As a professional weight-loss writer and counsellor, I get a lot of questions about diets like the Zone Diet, the Atkins Diet, and other low-carb/high protein type diets.

Usually, what’s happened is that someone’s had a friend or a family member experience dramatic results on a diet like this (although more often they’ve just ‘heard of’ a celebrity doing well on it) and they want to try it for themselves.

So is the hype true?

Does low-carb work?

Should you try it?

Here’s my reply:

Even if you’re so fat that you’re afraid your heart might stop, dieting is still not the answer.

Even if you’re dangerously overweight and your doctor’s told you to lose weight NOW … dieting is STILL not the answer.

And DEFINITELY not LOW-CARB dieting!

Yes, drastic measures are required. Yes, you should absolutely listen to your doctor first and foremost.

But dieting is a TEMPORARY MEASURE. If you want permanent results – and if your health is in danger, you’d better want permanent results! – you need to go beyond temporary fixes like dieting and restriction, and focus on what really works.

Sounds like I’ve got an awful lot of nerve, don’t I? How on earth would I know about something like that?

Well, because I’ve seen enough of it happen in my life, that’s how. Let’s not forget, I used to be a good forty pounds overweight myself. I was unhealthy, sick, fat, and tired. I smoked, ate crap, and generally wallowed in my own misery.

I know what it’s like to be more than ‘just a few’ pounds overweight, trust me!

So here’s the deal: I’m not a doctor, obviously, but here’s my take on whether low-carb can save your life, your waistline, or your sex appeal. I’ve been through the low-carb phase several times myself, so you can rest assured that ALL of this information comes courtesy of my own blood, sweat, and tears!

First Of All, Dieting NEVER Works.

No matter how enticing the results promised by the latest diet are, it never works long-term. If it did, we’d all be very thin … and we’d all be very happy!

Diets are hard. They are hard, miserable, boring, deprivation-based HARD WORK. And your body and emotions absorb all that difficult strain and turn you into a tense, irritable, moody, unpleasant person.

When you’re on a diet, what do you think about?

FOOD.

You constantly think of the foods you love that you ‘can no longer eat’ (unless you break the diet), and each meal becomes a comparison between EITHER a good body, OR a satisfying meal.

Trust me. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like just as well as you do.

In fact, for most people, the foods that they’re ‘allowed’ to eat on a diet – even if they LOVED those foods before they started dieting – rapidly become boring and tasteless in comparison to the ‘forbidden’ foods they can no longer have.

This is just the way the brain works.

Once you start doing something ‘to lose weight’, all of the spirit and joy goes out of it. It becomes just another CHORE, something you do to lose weight rather than because you love it.

The very act of dieting makes the ‘allowed foods’ BORING.

That’s why dieting has an inbuilt FAILURE mechanism. You always go off the diet, and you always end up bingeing on whatever it is you’ve been denying yourself.

And since denial dissolves the bonds between your awareness and your body, when you do finally get stuck in, you’ll eat FAR MORE than you would have eaten if you’d just eaten it when you wanted it.

All this is true of any kind of diet, no matter what its particular ‘rules’ are. If it restricts your eating and your food choices, it’s a diet. And low-carb, which forces you to sacrifice entire food-groups at once, is one of the worst examples of restrictive diets out there. You have been warned!

Yo-Yos are Dangerous.

No, not the toy – the weight-loss.

‘I’ve lost a thousand pounds over the last ten years – and gained one thousand and fifteen.’ It’s heart-breaking – and surprisingly common.

Gaining and losing and re-gaining weight is very, very hard on your body (not to mention your self-esteem, eating habits, and general behavior around food!)

If you’re losing weight on doctor’s orders, it’s even MORE important that you don’t diet or deprive yourself. The more you diet, the more likely it is you’ll re-gain that weight and re-diet …

… and losing and re-gaining weight puts a massive strain on your metabolism and cardiovascular system.

Yo-yo dieting is dangerous. And as it would happen, severely restrictive diets that require a change in the dieter’s way of life (like the low-carb diet) are known to encourage SERIOUS yo-yo behavior.

When a diet is super-hard to stay on …

… like, say, a diet that says you can’t eat any of the stuff your family or friends eat, you can’t partake in traditional celebrations, and you have to carry your own special food around with you all the time …

… sound familiar? …

… doctors and dieters alike know for sure that the yo-yo effect is BOUND to happen.

However, you can’t yo-yo diet if you don’t diet in the first place.

Low-Carb Dieting Is Dangerous.

Okay. Basically, we should all eat the foods that we most want to eat, that make us feel good, and then stop eating when we’ve had enough.

That’s my method – the Trimmer Method.

There is additional detail if you want it, some of it fairly important (check out my book if you like for the full whammy), but essentially, that’s what it boils down to.

So if what you WANT to eat is nothing but low-carb meat, vegetables, and more meat – and that food is truly what makes you feel the happiest, most fulfilled physically and emotionally, and doesn’t involve some kind of weight-loss-for-happiness trade-up ­­– well, great.

Then you’re doing exactly what your body is asking you to do, and you’ll enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life as a result!

However, if you’re FORCING yourself to avoid bread, sweets, and other carbs because you think it’ll help you to lose weight faster, or because Jessica Simpson did it and you want to be like her, or because someone told you it was ‘healthier’ …

… then you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’, my friend.

But, you know, we all have to figure this stuff out in our own time.

I for one definitely needed my couple years’ worth of dieting misery – no matter how horrible it was – to know, for sure, that following other peoples’ advice was never going to work for me.

If I hadn’t struggled and cried and tried as hard as I could to lose weight, get healthy, and be happy according to other people’s ideas of what I ‘should’ be eating, I wouldn’t have known the way I do now that my own body is much smarter than any award-winning diet book.

So if you have your doubts and you want to try low-carb, you might as well go ahead. I’ll warn you that you probably won’t enjoy it all that much and your breath, after a few weeks, will be enough to knock a vulture out of the sky …

… but that’s okay. Go figure it out for yourself.

And when you’re done struggling and crying and trying as hard as you can to follow someone else’s rules …

… why, you can come back here and learn how to make your OWN rules and make YOURSELF feel great.

Trust me. It’s a WHOLE lot of fun.