The Diet To Lose Belly Fat – Avoiding Fads, And Doing What Really Matters


Recently, I posted a photo on my Facebook page from a publication I found at the grocery store. I asked what people thought of the headlines, and I got many replies.

It’s obvious this magazine targets women with the cover model being one sign, and the header reading “Toned LEGS! Tight BUTT!” highlighted over the woman’s thigh area.

Here was my question as stated:

Found this at my local grocer as I was checking out…

I just want to start a discussion, not trying to stir up anything.

What frustrates you most about the headlines on this publication, and why?

I’ve got a handful of remarks to make, but what do you think?

And below are a list of responses:

Sharon wrote:

I hate that it’s using a previously well-known and respected brand (Prevention) to pander to all the things women might go for i.e. you have a big belly and can lose it in ONE MONTH, and here’s a secret, and you can be on fire but still eat like a pig, oh and have fabulous booty, and win a prize! For shame.

Then right below, Jennifer added some of her thoughts:

NOT even sure where to start. IGNITING. Tone. Tight. 13 lbs in 4 weeks. Shrinkage. I can win $300 for eating amazing desserts that will magically cause me to drop pounds?? Mostly, as Sharon said: PREVENTION – shame on you for perpetuating all this garbage.

I agree with them. The messaging on the cover speaks to one thing: emotions. And when emotions are running high, it’s easy to act based on feelings alone.

If you’re overweight, out of shape, and desperately looking for the perfect diet to lose belly fat, how awesome would it be to finally know The #1 Secret to Weight Loss?

Or how would it feel if you could Shrink Your Belly and lose 13 pounds in 4 weeks?

What if you finally could eat all those amazing desserts that allows you to drop the pounds?

Here’s the rub. For just $4.99, and a few minutes reading, you’ll be able to bake a cake that makes you lose weight, and have the #1 Secret to Weight Loss.

Finally — all the woes of real-life, weight-related and body-focused struggles are over.

Sounds too good to be true, huh?

It is.

A few more people gave their thoughts in the Facebook thread:

Aranka wrote:

Sensationalist titles and claims

This is a sensationalism at its best.

Jessie wrote:

Everything about this cover. The drop 13 pounds in 4 weeks is the big one. Also the amazing desserts that drops pounds. It’s sad that people still believe this sort of crap that these magazines are putting out just to sell copies.

Jessie’s right. Lots of people believe this crap. We’re influenced, rather we like to admit it or not, by the media.

Look, it can be hard to decipher the truth from the cow manure. It’s especially true if you’re not well versed the benefits of consistent movement and good eating habits.

Ruan replied with:

It’s just a fad cover in general.

I agree. This cover is full of so-called fads.

But why are people so attracted to fad solutions?

Fads are attractive because they offer an easy solution to a rather complex problem.

As humans, we seek comfort.

We want the shortcut.


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In Stay Leaner, Longer I mention ‘The Cheat Code” as one of the major roadblocks to success with long term health and fitness.

In short, when we search for cheat codes, we’re looking for the easy road. But the truth is none of this is easy.

If it were, everyone would be fit, active, and healthy.

There would be no more trendy headlines, or false promises everywhere your eyes land.

Media manipulators wouldn’t be able to sell magical pill solutions, or fad diets to lose belly fat. And they wouldn’t be able to make you feel bad for landing anywhere outside their standards.

Fads are always going to exist, so instead of an attempt to shelter you from them, I want to help you see them for what they are.

Here’s a quick checklist of ideas to consider:

  • If one suggests an easy fix to a longterm problem, beware of their agenda.
  • If one suggests you cut out an entire macronutrient, beware. No healthy person thrives without a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
  • If you believe one missing piece of information is holding you back, it’s much more than just one piece.
  • If you want sustainable, and lasting results, many changes must happen over time, not for any single period.

There’s a lot above, so let’s cover them one by one below.

Easy Fixes Rarely Correct Longterm Problems

Remember what I mentioned earlier. It’s natural to want an easy solution. Most dieters who prefer a quick-fix tend to slash carbohydrates to nothing to see a dramatic drop in scale weight.

And while this may work well at first, it’s not sustainable to live on no, or very few carbs forever. Eventually you’ll crave all the incredible carbohydrate-laden foods, and give in.

Sure, slashing carbohydrate for a month might make you lose that 13 pounds in 4 weeks, but how much of that is fat? Maybe a few pounds, but most is water and glycogen.

What happens when your body feels like a sun-baked turd, and has no energy to exercise, walk to the fridge, or even think? You make one of two choices. You either live in the lifeless world of low carb, or you recklessly abandon it with two giant pizzas and a big gulp.

As I’m hopeful you’ll agree, this is no way to live, and there’s no ‘longterm’ with this mode of action.

All Macronutrients Are Important: Only Fad Diets Demonize Them

I’ve harped on Paleo, and Atkins, and other low-carb diets. Other diets might recommend slashing fat, or even slashing protein (How much protein do I need). Regardless of your choice, there’s no real balance.

All foods contain nutrients, some more so than others, so it only makes sense to get a variety of each macronutrient for micronutrient insurance.

If someone has a strong recommendation for leaving out an entire macronutrient, beware of their reasoning. If you’re not met with well thought-out ideas backed by what we understand via scientific evidence (not just random pubmed studies), my warning is to question their reasoning.

It’s not just one piece of information you’re missing — Gestalt Principles

Oftentimes, we think we’re missing just one more piece of information. But if it were only one piece you were missing, you’d probably have it mostly together. Gestalt Principle, or theory basically suggests that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I like to think of fitness and health goals like this: If you’re getting most of it right, you’ll go very far in your pursuit of less fat, more muscle, better energy, and all things associated with the active lifestyle.

Most who aren’t getting the results they want are missing many pieces of the puzzle, so it’s rarely just one piece of information that will take you from out of shape to excellent health and aesthetics.

Longterm Results Require Longterm Decisions

For some perspective, let us think about what most diets to lose belly fat all have in common: a caloric deficit. Now the way we arrive there can be via many means, such as those I listed above.

It could be low carb, low fat, or extremely low calorie by means of a juice cleanse, or extremely low in nutrients from consuming mostly junk food. At the end of the day, a fad diet, regardless of how you go about it is rarely a longterm decision. As a result, most fall off the wagon, give up, and return to their previous habits.

After all, if an action is not sustainable, and the changes cannot be maintained, there’s no chance of longterm success.

Instead of opting for a quick fix in hope of jumpstarting progress, it’s usually much better to change one thing at a time. Once you’ve mastered the change, move onto the next obstacle, and conquer that one.

Example: if you’re not exercising, and are constantly overeating, but wish to be fit, and leaner, you should ideally pick only one thing to change. Pick the easiest one, and give that your full attention until you’ve gotten that habit down.

What You Must Know:

To lose belly fat, and get into better shape, remember that no amount of special exercises will reduce body fat. Exercise, and proper training is important, but a caloric deficit is the key to fat loss.

When you’re working on getting into better shape, you should always have a plan that is unsustainable, and practical. Learning how to plan your meals, and get into a routine is half the battle.

In addition to that, demonizing macronutrients is never the way to go… I’m especially partial to the idea of never going low-carb if you want to lose fat, and keep it off longterm.


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7 thoughts on “The Diet To Lose Belly Fat – Avoiding Fads, And Doing What Really Matters”

  1. Great article JC.

    The truth is there are no quick fixes and shortcuts.
    The more shortcuts people take to either lose weight or tone up areas of their bodies, then the longer it will take.

    Because shortcuts don’t work.
    They waste your time and sap your motivation, so you then go onto the next shortcut and so cycle continues!

    Eat good wholesome foods, stay away from junkfoods, and do a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day.
    It’s not hard and most people can do this.

  2. Great pot JC.

    I found this to be the biggest take away…

    “Most who aren’t getting the results they want are missing many pieces of the puzzle, so it’s rarely just one piece of information that will take you from out of shape to excellent health and aesthetics.”

    Like the cover you show may out there push the one quick fix. But as you clearly stated there are many other pieces missing and the simple fix won’t do much if anything.

    • Exactly. rarely is it just one thing… the only ones missing one thing are those who need a little bit of an edge, but by looking at them, you’d never know they needed one last bit of info.

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