Should You Trust That Diet Advice You Just Got?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a diet book.
Or believed in a celebrity-endorsed diet product.
Or thought maybe your personal trainer really did have the secret to permanent weight loss.
Everyone’s looking for a magic bullet, but if it existed, there would be only one weight loss book on the shelves, everyone would be slim and fit, and the diet industry wouldn’t be the 60 billion dollar per year powerhouse that it is.
Here’s why this should matter to you: Every time you spend money on another book, or try another cleanse, or think another vitamin infused shake will solve all of your problems, you’re getting away from what’s important—paying attention to what works for your body and focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods, and dealing with the emotional reasons you overeat. Unfortunately, almost no diet book or diet guru talks about that stuff.
When you do seek advice on what or how to eat, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Get your nutrition advice from someone who is actually trained to dispense it. A registered dietitian is a great place to start, and don’t be fooled by the label “nutritionist.” That is not a real thing; anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Yes, some health and fitness companies offer nutritionist certifications, but the education required to be certified pales in comparison to what an RD has to know. In fact, even your physician probably only had about 25 hours of nutrition education in medical school, so if you’re really struggling, ask for a referral to a great RD.
- Speaking of doctors: don’t buy a diet book just because an MD wrote it. As I said above, if there was a magic bullet, we’d all have been shot with it by now, and most diet books are just new ways of repackaging old things that didn’t work 10 or 20 years ago. Stop falling for a plan that’s too good to be true.
- Make sure you check in with someone else who really knows what’s good for you—you. It may be hard to stay away from the chips and dip, but you probably know how it makes you feel afterward. And if you don’t? Time to start paying attention to how different foods make you feel, and to eat more of the ones that make you feel energetic and healthy.
- For the love of Pete: don’t get your advice from some random person on the internet. You can find stories about weight loss that stemmed from almost anything you can think of: Giving up cheese, training for a marathon, eating paleo, only eating when the moon is waning, going vegan, eating an all-fruit diet, fasting; the list really goes on and on. Yet you have no idea what the truth behind these stories are. Did they maintain the weight loss? Are they still eating this way? Do they have food and body image issues that they haven’t dealt with?
Don’t fall prey to the latest diet scheme or book or shake. Check in with people who can really help, and don’t believe anyone who tells you they have all the answers.