Every diet works, at least in the short-term.
You have friends who’ve lost tens or hundreds of pounds following a special diet.
You have other friends who pester you or maybe even make you feel guilty for eating the way you do. You’re not sure what to believe.
You keep reading, listening, watching, and searching. You’re desperate for a diet that will work for you.
You’re wasting your time. In this podcast, you’ll learn why most diets fail, and how to use flexible dieting to get the body you want.
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> Did you enjoy this podcast? [Click here to check out my book, *Flexible Dieting](https://evidencemag.com/flexible-dieting-book)*.
**Armi Legge:** Every diet works, at least in the short term. You have friends who have lost tens or hundreds of pounds following a specific diet. You probably have other friends who pester you or maybe even make you feel guilty for eating the way you do.
You’re not sure what to believe. You keep reading, listening, watching, and searching. You’re desperate for a diet that will work for you.
You’re wasting your time. Every diet works by tricking you into eating less. Unfortunately, most diets are not sustainable, so they don’t help you stay lean in the long-term.
In this podcast, you’ll learn why diets work and how you can use these principles to create a fat loss diet that you love.
My name is Armi Legge and you are listening to Evidence Radio, a podcast that gives you automate your health and fitness so you can move on with your life.
Pay special attention to today’s show because I’m going to share an exclusive announcement with you at the end.
Nobody wants to hear it, but eating less and moving more are the only ways to lose weight. To avoid this uncomfortable truth, diet authors use other methods to help you eat less without realizing it.
There’s nothing wrong with that approach on the surface. The problem is that to justify their diet rules, they either lie to or mislead you. They make up pseudoscientific reasons that foods are bad for you to increase your chances of sticking to the diet. They reference scientific studies that don’t support their points to convince you they’re right.
If you tell people that carbs, sugar, and insulin make you fat, they stop eating bread, candy, cake, ice cream, and many other foods that are high in calories and easy to overeat. They eat less and lose weight.
Diet books use other ridiculous claims like “eating junk food makes it harder to eat muscle,” or “eating red meat damages your heart and blood muscles,” or “saturated fat clogs your arteries,” or a more popular one recently, “grains give you cancer, headaches, and cause pretty much every other health problem.”
In addition to cutting out many high-calorie foods, most diets encourage you to eat more protein and/or fiber, which helps you eat even less. The main reason low-carb diets work isn’t because carbs are inherently fattening. It’s because low-carb diets encourage people to eat more protein.
In one study, people ate 1300 calories less per day without getting hungry when they ate more protein.
Here’s another example. People who go on vegan diets often lose weight and then claim animal products like meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy make you fat. These people have eliminated two major food groups while simultaneously eating more fruits and vegetables. They’re eating more fiber, water, and total food volume, all of which help you eat fewer calories.
Almost all diets also force you to eat a smaller variety of foods, which helps you lose weight.
All this time, most people have no idea they’re eating fewer calories, yet they are. People will swear that they didn’t eat less or that they actually ate more while dieting and they still lost weight thanks to their new diet. They’re wrong.
People are horrible at estimating their calorie intake. In some cases, people who claim they can’t lose weight by cutting calories underestimate their food intake by 47% and overestimate how much they’ve exercised by 51%.
Other data has shown that people can underreport their food intake by up to 2,000 calories per day.
Weight loss diets also give people one more advantage. They give you a sense of purpose and community.
You may not know this, but on the side, I work as a marketing consultant for several different companies. This means that these companies pay me to help them sell stuff.
One of the most important aspects of any good marketing campaign is relating to your customer. You want them to feel like they’re part of a larger group of people suffering from the same problem. This is part of why I share details about my personal life, such as me struggling with an eating disorder. It shows I’m in the same boat as you, fighting similar problems.
When people are told to eat less, they don’t feel like they’re part of a community. They feel like they’re alone. On the other hand, if you tell people to follow a specific diet, suddenly, they’re part of a group. If you give people a unified system, they’re more likely to stick with the diet.
Unfortunately, most of the diet rules that tie people together are either unnecessary or false. When they stop working, even this shared sense of community can’t help people stay lean.
Almost all of these diets are united under one principle: some foods are bad and others are good. This idea is complete nonsense, which I’ll cover in an upcoming podcast.
The bottom line is that all diets work by helping people eat less, using simple, relatively easy rules. The problem is that the same rules that work perfectly for one person might not be the best for another. Some people love eating according to a specific diet such as low-carb, vegan, or paleo, while others, like me, don’t.
The key to creating a diet you love is by using what I call “silent constraints.” Basically, these are rules that give you the most benefit with the least amount of effort or thought.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to eat whatever you wanted, never think about food, and stay extremely lean and healthy. For most people, especially those who have been dieting for awhile or want to stay leaner than average, this isn’t generally possible unless you set a few simple guidelines for yourself.
For instance, if you’re on a low-carb diet, your silent constraint is not to eat carbs. For many people, that’s easy and they don’t really miss carbs that much, at least for awhile. If you’re vegan, you’re silent constraint is not to eat animal products. Many people lose weight on vegan diets because it’s fairly easy for them to follow.
On this podcast, you’ve learned about following certain macronutrient guidelines, nutrient timing, refeeding, and all sorts of other techniques for losing weight. Many of these systems are silent constraints.
However, the problem is that most people don’t know where to start. They’re not sure how to pick and choose which constraints to use and which to abandon. They’re also not sure how to put these constraints into a unified system that keeps them healthy and happy and moving towards their goals.
To help you get started, I’m going to give you the cliff notes for exactly how to set up a diet right now.
1) Start with your personal preferences in mind first.
Do whatever is easiest and most convenient. If you don’t miss carbs, don’t eat as many of them. If you like to count calories, do that for now. If you don’t really enjoy drinking calories that much, then don’t drink many calories. Do what works for you.
2) After setting your preferences, go a little deeper and modify your diet guidelines based on your goals.
If you’re an athlete, you’ll perform much better eating more carbohydrate. If you realize that you aren’t as lean as you’d like to be, slightly cut back using whatever techniques you prefer. If you are trying to get leaner, you should also eat more protein.
3) Take into account any medical or physiological reasons you may want to change your diet.
For instance, if you have hypercholesterolemia, you may need to eat a low-cholesterol diet. If you can celiac disease, you shouldn’t eat gluten. If you’re allergic to peanuts, don’t eat peanuts. As a general rule, try to avoid food avoidance as much as possible.
4) Keep modifying your diet.
This is where most people go wrong. They set a specific calorie limit for themselves. They only allow themselves 100g of carbs per day or they follow some other extremely rigid approach. Instead, you should change your diet over time. Everyone gets bored with their current food choices and eating plan eventually.
Here is the real secret to flexible dieting: changing your diet as you see fit to suit your new preferences, goals, and lifestyle.
The way you eat today may be very different from how you eat in a year, and that’s totally OK. In fact, it’s preferable. There’s a lot more I could teach you about this, which is why I’m going to hold a special webinar on this topic.
In case you don’t know, a webinar is an online seminar where I’ll show you slides and talk you through a specific topic. In this case, I’m going to give you a more in-depth education on how to set up a diet that you love with Flexible Dieting.
In this webinar, you’re going to learn how to fail-proof your diet so that you can guarantee that you will be able to lose fat and stay lean over the long-term.
At the end of the webinar, there will be also be time for you to ask me any questions you want. The best part? This webinar is completely free.
Here’s the catch. This webinar is only limited to 100 people. There are over 15,000 people just like you who listen to this podcast every month and there are over 100,000 people who read evidencemag.com every month, so spaces on this webinar are going to fill quickly.
The best way to make sure you get a spot is to sign up for email updates from evidencemag.com. Go to evidencemag.com, enter your email address in the box on the right side of the page, and click the little button below.
This webinar is going to be Thursday, May 15th. I’m going to email you a link to sign up for the webinar on Monday of that week, so watch your inbox. I hope to see you there.
In the meantime, if you enjoyed learning about how diets work and how to set up a diet that suits your preferences, please leave a review on iTunes. Thank you for listening, and I will talk to you next week.