Why Dieting is the Worst Way to Lose Weight

By the time you finish reading this short article, I hope you agree with me so much that you'll join me on my mission against "dieting" -- at least the way the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry has been pushing it on everyone for years.

Why Dieting is the Worst Way to Lose Weight

Dieting is the worst way to lose weight. Most people would say I'm crazy for making such an outrageous claim. However, by the time you finish reading this short article, I think you'll agree with me: Not only that, my hope is that you'll agree so much that you'll join me on my mission against "dieting" -- at least the way the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry has been pushing it on everyone for years.


So what on Earth am I talking about, "dissing" dieting like that? Haven't I said it myself many times before that diet is the most important factor for burning fat and keeping it off? Actually, no. That's where the misunderstanding is. What I've said is that if I were to put the many elements of successful fat loss into the order of their priority, nutrition would be at the top of the list.

There's a big difference between "diet" and "nutrition"

You may see where I'm going with this now, but you also might be wondering if this is just semantics. Yes, it is. But that's precisely why "diet" and "nutrition" are not saying the same thing. Words are loaded with meaning between the lines. Being successful is about understanding the power of words -- and using the words that successful people use.

Few words are more semantically loaded than diet. Think about what connotations -- and whether they are positive or negative. What comes up when you think of diet?

Restriction
Forbidden foods 
Banned food groups
What you can "never eat"
Hunger 
Gimmicks
Fads/trends (that pass or come and go in cycles)
Quick fixes (often unhealthy or dangerous)

The word "diet" was supposed to simply describe the way a person eats. "Diet" comes from the Latin, diaeta, meaning "way of life." But in our technologically advanced, sedentary society today, and with the obesity crisis we're facing, and the multi-billion dollar industry it has spawned, the word "diet" has become tainted . . .

Today, I think 'diet' carries too much negative baggage to use so loosely. The way I define it, a diet is any unsustainable change in your eating behavior to try to lose weight. When you say you're going on a diet, you're also saying that at some point you're going off it. While you're on it, you suffer all those negative associations I mentioned above.

By contrast, think about the connotations of the word nutrition. Do you think of anything negative? I don't. I think of:

Vitamins
Minerals
Micronutrients
Fiber
Muscle-building protein (amino acids)
Unrefined foods, closer to their form in nature
Energy
Vitality
Health

Now think of the word program. A program implies that there is structure. So I define a nutrition program as a structured plan you can follow as a lifestyle, which nourishes you with nutritious food that helps you get leaner, stronger, fitter and healthier . . . and stay that way.

I propose we replace "diet" with "nutrition program" unless we are specifically talking about something short term.

I believe this distinction in words is crucial, but just to play devil's advocate, let's assume that diet and nutrition program mean exactly the same thing. There's still a huge problem with the diet alone approach, and therefore, why 99% of the entire weight loss industry is wrong:

Diet is only one of the elements needed for a leaner, stronger, fitter, and healthier body. There are three other elements that most people are missing.

Dieting might improve your health. On the other hand, depending on your approach to "diet," it might destroy your health. Dieting is not always healthy. Nutrition and training together is a sure-fire pathway to health.

Weight loss diets fail 80-95% of the time. Not because they don't take the weight off, but because they rarely keep it off. Most dieters relapse. Drug addicts and alcoholics in rehab have a higher success rate than that.

Exercise and an active lifestyle are vital for long term weight loss maintenance.

The right kind of exercise is also vital for re-shaping your body . . .

Weight Loss Versus Body Transformation

There's a world of difference between losing weight and transforming your body.

Dieting can't transform your body. Only training can do that.

Dieting can't make you stronger. Only training can do that.

Dieting can't make you fitter. Only training can do that.

With diets, you might fit into smaller clothes. But you also may become a smaller version of your old self… a skinny fat person . . . weighing less . . . but still flabby (and weak).

The Muscle Loss Epidemic

With diet alone, 30 to 50% of your weight loss could come from lean body mass. And if you're getting older, the prospect of losing muscle and strength should genuinely frighten you.

After age 50, you lose 1-2% of your lean muscle every year if you do nothing (if you're not resistance training). After age 60, you lose up to 3% per year.

Let's suppose you're 50 or 60 and you're thinking, "A few percent of my lean mass? What's the big deal? I have no desire to look muscly." I can understand that. Your goals and values do change as you get older. But I already realize that most people don't want to look like bodybuilders. However, gaining lean muscle, strength and fitness will improve the quality of anyone's life.

Maintaining the muscle you have must be a priority for everyone because losing lean mass every year means losing your mobility and losing your independence as you get older.

Stop the Diet Insanity!

Given these facts, it's sheer insanity that we have millions of people who want to lose weight -- for health and for happiness -- and the first thing or only thing they think of as a solution is DIET. They're asking for deprivation, hunger, missing out on favorite foods, loss of muscle, loss of strength and eventually, loss of independence, putting a burden on other people to take care of them.

I'm not being melodramatic. I'm on mission to expose the mistakes of the dieting mentality and promote the benefits of the muscle-building, fitness and nutrition lifestyle.

The good news is, there's a right way to burn fat and transform your body, but it's not a one-trick show. You have to put several pieces together. This is total lifestyle change, so it's not easy. But it is worth it.

This is as near to a miracle formula as you will ever find. It's the 4 elements of the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle approach:

  • Nutrition program
  • Resistance (strength) training
  • Cardio Training
  • Mental training
  • Dieting is the worst way to lose weight

    Not only that, here's the nail in the coffin for 99% of what the weight loss industry is telling you: weight loss is the wrong goal to begin with. Burning the fat and keeping the muscle is the right goal. Even better, the right goal is to get leaner, stronger, fitter and healthier.

    Train hard, and expect success.

    © 2013 Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Transform Your Body Forever Using the Secrets of the Leanest People in the World

    Author Bio
    Tom Venuto
     is a fat-loss expert, transformation coach and bestselling author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Tom holds a degree in exercise science and has worked in the fitness industry since 1989, including fourteen years as a personal trainer. He promotes natural, healthy strategies for burning fat and building muscle, and as a lifetime steroid-free bodybuilder, he's been there and done it himself. Tom blends the latest science with a realistic, commonsense approach to transforming your body and maintaining your perfect weight for life.

     For more information please visit http://www.burnthefatblog.com/ and http://www.burnthefatfeedthemuscle.com/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

    A landslide is imminent and so is its tsunami

    An open letter predicts that a massive wall of rock is about to plunge into Barry Arm Fjord in Alaska.

    Image source: Christian Zimmerman/USGS/Big Think
    Surprising Science
    • A remote area visited by tourists and cruises, and home to fishing villages, is about to be visited by a devastating tsunami.
    • A wall of rock exposed by a receding glacier is about crash into the waters below.
    • Glaciers hold such areas together — and when they're gone, bad stuff can be left behind.

    The Barry Glacier gives its name to Alaska's Barry Arm Fjord, and a new open letter forecasts trouble ahead.

    Thanks to global warming, the glacier has been retreating, so far removing two-thirds of its support for a steep mile-long slope, or scarp, containing perhaps 500 million cubic meters of material. (Think the Hoover Dam times several hundred.) The slope has been moving slowly since 1957, but scientists say it's become an avalanche waiting to happen, maybe within the next year, and likely within 20. When it does come crashing down into the fjord, it could set in motion a frightening tsunami overwhelming the fjord's normally peaceful waters .

    "It could happen anytime, but the risk just goes way up as this glacier recedes," says hydrologist Anna Liljedahl of Woods Hole, one of the signatories to the letter.

    The Barry Arm Fjord

    Camping on the fjord's Black Sand Beach

    Image source: Matt Zimmerman

    The Barry Arm Fjord is a stretch of water between the Harriman Fjord and the Port Wills Fjord, located at the northwest corner of the well-known Prince William Sound. It's a beautiful area, home to a few hundred people supporting the local fishing industry, and it's also a popular destination for tourists — its Black Sand Beach is one of Alaska's most scenic — and cruise ships.

    Not Alaska’s first watery rodeo, but likely the biggest

    Image source: whrc.org

    There have been at least two similar events in the state's recent history, though not on such a massive scale. On July 9, 1958, an earthquake nearby caused 40 million cubic yards of rock to suddenly slide 2,000 feet down into Lituya Bay, producing a tsunami whose peak waves reportedly reached 1,720 feet in height. By the time the wall of water reached the mouth of the bay, it was still 75 feet high. At Taan Fjord in 2015, a landslide caused a tsunami that crested at 600 feet. Both of these events thankfully occurred in sparsely populated areas, so few fatalities occurred.

    The Barry Arm event will be larger than either of these by far.

    "This is an enormous slope — the mass that could fail weighs over a billion tonnes," said geologist Dave Petley, speaking to Earther. "The internal structure of that rock mass, which will determine whether it collapses, is very complex. At the moment we don't know enough about it to be able to forecast its future behavior."

    Outside of Alaska, on the west coast of Greenland, a landslide-produced tsunami towered 300 feet high, obliterating a fishing village in its path.

    What the letter predicts for Barry Arm Fjord

    Moving slowly at first...

    Image source: whrc.org

    "The effects would be especially severe near where the landslide enters the water at the head of Barry Arm. Additionally, areas of shallow water, or low-lying land near the shore, would be in danger even further from the source. A minor failure may not produce significant impacts beyond the inner parts of the fiord, while a complete failure could be destructive throughout Barry Arm, Harriman Fiord, and parts of Port Wells. Our initial results show complex impacts further from the landslide than Barry Arm, with over 30 foot waves in some distant bays, including Whittier."

    The discovery of the impeding landslide began with an observation by the sister of geologist Hig Higman of Ground Truth, an organization in Seldovia, Alaska. Artist Valisa Higman was vacationing in the area and sent her brother some photos of worrying fractures she noticed in the slope, taken while she was on a boat cruising the fjord.

    Higman confirmed his sister's hunch via available satellite imagery and, digging deeper, found that between 2009 and 2015 the slope had moved 600 feet downhill, leaving a prominent scar.

    Ohio State's Chunli Dai unearthed a connection between the movement and the receding of the Barry Glacier. Comparison of the Barry Arm slope with other similar areas, combined with computer modeling of the possible resulting tsunamis, led to the publication of the group's letter.

    While the full group of signatories from 14 organizations and institutions has only been working on the situation for a month, the implications were immediately clear. The signers include experts from Ohio State University, the University of Southern California, and the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses of the University of Alaska.

    Once informed of the open letter's contents, the Alaska's Department of Natural Resources immediately released a warning that "an increasingly likely landslide could generate a wave with devastating effects on fishermen and recreationalists."

    How do you prepare for something like this?

    Image source: whrc.org

    The obvious question is what can be done to prepare for the landslide and tsunami? For one thing, there's more to understand about the upcoming event, and the researchers lay out their plan in the letter:

    "To inform and refine hazard mitigation efforts, we would like to pursue several lines of investigation: Detect changes in the slope that might forewarn of a landslide, better understand what could trigger a landslide, and refine tsunami model projections. By mapping the landslide and nearby terrain, both above and below sea level, we can more accurately determine the basic physical dimensions of the landslide. This can be paired with GPS and seismic measurements made over time to see how the slope responds to changes in the glacier and to events like rainstorms and earthquakes. Field and satellite data can support near-real time hazard monitoring, while computer models of landslide and tsunami scenarios can help identify specific places that are most at risk."

    In the letter, the authors reached out to those living in and visiting the area, asking, "What specific questions are most important to you?" and "What could be done to reduce the danger to people who want to visit or work in Barry Arm?" They also invited locals to let them know about any changes, including even small rock-falls and landslides.

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