Let me start by saying I hate diets. I think the word “diet” should be taboo and nobody really needs to be on one.

I’ve tried a bunch of them over the years. Like most people, I get caught up in the hype surrounding the hottest new diet fad and inevitably jump on board. My success rate? ZERO

It’s for this reason that I hate 99% of diet plans. They’re simply not sustainable over the long haul for most people. They often leave you feeling irritable and hungry by eliminating certain food groups you really enjoy.

Take the Keto Diet for example. It’s the most searched diet plan on Google. My personal opinion— IT STINKS! Giving up carbs and entering a state of ketosis will most definitely result in weight loss but ask anyone that’s tried the Keto Diet how sustainable it is over the long haul and you’ll get disappointing results. The Keto Diet is hard to follow and it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with. People simply can’t eat this way for a long time. It is also important to remember that “yo-yo diets” that lead to rapid weight loss fluctuation are associated with increased mortality.

Look, I’m not saying that all diet plans don’t work. Some people need a regimented plan in order to jump start weight loss. But when selecting a diet plan, do your research first. Are you really willing to eliminate certain foods, ie carbs, from your life? I’m not.

Sustainable long term weight loss requires something we all possess, costs nothing, and doesn’t involve buying special meals or avoiding entire food groups. What is it? Common sense.

I don’t want to oversimplify this point but common sense is really all it takes to lose weight. Again, I’ll pick on the Keto Diet. Does it sound like common sense that eating a diet high in fat that eliminates all pleasure foods like cake, ice cream, cookies, and bread is really sustainable or healthy? When Thanksgiving dinner is over and it’s time for pumpkin or apple pie, are you gonna be satisfied watching everyone else enjoy that treat while you gnaw on a piece of bacon? C’mon! Let’s be honest.

Now look, I realize some people are on a see-food diet. You see it, you eat it. Self control is the root problem here. But if self control is your problem do you really think adhering to some radical diet plan is within your abilities? Probably not.

Common sense. Let’s get real about the topic of long term weight loss. Sure, we all know those few lucky individuals who never work out and never gain weight. But the reality is that that’s not YOUR reality. Again, your success or failure at losing weight is going to boil down to common sense. Common sense means learning portion control, self restraint, realistic exercise routines, and where and what time you should eat. If you think eating pizza, burgers, fast food, processed meats and soda is common sensical, it’s not a diet plan you need, it’s a wake up call.

The U.S. weight loss market is now worth a record $66 billion, but the number of dieters has fallen, due to the growth of the size acceptance and body positivity movement. While it’s great that our society is getting better at not fat shaming, it isn’t helping our obesity problem around the globe.

Processed convenience foods are our biggest problem. A recent study found that over 50% of the foods we purchase fall under the category of “highly processed”. Is it coincidental that as our intake of processed foods has increased, so too have obesity rates?

Clean eating and exercise are critical to sustainable long term weight loss. Common sense tells us that if we get back to the farm-to-table approach utilized before the industrial revolution, we’d have around 75% of the problem tackled. The other 25% is exercise. America’s youth are leading an increasingly sedentary life. Cell phones and video games are replacing playgrounds and ball fields for many of our kids. Most adults aren’t much better. We must start teaching our kids the importance of physical activity for health and disease prevention and start leading by example.

Despite my dislike for diet plans, I’m gonna review several currently popular plans over the next month. At the end, I’ll tell you my story and how I was able to lose 50 lbs and keep it off. I’ll give you a hint at how I did it— common sense.

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