Dieting, or how to keep the fad off

I'm not a dieter. Ive never been one for counting calories or watching what I eat. So it's no surprise that when the latest diet crazes come into my radar via work or friends that I tune out. Currently there are several diets in play by various people I know including, but not limited to:

  • Atkins
  • South Beach
  • The GM Diet (hadn't heard about this one until this week)
  • Some diet package one of my coworkers bought which allows you to customize it to your way

This is just in the past few weeks. It's unbelievable what lengths people will go to try to get to the ideal figure with as little effort as possible. The problem I have with most diets are as follows:

  • Success is measured in pounds. That is a measurable, and it's important to quantify success in some fashion, but pounds is not what people want to achieve. Flattening their stomach, or reducing the size of their hips or thighs is the desired outcome. Taking off pounds won't solve the initial requirement for the diet, so it's easy to abandon the diet as not working, even when the scale is steadily counting backwards.
  • Exercise is generally not part of the diet. Just as there is no such thing as getting rich quick without hard work, there's no such thing as getting the body you want without hard work. Period.
  • Changing your behavior is hard. Very hard. Most diets require an almost about-face with what you are currently used to, and as such it is extremely easy to revert back to old habits. Also, extreme changes in diet causes stress, which your body works hard to adapt to. This adaptation is not free, though, and your body will work extra hard to make the changes necessary to cope with the change.
  • Bizzare food choices. Nobody, and I mean nobody wakes up and exclaims "I'm going to eat (6-8 bananas | 3 bowls of cabbage soup | strictly tomatos) and nothing else". These bizzare food choices are not natural, and can cause the diet to fail when your body yells out "Enough! Gimme a pizza now!"
  • Atkins is bullcrap. There, I said it. Any diet that claims you'll lose weight while eating porterhouse steaks is a load of hooey.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't eat right when given the choice, and my exercise program consists mostly of defying gravity, but I've had it with all of these diet programs that people are on. They're the modern equivalent of snake-oil, promising trimmer waistlines and better complexion. There is no right diet for everyone, as everyone is different. More exercise, more water, and less fatty foods is about the only thing that works for everyone. Everything else is just a fad.