What is the best way to lose weight? Should you choose a traditional low-carb diet, or maybe just a low-GI diet? What about low-fat, Mediterranean, Inflammation or Metabolic Typing diets?
Or maybe you could get better results with a diet based on the response of certain hormones such as leptin.
When it comes to choosing an exercise regimen, things get even more complicated. Not to mention the zillion of supplements that are usually backed up by impressive research (at least impressive looking), and in exchange deliver exactly nothing.
The best way to lose weight becomes the best way to get disappointed.
The freedom of choice imposes, of course, that we make the right decisions, which in turn presumes that we know what is good for us.
However, if we look at the statistics (over 95% of the dieters fail again and again...and again...), it's obvious that most folks don't have a clue about how weight loss works, let alone making a sound decision.
As a result, your Average Joe feels more and more overwhelmed by the information overload, which will inevitably lead to a continuous source of frustration.
And as our expectations increase exponentially when we have virtually limitless options, the usual result is a vicious downward spiral.
In the 1960s, a psychologist named Martin Seligman conducted an experiment that involved teaching three groups of dogs to escape an electric shock by jumping over an obstacle.
While the first group had no prior exposure to similar experiments, the second one had learned how to respond in a comparable setting, so not surprisingly these dogs were more successful in accomplishing the task demanded.
Finally, the third group had a profound negative experience because in their previous settings the electric shocks couldn't be avoided regardless of the action taken.
As it turned out, these dogs became inert to any new stimulus, and didn't even try to escape. The poor animals just laid down, and accepted their fate as a fatality.
So what does this to do with your concerns about the best way to lose weight?
All mainstream diets are based on a restriction of some kind. For this reason, dieters lose considerable weight in the first few months, and inevitably relapse into their old eating patterns afterward.
Similarly, the present wealth of information (or at least the perception of it) and the vast assortment of diets (that for the most part don't work) lead to blindness and ignorance of the basic physiological facts related to weight loss.
Sadly, most folks conclude that it's not in the cards for them to ever get lean, and instead of questioning the advice received, they just blame themselves for being a failure.
For those of you interested in human behavior and psychology, I recommend Barry Schwartz's excellent book The Paradox of Choice, in which he explains why having more choices causes less satisfaction.
Brief Tangent About Energy Balance
The inability to lose weight is always caused by a positive energy balance, regardless of your body's metabolic adaptation.
I know, it's not your case (you barely touch food), but you may want to get into the habit of measuring your calorie intake for a while, as it's well documented that the obese folks who “can't lose weight” tend to grossly underestimate how much they eat.
So get a digital food scale and several sets of measuring cups and spoons to know exactly where you stand.
As mentioned, most diets fail because they are focusing on some ludicrous pseudoscience of macronutrient ratios or food attributes, instead of bringing to light the physiological reality.
However, as the adage goes, there are no bad or good diets. In fact, diets don't give a shit about you. Instead, there are good or bad decisions, and that's on you. Which brings me to the next point.
What Is The Best Way To Lose Weight?
It bears repeating that the danger of too much information of mediocre quality is that it can interfere with the understanding of the essential matters.
Although there are about one billion articles on weight loss strategies, it's always the same tired stuff about not drinking sugary soda or start doing exercise, which is great if you are looking for the best way to lose weight temporarily, and don't give a shit about long term results.
Other authors such as Tom Venuto recognize that the real change should begin with reprogramming your mind in order to create automatic behaviors, but they don't explain properly the mechanisms behind it.
For this purpose, it's important to make a clear distinction between your rational brain and emotions, so you can make the best use of them.
It was long believed that the emotional brain (which we inherited from animals) was nothing more than a primitive organ, governed by crude impulses and whims that are not in accordance with our sublime human nature.
Even the most famous shrink, Sigmund Freud, believed that the survival of modern society depended on people sacrificing their desires, and relying mostly on rationality.
However, this utopia, fostered also by the mainstream diets, makes sense only in theory because the emotional intelligence is rooted in our evolution.
It should be mentioned that human emotions are far from irrational if are comprehended and properly nurtured. This will greatly expend your horizons because this part of the brain is much more complex and developed than its cognitive counterpart.
It's important to note that no conscious behavior will ever become automatic if it's based on rules that are not in accord with your freedom or human nature. And that's exactly were dieters fail. For them, the best way to lose weight has to be a regimen based on deprivation.
It's very common to see some whimsical fitness aficionado starting a spartan diet and training six days a week, and pathetically abandon his “mission” after less than a month.
Getting To The Point
Don't treat weight loss as a mission because you won't accomplish anything. For long term success, dieting and exercise have to become your second nature.
So the best way to lose weight is to apply what is really important, and ignore all the rest. Remember, overstressing little details can make you as hapless as Seligman's dogs.