While we are on the subject of being in charge of your own diet, I would like to offer some advice on what kind of plans to avoid. Most people don't trust themselves to count their own calories and macros, so they look up diets from people who promise it will be "SO EASY!" and guarantee results. Well, it is never easy, and let's take a closer look at what kind of "results" you can expect:

Juice Cleanses

Like the crap you saw on "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead," or The Master Cleanse, 3 Day Cleanse, BluePrint Ceanse, Anything Gweneth Paltrow recommends for a healthy glow. 

The peddler pulls up and tells us how dirty our insides are, how "toxins" have built up inside of us and are causing us all kinds of problems, from our feelings of blah to chronic inflammation that is triggering cancer cells to amass as we speak. Oh no! But don't worry - we can turn all of that around and even cure our cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes with an antioxidant blast so powerful, it cleans our insides and punches out disease, fatigue and depression in one blow! It's a juice cleanse. And the longer you're on it, the better. Hell, the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead guy advocates months of the stuff. You can juice your own or buy a starter kit for only $299.99! 

Hold up. Remember what I said about micronutrients? How we don't fully understand the functions of antioxidants and phytonutrients? And how more isn't always better? (If not, CLICK HERE.) Not to mention our body isn't under siege by "toxins," unless it's $3 margarita night. Our liver, kidneys and intestines do a fine job of filtering waste products, thank you very much. If we were overcome with toxic substances like these nimrods say we are, we'd all be dead. Besides, juicers leave out all the fiber, pulp and starches, leaving only the juice. That's most of the good stuff your body needs for digestion and good intestinal health, tossed into the garbage. Look, most people are only going to lose a few pounds of water by doing this. The absurdly low calories will tank your energy, along with side effects of gas pain, unpredictable bowel movements and long hours of hangry rage. And good luck not eating everything that isn't nailed down a week after coming off of this stupid fast.

While juicers can be a healthy addition to your diet, they shouldn't be the bulk of it. Your body needs proteins, healthy fats, fibers, and starches, too. As far as cancers and disease are concerned, simply getting your weight in a healthy range is all you need to do to lower your risk. Up your veggie intake, that's all, there is no need to torture yourself, and certainly no need in the world to pay $5-10 a bottle for it, even if it was blessed by Gweneth Paltrow's personal yogi. 

Lose 20 Pounds in 6 Days!

Rapid weight loss diets with incredible "before" and "after" photos, with fine-print disclaimers like, "results not typical" in nano-sized font. You see these in the backs of magazines aimed at middle-aged women, little links on Pinterest... basically, any diet with the word "blast" in it. 

It's so easy! All you have to do is sip a smoothie instead of eating dinner! And lunch. And breakfast. And take these pills. And do this 20 minute "crazy" cardio tape every day. See? SO EASY! In just a few weeks, you can look just like these fitness models who prepped for months to take incredible after photos, then salt-loaded and puffed up for their "before" photos. Whoops! Did I say that out loud? Never mind! Buy this diet plan, with shakes, pills, DVDs and a free shaker cup! Only 349.99!

Nope. Any program that promises double-digit weight loss in a few weeks is full of shit. The only thing you'll be losing is water, muscle mass, and brain cells. Body fat, the stuff you want to lose, takes time to burn off. Gradual weight loss, no more than .5 - 1 pound loss a week, is far more sustainable than dropping 3 pants sizes in three weeks. The former means you are taking steps to change your lifestyle, burn body fat and keep it off. The latter usually involves fasting, juice cleanses, meal replacement, and intense cardio interval exercises to simply lose weight - any kind of weight - at any cost. Those results aren't real, they don't last, and worst of all, they leave you without having made one real, positive change to your lifestyle, whatsoever. 

The Pyramid Schemers

AdvoCare, Thrive, and any other jerk who is now a sales rep for a "system" and trying to put you on pills, shakes and "energy" supplements all day. 

I lost fifteen pounds in a few weeks and have transformed into a bikini model/ripped dude at the beach! Now I want to help you reach your goals... and try to get you to be one of my sales reps, so I'm not on the bottom of this shitty pyramid scheme! Take this shake! Buy these energy pills! Don't forget the fat burner - first bottle is free!

These people are a lot like the "Lose 20 pounds in 6 days" dipwads, except with a heavier emphasis on "vitamin blends," "energy pills," "appetite suppressants"  and "fat burners" being the answer to all of your problems. Sometimes they promise no need to exercise or even change your diet. Dr. Oz has been guilty of hawking this shit to people, but somehow still has fans. 

The facts are: There is no evidence whatsoever to support the claims of most of these supplements. Maybe they make some shit up, maybe there is one small "study" on a few people that produced a result that is being overblown/misinterpreted for gain. Usually these pills contain some water-soluble B vitamins, a negligible amount of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids, I'll get to those another day), some herbs that do nothing in amounts that would have no effect even if they did, and a magical mystery ingredient that makes people feel "alert" and "focused" - "energetic," perhaps? It's called..... wait for it....... CAFFEINE! Green coffee/green tea extract is the pep du jour these days. All these things are is caffeine pills, guys. Hundreds of dollars worth of vitamins you'll piss out and caffeine to make you feel buzzed. You know what's cheaper and works just as good? A cup of coffee. 

Magical Food Combinations or Restrictions

Eat Right for your Blood Type, Fruitatarian, Beverly Hills Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Alkaline Diet, Fit for Life Diet, Beyond Diet.... Any plan that has you severely restricting/omitting a food group and/or going gonzo on another type of food. 

Did you know your body is crying out right now? You are sick and you don't even know it. Gluten/Animal Products/Sugars/Dairy/Grains/cooked foods/evil food combinations are causing CHRONIC INFLAMMATION IN YOUR BODY and it is slowly killing you! You're not fat because you lead a sedentary life and consume more calories than you burn... no, it's all because you're simply eating the wrong way and don't even know it!  But all that will change when you follow the avocado-banana-raw goat milk-only diet!

Obviously, by restricting food groups, especially grains or meats, you are restricting some calories. You will probably lose a little bit of weight at first, until you find appropriate substitutes and readjust back to overeating. This is why so many gluten-phobic people testify of initial weight loss. There is no scientific evidence that any combinations of foods, for blood type or anything else, alone, burns fat or aids in weight loss. Not to mention cutting out food groups is unhealthy! Even when you're compensating by taking vitamins, your body will suffer the consequences of an unbalanced diet and lack of specific nutrients. Also, these rigid plans are unsustainable. They don't fit into your lifestyle and the diet book will be another forgotten tome on the shelf and you will go back to your old habits because you didn't teach yourself how to eat. 

 

In closing, stop looking for people to tell you what to eat. There is no magic combination, no snake oil pills that work, no sudden baptisms with clean foods that make you a reborn skinny person, and no instantaneous results. Do you know what is the most effective and all-natural fat burner? Exercise and eating a balanced diet in your caloric range, while trying to avoid/limit added salts, sugars and heavily processed foods. You want pep? Get a good night's sleep and have a cup of coffee in the morning. You want muscles? Start lifting weights. You want to get conditioned? Get out there and get active. That's it. If you pave your own way, you learn more, you make changes that stick with you, and you aren't beholden to any weird set of rules or supplement schedule that doesn't fit into your life. And best of all, you don't need to stay within 30 feet of a bathroom while you are juice fasting.