One of my favorite fitness authors is Tom Venuto. If you haven’t heard of him, he wrote an insanely popular book some years back called Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.
It was my “bible” for nutrition info and I implemented his strategies into my own diet and for many of my clients with great success over the years and I've learned a great deal from him.
I was reading his newest book called The Body Fat Solution recently and in it, he makes a very compelling argument about why the world of diet and nutrition is so fucking confusing and why so few people have lasting success.
I’ll summarize his thoughts, but the story is this:
Imagine a room filled with all the top nutritionists, trainers, exercise scientists, physicians, researchers, dieticians, authors, psychologists, and supplement and pharmaceutical companies, sitting at a table discussing what the best method for losing fat is.
Here’s how the conversation might go:
“Going low fat is the best way because dietary fat has more calories, has the lowest thermic effect of the macronutrients, and is most easily converted to body fat.”
Low carb book author:
“Carbs, not fat, are the real issue. Grains, breads, white flour, and cereals are making us fat. Plus, when you eat carbs, insulin spikes and causes blood sugar to get out of control. Insulin is a main cause of body fat storage as well.”
Balanced diet book author:
“Eliminating or vilifying entire food groups is unnecessary and confusing. There are good and bad carbs and fats and balancing them is the best way to lose fat.”
Supplement company 1:
“Thyroid issues are the real problem and why you’re not burning body fat. Try our newest supplement to optimize your thyroid glands.”
“Hormones are certainly the problem, but it’s actually leptin, which controls hunger and even thyroid function, that’s the real issue here.”
“It’s not hormones, it’s your genetics. If you’re born with the fat gene, it will be harder to lose fat.”
“We are all in control over our bodies. Don’t blame genetics, just train harder. By the way take a look at my newest fat loss program for $297.”
“Obese people have malfunctioning appetite regulation systems, which can be treated with gastric bypass surgery.”
Supplement company 2:
“Why go under the knife when our newest product, direct from the Amazon rain forest, has been shown to suppress appetites and is on sale for only $69.99.”
"Herbs and natural remedies are ineffective and weak. Our newest drug is about to be FDA approved and has been shown to suppress your appetite for up to 8 hours with only a few side effects.”
This list could go on and on and you can see the point here as to why it’s so damn confusing to know what to eat, how to eat, and how to make it last.
Every "expert" claims their approach is the most effective and the problem is that there are an endless number of experts.
So the question is who to listen to. And this is why everyone is so fucking confused about dieting. There are tens of millions of articles about diet and nutrition online and we see hundreds of messages each day about how to eat, diet, and lose weight.
It's a shit show of information and easy to fall into the trap of becoming overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.
The answer lies in all of these and none of them. Each has its merits and each has its drawbacks.
All of them work and none of them do. It's really about YOU.
It comes down to a few main things really:
1. Is it healthy and good for you?
2. Do you see results from it?
3. Does it fit into your lifestyle?
4. Is it sustainable for you?
For some, it’s a balanced diet rich in complex carbs. For others, it’s a low carb approach. And for others, it’s about the accountability and structure of a plan like Weight Watchers.
For me personally, I do best with a Primal type diet and feel way better when I'm not eating grains, breads, and sugars. It's easy and simple enough so I'm not cooking all day and fits into my active and busy lifestyle.
But it can be too restrictive for many and therefore, ineffective for long-term success. I mean if you can't stay away from bread and sandwiches and don't have the willpower to do it permanently, it most likely will not work.
It's that simple.
Trying to force a diet is always a bad idea and rarely, if ever, works in the long run.
Sure you can lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks but what happens when your program is over? What happens when your wife doesn't want to cook or eat Paleo? Guess who is going back to eating spaghetti and meatballs?
I've said it before and I'll say it again.There is no "right" way to eat and the problem is that our society demands novelty. We are constantly looking for the next best diet or pill and are willing to pay for it.
Find what works for you and stick with it. Of course you should experiment with different approaches but that is far different than diet hopping or jumping from one "hot" diet to another looking for a quick fix and a way to easily lose 20 pounds.
And I realize that it may even seem contradictory that my 90 day program, The Fit Dad Blueprint, utilizes a Primal diet, but it's based on my experiences with my clients and what I've seen the best success with.
It's not a fit for everyone but will work for many middle aged dads who are looking to simplify their nutrition and get healthy doing so.
Just remember, there are no shortcuts to good health and you cannot buy your way into a fit body. It's that simple.
It takes work. It takes time. It takes discipline.