough to irritate me unless I eat several eggs.  That's a start...something that can be used to build a starting plan.  I've never had any digestive problems in terms of constipation or bloating or cramps after eating certain foods... that I can recollect anyhow.  So, it's a start.  Information that Sally and I can use to get me in the right direction...or should I say started me in the right direction, because I'm already doing it.  

But, that's for another day.  

Tomorrow, I'm going to share information on the calorie versus calorie debate.  Is a calorie the same in all foods?  That was one of my first questions.  If I eat a 200 calorie candy bar, is it really that much different than eating a 200 calorie salad?  

And her answer was quite surprising.'ll have to come back tomorrow for the answer.

Don't you love cliffhangers?

Till next time!

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  1. I agree with you about the fad diet thing - I like to look at some of the more reasonable "fads" and learn why they work for some people. Even try some of them out myself. Doing this, I eventually found myself trying paleo and LOVING it - however, I don't eat 100% paleo as directed (though its the best way to describe my eating) because, in the end, we all have to eat in the way that is the best/healthiest for OUR bodies and OUR lives. Very few of us are going to fit into a preconceived plan!

  2. Hi Joanna, it sounds like you are receiving a lot of useful information from Sally. Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. I am struggling with the "doing it" part, but working on it. Best wishes that you and Sally find a plan that works best for you. Love your cliffhanger.


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