Remember the last diet you went on? How about the one before that? And, the one before that? Seeing a pattern here? We have all bounced around from one diet to the next in search for the answer for the “perfect diet”. Spoiler alert; there isn’t one! So, if there is no perfect diet why do we continually move to a “new” diet? It could be a number of reasons such as lack of progress, willpower, boredom, and so on. There is, however, one very common theme among all of these diets: Deprivation.

Deprivation diet is the worst of the worst and almost all diets fall into this category. Think about it. A Paleo diet eliminates grains, beans, and dairy. Vegetarian diets eliminate a large portion of animal meats. Vegan diets eliminate all animal products. Ketogenic diet eliminates dense carbohydrate such as grains, fruits, and root vegetables. Low-fat diets eliminate nuts, seeds, and oils. Deprivation of what we enjoy is the great error many of us succumb to when trying to lose a few extra pounds. Why? Three reasons:

  1. Our body fights against it
  2. Our brains fight against it
  3. Our environment fights against it

You can blame millions of years of evolution for this problem. Our body wants to hold onto excess fat for survival. Our brain recognizes when we’re decreasing our body fat and will send the signals for hunger into hyperdrive in order to make you eat. Finally, our environment bombards us with food; everything from fast food, gas stations, television commercials, and so on.

In the short-term deprivation diets work fairly well. They help you drop weight quickly, lean out a little more, and get you into that tight dress you were planning on wearing to your 10-20-30 year high school reunion. And, as most of you know, that unwanted weight comes right back on…along with a few extra friends named L.B.S. So, what do we do?

Step 1: 20% Less!

It’s the same rule that makes us gain weight and we can use it to reduce weight. This 20% rule is considered our “mindless margin.” It’s the extra amount we eat without realizing it. So, the next time you’re making your plate put everything you would eat on it and then remove 20% of the food. You’ll still get to enjoy the delicious dish (even if it’s not the most healthy) but you’ll decrease your calorie intake and not miss the other 20%.

Step 2: 20% More!

Want to make this 20% rule even better? Eat 20% more vegetables and fruits! Vegetables are filling and, typically, have the fewest calories. Fruits are filled with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and water….all of which can help satiate cravings faster than a bag of potato chips.


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