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  • Writer's pictureDavid Esser

Fad Diets Suck and Are Keeping You From Your Fitness Goals - Here's Why

If you own a social media account these days, it's almost a foregone conclusion that some sort of "fitness expert" has popped up on your screen screaming at you about the latest diet trend.


You know the videos I'm talking about. The ones where some action figure looking dude in a tank top is standing in front of a new Ferrari while different colored words pop up on the screen with goofy sounds.


Keto.


Animal-based.


High-fat diets.


Low-fat diets.


Vegan and vegetarian.


Intermitent Fasting.


The list is endless. A quick Google search on "best diet for fat loss" will provide you with a hundred different answers -- each one contradicting the answer that came before it. The truth of the matter is that all of these "fad diets" are just that. Fad diets. While most of the people pushing these diet plans may mean well, the problem with them is that they completely ignore the most basic law of fat loss and getting into shape.


No matter what you read online or see in an Instagram Reel, the Law of Thermodynamics still applies to you. Unless you have a medical condition that affects the way your body metabolizes food (this is extremely rare and requires medical intervention), the only way to lose fat consistently is by being in a caloric deficit.


What is a caloric deficit? It is simply consuming less calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. A 300-500 calorie deficit per day will typically result in ~1 pound of fat loss (assuming you are getting some level of moderate exercise in). Yes. This means you can eat carbohydrates and still get into great shape (sorry Keto truthers!)


If you or someone you know has had great success utilizing one of these "fad diets" (Keto, animal based, and fasting seem to be the most popular at the moment), it is not because they broke the laws of physics and starting burning fat for no reason, it is quite literally because the diet unintentionally put them into a caloric deficit. Trust me, if you eat 5,000 calories of "Keto ice cream" every day, you won't lose weight. Your body doesn't care if it is in Ketosis or not -- that is simply way too much food for the average person to consume. So where am I going with all of this? My goal with this post is to provide clarity as to why diets work and why diets fail. A diet will work if you are in a consistent and maintainable caloric deficit. It will fail if you are eating too much food. It is really that simple. I've coached myself to single digit body fat levels from simply tracking my calories, and I've coached several clients through 20+ pound weight loss journeys with nothing more than tracking calories and keeping them in a deficit (click here for testimonials).


If you are having success with a special diet -- great, keep going. Do whatever works for you. But be careful when rationalizing WHY the diet is working for you. It is not because your body is unique and thermogenesis does not apply to you. It is not because you cut out carbs or seed oils. It is 100% because whatever diet you are on has you in a caloric deficit.


If you are really struggling with fat loss, I highly recommend downloading myFitnessPal (it's free) and tracking how much food you are actually eating on a daily and weekly basis. As scary as that sounds, there's nothing wrong with tracking your calories, and it is the only way to ensure that you are putting your body in a state to burn body fat.


Endless cardio and weird Keto foods will be way more challenging than simply keeping an eye on your portions and choosing healthy, low-calorie options at the grocery.


 

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