Sunday, 20 June 2010

Note to Self: Diets Do Not Work

I don't know why I fell for it again? I think it sounded similar to what I im for with diet and exercise so I didn't see it as a diet, but it was.

I had to send myself back to read my Why Am I Here? and remind myself that diets suck, all of them!

I don't think I posted much detail on here of what I was doing, basically it's a 30 day program put together by a personal trainer. The triner was calling for volunteers to try out the new program to get feedback and make tweaks before selling the program for a fee. I'd seen a lot of positive reviews on Weight Loss Resources about the programs so I set aside my cynicism and signed up.

In terms of diet, it was an elimination diet - this is "clean eating" but quite strict. No dairy (except live yogurt - thank god!), no alcohol, no sugar, no wheat, no processed foods, no caffeine. Typically an elimination diet is to help you identify intolerances. There were some extra restrictions on top of a typical elimination diet for this program.

Really though, I don't want to control my eating to that extent and from having cut things out before and re-introduced then I do not feel I have intolerances (well, junk food does bloat me but I want to cut that as much as I can anyway and with dairy I do prefer alternative milks, full fat products and goats cheese and lacto free milk...), but I thought I would try it out anyway.

The way I would prefer to eat is to cut way back on processed foods and added sugars and try to eat as naturally as possible - but not to stress if I don't eat natural 100% of the time. Most importantly I want to leave myself plenty of choice, without going overboard - I think that's the only way I could keep it up long term.

For exercise, you should have 4 sessions every single day - no rest days. Each session is short and you must leave a certain amount of time between sessions. The different routines often repeat the same exercises so you my find yourself doing hundreds of the same movement on a daily basis, every day. Unfortunately, I prefer a bit of variety when it comes to exercise so this doesn't really work for me. I also disagree that there is no such thing as over-training, I know too many people with injuries which are a result of over-training.

This type of training plan is similar to ones I've seen before aimed at improving fat burning and for metabolic training - see Figure Athlete for some brilliant articles on training and diet, I particularly love this metabolic circuit by Rachel Cosgrove. Also take a look into the Tabata method for an excellent way to train - though this is something that should only be done a couple of times a week

On top of exercising like this on a daily basis, week 2 introduces carb cycling, again something I have learned bout and dabbled with in the past, and it does get some great results but on this program my low carb day had me eating only 8% carbs and again this involves a level of control I don't want to introduce to my diet.

At this point I decided the program was not for me. I was not prepared to follow the next stage of dieting which introduces 3 "fast" days per week - one meal only is eaten - along with the intensive exercise program on these days.

I agree with Small Steps Big Changes and her views that a lot of the theories my be sound or have some studies suggesting they are safe and work - but throwing it all together at this level intensity is where I have my concerns. Particularly as this trial did not take any background information of participants, nothing at all other than an email address was required to be able to take part.

One big thing I learned from doing this is that it is very important to follow a diet and exercise program that suits you as in individual. Don't give in to any pressures coming form anyone else, do not let anyone tell you that you are weak or have failed because it does not suit you to follow the same plan as they follow. As long as you are trying to achieve the results you are after (and it is essential to be realistic) you are not a failure. Anyone who says otherwise is not worth listening to.

So I'm working on coming up with a wee bit of structure for myself. I do respond well to structure and guidelines, I'm going to be sure to build some flexibility in and include the following:

Rest days - my body needs these, I wont continue to exercise every day, though I will keep active.
I need carbs to help fuel my workout - after taking part in the program I ached, not muscle pain but like my body was tired and all my joints really hurt. I never got this when I wasn't cutting carbs.
Pre and post workout nutrition is important to me - I find it difficult to fuel correctly when exercising several times during the day, therefore one or two exercise sessions is right for me.
I can stick to an acceptable level of clean eating - I was feeling as though I lacked the willpower before, I know I can do it when I really try.
I love tabata workouts! I will be fitting 1 or 2 into my routine each week I think.
I prefer to mix things up and have a variety of different styles of workout, intervals, HIIT, yoga, body weight exercises, heavy weight training, tabata, some steady state cardio at a slower pace for longer distances


  1. Hey! That's a shame your coming out of map, but looking at your blog you do pretty well with eating clean any how!! I don't think the ed will be so extreme after the 30 days but I must admit I'm not looking forward to the announcement of the fast.
    Hope your having a good day x

  2. Really glad to see you've made the right choice for you and come at it from the point of view at looking at what's important to you and what's sustainable. It is hard to go against the popular trends, especially in modern society where following the fashions is all-important to very many people. But as you've worked out (again ;o)), it's about mostly keeping it clean with unprocessed foods and added sugars and fuelling your body appropriately and sustainably and giving it a chance to recover and re-build; with the odd off-piste treat to keep you sane!

    Well done! :o)

  3. StellaDoesHealthyEating20 June 2010 at 19:01

    Thanks Paula! Good luck with your last two weeks! Hope the fasts are easier than it sounds!

  4. StellaDoesHealthyEating20 June 2010 at 19:02

    Hey you! I was just reading your Success Story this morning! It's really good - you look great!

    lol at again! I know, I thought I knew better by now!

    Thanks :)

  5. Oo! I didn't even notice my story was up; thanks for pointing it out :) (it's a bit embarassing now as it was written more than 9 months ago and -so- much has changed since then!)

    Yeah, sometimes we just slip a bit and think there might be something worth having a go at... shame there never really is that magical miracle but then would it be worth it if it was so easy? (umm, yes!). Reckon the odd moment of madness just helps to cement what we all really know :D

  6. Hey there glad to see you back on the straight and narrow :)

  7. StellaDoesHealthyEating21 June 2010 at 13:46

    Hey! So far so good! I'm loving my morning coffee so much!

  8. StellaDoesHealthyEating21 June 2010 at 13:48

    Shame they leave it so long! Though I'm guessing WLR at least don't butcher it so that the final version is nothing like what you actually said!

    It's true, the mad moments are good for helping you see sense again, it's easy to forget as standards start to slip!


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