I’ve been losing a lot of weight lately thanks to a diet that I designed myself. It’s simple: I just eat fewer calories. Calories are all that really matter to weight loss, so I just eat fewer and burn more, and that’s that!
But my family is really concerned that my low-calorie diet–which involves a lot of frozen pizzas and other “unhealthy” foods in healthy amounts–is not nutritious enough. I understand that nutrition is important, but I figure a daily vitamin is enough to get my by–at least until I finish losing the weight and start eating a bit more, at which point I wouldn’t mind adding some vegetables or something. Am I wrong?
Yes, you’re wrong. While we don’t doubt that your diet is helping you lose weight, it’s also clear that you are not living in a healthy way. Your body is not getting the nutrition it needs, and there’s a good chance that your weight loss–however impressive–will be temporary.
You’ve made a number of mistakes in your analysis, but let’s start with a clear and telling one: calories are not the only things that matter for weight loss. “Calories in, calories out” will certainly work as an approximate model, and there’s a reason that this strategy is helping you lose weight. But it’s a simplification of the reality, and it’s a good example of how you’re missing the point about the power of nutrition.
Nutrition isn’t just about weight. Your body is fueled by what you eat, and making the right decision can have impressive benefits. Take nutritional ketosis, for instance. Experts believe that, through nutritional ketosis, patients can actually reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes. That a big claim, but the pros have evidence to back it up. Simply by eating the correct things, patients can fight back against type 2 diabetes. That may seem less surprising when you consider that the reverse is widely known to be true: that eating poorly can cause you to get diabetes.
The vast range of nutrients and vitamins that our bodies need or benefit from can’t be replicated by a mere multivitamin. Even juices are not sufficient to replace vegetables and fruits. The reality is that when it comes to being truly healthy, there’s no way around a balanced diet.
And eating a balanced diet isn’t that tough! Sure, you can dive deep into research about superfoods and micronutrients. But if you eat whole foods (the unprocessed types usually found against the walls of your supermarket, rather than in the aisles), eat plenty of veggies, and pay even passing attention to your macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), that will mark a huge step forward for you in terms of healthy eating.
Crafting a sustainable, healthy diet is also key because your low-calorie diet is a temporary measure–and one that’s probably doomed. Experts say that 97% of dieters gain back the weight they lose through diets like yours, and that’s because your diet is not sustainable. Only a long-term change–a real habit, a real lifestyle change–will permanently make you both healthier and thinner.
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” — Bethenny Frankel
Provided in cooperation with Scholarship Media