Healthy lifestyle choices vs. Fad Diets
If you spend any time poking around the health and fitness space, you’ll very quickly realize fad diets are prevalent. With the rise of CrossFit came first the Zone Diet, then Paleo, Macros, and most prominent recently has been the Ketogenic diet. However, are any of these fad diets sustainable? How do they compare to making healthy lifestyle choices?
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
What makes a healthy lifestyle choice? Many things can fall under healthy lifestyle choices. The definition we like is any habit/choice/decision which is sustainable for as long as you choose to keep doing it.
This can look like a meditation routine which you can do for 10 minutes per day, every day, into perpetuity. Maybe it is drinking four refills on your favorite water bottle to stay hydrated. It can also be your favorite workout routine, which you don’t get bored of and which you are able to get results through so you can see yourself doing it forever.
The point is that a healthy lifestyle choice is sustainable – it fits your life, rather than making your life fit it.
Fad diets are plentiful (as named above) and fairly easy to identify. Fad diets almost always have one thing in common: they eliminate entire food groups, or restrict you to a very specific amount or type of food.
Let’s take the Paleo diet as an example. To be clear, we have no problem with any diet plan. We just prefer that it fit your life and not the other way around. With the Paleo diet, you must eliminate all legumes (green beans, black beans, peanuts, etc.) all dairy (milk, butter, yogurt) and all grains (rice, quinoa, corn, etc).
There are no real guidelines to amount of food on the Paleo diet, but you must stay away from those food groups. You are free to have as much meat, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables, as desired.
What is wrong with this? Nothing on the surface. But try to go out to a restaurant on a busy Saturday night with your friends and order anything except MAYBE a salad. Even most salads don’t fall under this diet plan. It is inflexible which can be a challenge.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices vs. Fad Diets
The inevitable question which comes after discussing what a healthy lifestyle choice is, and what a fad diet is, is which one is better?
The answer isn’t so black and white.
Really, the best option is whatever is right for you in your situation. Let’s use the diet of counting macronutrients, or Macros, as an example. Working Against Gravity, or WAG for short, has built one of the most successful nutrition companies in the world by teaching people how to count Macros. They have helped people uncover incredible results. However, Macros are a fad diet. It restricts food to very specific amounts, but does not tell you what exactly you can and cannot eat.
This works for anyone who can consistently measure and count their food. Notice the most important word: consistently. In fact, we would argue when a fad diet is able to be done consistently, it is no longer a fad diet. Talk about curve ball.
But wait…which is better?
At the end of the day, you’re trying to find healthy lifestyle choices to fuel your goals in life. That’s it. If a fad diet is something you can do consistently, then it is no longer a fad diet for YOU specifically. It is a healthy lifestyle choice. There are many people who have had incredible success on all sorts of diets. Atkins, Macros, Paleo, Keto…the list goes on and on.
The one thing the success stories all have in common is a consistency in following one plan, and one plan only. The moment you can do that, you’ve found your healthy lifestyle, and it’s no longer a fad diet.