Was dieting or weight loss part of your New Year’s resolution?

Was dieting or weight loss part of your New Year’s resolution? Every year millions of people try to shed the holiday gain or finally decide they are tired of carrying the tire around their waist. Many ask friends or search online for the best diets that will provide the maximum “loss”, with the least amount of effort. I don’t want to have to give up my " ___ fill in the blank”, so I’ll “Freestyle”it as Weight Watcher’s is now calling it. Others are hard core and go for the most restrictive, but seemingly quickest fix - high fat ketogenic or merely 500 calories per day. Oh, and then let me inject some hormones to trick my body into thinking it’s pregnant so it will burn more fat faster. Oh and while I’m on this mere 500 calories per day, I am going to do Boot camp Cross-fit. Or how about trying the early 20th century favorite “tapeworm diet” - swallow a tapeworm which lives in your intestines and consumes some of your food and nutrients - guaranteed to lose weight!

I was recently told from several people that veganism was “THE diet” citing the documentary “What the Health”.  They said it fully described why I “should" (there’s that word again) not eat any animal products at all. While I agree that there were important points made throughout the program about the detrimental environmental and ethical impact on mass meat, dairy and egg production, the message was muddled and lost in conspiracy and fear mongering. The documentary was filled with misinterpreted and cherry-picked research along with outrageous pseudoscience claims - sugar does not cause diabetes, eating eggs is equivalent in carcinogens as smoking cigarettes, or drinking milk causes cancer. Those claims, along with stories of miraculously healing cartilage and bone within two weeks of beginning a vegan diet, lead to skepticism about the overall messaging, and skew the stories of animal welfare and mass food production, which are important and true issues. 

Really, there’s just no simple recipe for losing weight. Lauren Graham, popular star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, generously shares her “ Top-Secret Hollywood Secrets” to looking “incredibly attractive, and healthy looking” in her memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), November, 2016. 

"Over the years, I've been told [from the best nutritionists, personal trainers, Eastern and Western medicine practitioners, and famous skinny people] that meat is an important protein; meat is bad for you; the best way to lose weight is to eat a high-protein diet; the best way to lose weight is to eat a vegan diet; juicing is good for you; juice cleanses are pointless; someone with my blood type should eat only lamb, mutton, turkey, and rabbit, and avoid chicken, beef, ham, and pork; bacon is okay; bacon is bad for you; consuming fat helps you lose weight; all fat should be avoided or use minimally; yogurt helps your digestion; yogurt has no impact on your digestion; calcium from dairy is good for you; dairy is bad for you; gluten is no problem for people without celiac disease; everyone should be gluten-free; kale is a superfood; too much kale can actually resulted in a thyroid condition causing you to gain weight; and using non-natural toothpaste can cause bloating up to 5 pounds. Just eating fruits and vegetables? Sure, that sounds like a good plan, as long as you are not sensitive to nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes and peppers), like some people are. You could probably be fine if you ate nothing but spinach all day, unless it's the spinach that was part of the recent salmonella recall. Fruits are OK, but some, like bananas, are so high in natural sugar that you might as well eat a piece of cake. What's that? You're still eating regular processed sugar, the kind that's actually in cake? AHMAGAH, how are you still standing? Should I call an ambulance? If indeed you do end up at the hospital, just remember you shouldn't eat grapefruit before taking medications because it can block their effectiveness. So enjoy your new diet of berries and water, people – unless you're allergic to strawberries, that is, as many people are! And don't forget to also be very very very worried about GMOs! And don't drink just any water either: tapwater is obviously poison, but be aware of the BPA's in your bottled water too. Also, try to get the type of bottled water that addresses your imbalanced pH levels, because while you may not know it yet, most of us are too acidic and not alkaline enough! Well there you have it! Make sense?"

No. It doesn’t make common sense or sixth sense or any sense at all!

 Why do some people seemingly thrive on eating certain ways and others fail? That’s just because there’s no particular way any of us “should” eat because we are a complex biological machines driven by genetics and environment. However, there’s one guideline that is true across the board: You wouldn’t put no name convenient store regular unleaded gas in your high performing Ferrari. So why put C.R.A.P. (Carbonated, Refined, Artificial, Processed) in your body? Many of the “diet” products out there on the market are loaded with CRAP. Have you looked at the ingredients list on that high-protein bar?

Simply put, here is no secret, magic diets or quick fixes. Weight management is a process, a journey, a function of lifestyle- determining the best fuel for your optimum performance. Each of us has to follow the lifestyle and pattern of eating that is optimal for our own health risks and well-being. And our way of eating must be sustainable, both personally and environmentally.

As a naturopathic physician, I work with patients to discover what and how to eat best for their body type, age, activity, health profile and genetic history. Many people are high risk for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune and degenerative conditions because of inflammation and blood sugar dysregulation. And they are not even aware of it. Many people mistakenly think that they can exercise (or supplement) their way out of a bad diet. That is until they get injured or have an illness. Food is individualized medicine. And naturopathic medicine treats the whole person, not just the desire to change body type.

In my next blog, I will outline some healthy eating ideas to consider if you are trying to decide the right eating style for yourself.

Author
Dr. Skye LaChute, ND, BCB Naturopathic Physician in Bellevue WA specializing in stress management and chronic conditions

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