In 2008, I made a story for men's health, where I went crazy. Originally, the story was supposed to focus on "How to lose the last 10 pounds". But since it was for a big magazine, the focus took a similar premise: getting abs .
During a 12-week process, I worked up to 6.8% body fat.
The hardest part of the process? This was not what you would probably imagine.
Women who ate small desserts four times a week lost nine pounds more than those who enjoyed greater craziness when they wanted to.
About 4 weeks into the program, I broke my foot. But at that time, I was only a junior assistant editor trying to make a name for myself, and I considered the article as an opportunity not to be missed.
So, like any fan of hard-heads, I stayed on the story, I did not talk to any of my bosses, and I informed my diet coach (the only one and only Alan Aragon) that cardio was out the window.
Instead, we had to be creative and make it work because I did not have a lot of time, and I wanted to create a story that would benefit real people.
It did not mean anything too extreme or crazy. Not two day workouts or $ 1000 diets that required a chef. More importantly, I had a specific request.
I wanted to eat a dessert every week. I wrote a post about it and I titled something like, "Eat your cake and look at your abs too." [Sadly, my old blog on Men’s Health was buried and erased sometime after I left, and all this time I never thought to save my old content.]
I wanted a dessert because I think I eat well. It also happens to me to like cheesecake, brownies, cookies and ice cream.
I am not anti-sugar or anti-enjoyment.
But I have not been blessed with the greatest genetics of the world either. In fact, I was overweight all my childhood. So, this has become the ultimate test.
Do real people eat a dessert and still lose fat and look naked?
Why you should eat dessert (on any diet)
The complete withdrawal of food is a mistake and is more likely to result in the collapse of the diet rather than experiencing a long-term success.
That's my opinion. But there is also a lot of scientific data to support. [Note: I’m not saying you shouldn’t occasionally try to remove foods from your diet that seem to be causing issues. That’s a different story. I’m talking about creating a plan based on complete and absolute restriction.]
My agreement with Alan was that despite my broken foot, I wanted to show that you could be thin and still eat a dessert. So that's what we did. During the first 4 weeks, I took a dessert every day.
After that, by becoming leaner, we went to twice a week. Less frequently, but still enough to make the process enjoyable.
And you know what? I have never had a diet that was pleasant or less exhausting mentally. I ate real food, desserts and treats. No, I did not crush the cheesecake three times a day, but I did not starve either.
In many ways it was the anti-diet approach but a proactive way to prevent where most diets go wrong: cravings, weaning and miserable-diet- itis
If you're not familiar with miserable-diet-itis it's basically what happens with 98.3 percent of diets that prescribe so many limits and rules that you end up following a plan, there is no way that you will be able to maintain for the long term.
Is there any magic that makes a particular diet better than another? If you are a supporter of science and research, then no.
A historical research conducted by Dr. David Katz suggests that when you compare most diets, you will find that many of them work . So why choose the one that makes you miserable, you end up giving up, and you can not stay long enough to see the actual results.
Yes, you still have to create a diet of vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy fats. But it's a message we all know now. What is still lost in the translation is that what you eat day by day does not make you miserable.
Remember, part of the trick to a healthy life is consistency and patience. It works for diet and exercise. No magic. Just consistency and durability.
The "rules" of dessert (sugar not sold separately)
When you are trying to lose weight, the worst thing you can do is to ban all indulgences, which creates a sense of withdrawal. Even science supports the approach.
German researchers discovered that this mentality made it more difficult to respect a plan and was more likely to make reservations.
A more effective approach is one that allows you to satisfy your cravings in controlled portions.
A study from the University of Alabama found that overweight women who ate small desserts four times a week were losing 9 pounds more than those who were enjoying greater craziness. when they wanted it.
Small treats provide the psychological benefit that keeps you motivated without derailing your diet plan.
In any diet, 10 to 20% of your calories can be directed to a small treat. The key is to watch portion sizes (yes, always difficult), so that a cup of ice cream does not turn into a party all night long at the 24-hour buffet. Or in many situations, put yourself in a position where you have the support to make sure that these types of crises are more difficult to occur.
But you know what? Spending from a spoonful to an entire cartridge of ice cream is far less likely when you do not feel that food is out of reach, or that this has always been the case since you have tasted something you like.
Learn your limits. Understand your triggers And build a system that helps you succeed. But do not delete all the foods you like. It's a common recipe for disasters and one of the most common reasons why so many diets actually fail.