Fad or fact?

Apparently, Jeniffer Aniston’s morning regime includes: waking up between 8:30 am and 9 am; no solid food until 16hrs after last food the night before; splashing her face with icy cold water 25 times; drinking celery juice and meditation… I don’t know about you, but as someone who doesn't have celeb status, much of this would be unsustainable for me.



There will always be interesting routines, workouts, diets, supplements, etc. that seem like they can solve all our problems – and quickly too! However, many of these do not bear too much closer inspection – especially for those of us who have to hold down jobs and navigate a vast array of relationships.
For me, a fad is anything not rooted in verifiable science/research.
Just because a way of life works for one person, albeit famous, does not mean it will work for me or you. We all have different metabolisms, gut-flora, temperaments and, most of all, we have different situations that cause us stress (see an earlier article where I talk about stress and its effect on appetite/metabolism).

Therefore I am a firm believer that we each need our own unique approach for achieving a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

My clients have usually tried lots of different options in a bid to achieve their health goals before coming to me, for example; juicing, Keto, ultra-low-calorie deficits, cleansing weeks… I could go on. The only common factor is that the approach was unsustainable. After a few weeks or maybe even months they would find that the plan did not work for their real life and would revert to 'normal'.
There is perhaps one advantage to trying a fad on for size – openness to change. While trying something different, we need to get into a 'change' mindset.
Having a change mindset is fundamental to achieving a different result. 

Recognising the need to do something different and trying different options as opposed to just wishing for change is most definitely a step (even leap) in the right direction.


For me, facts need to be rooted in research and proven to be true over time. A few facts that might help you achieve a healthy weight:
You do need a calorie deficit to lose weight and you need a calorie credit to gain weight. 

If you are losing weight mysteriously, this is an indication that you are using more energy than you are consuming; and, if you are gaining weight (again mysteriously) this is a clear indication that you are regularly consuming more energy than you expend.

Many times I speak with clients who are adamant that their eating patterns have not changed however the scales keep moving – usually upwards. When we explore further, we can usually identify a reduction in energy used – some really simple reasons include: driving to work instead of taking the train; or, stopped going to football because it interfered with work.

Other, more hidden reasons include new stress (chronic stress actually tends to reduce energy we use,  for the impact of stress on metabolic rate) or changing hormone levels.

Simply put, there is no effect without a cause – the trick is identifying the cause and then deciding how best to deal with the situation.
Not all calories are the same.

Our bodies need to work harder to get at the energy in whole foods that have not been processed significantly.

This means if I ate the same number of calories as you; but I choose mainly processed refined foods while you chose more natural/whole foods, my body will get the 'benefit' of much more of the energy in the food I eat because processed foods require less energy to absorb.

My body would retain on average 90% of the energy from my processed/refined foods – to use or store; whilst you would only get the benefit of 80% of the energy from your foods (usually accompanied by more vitamins and minerals).

Woman in kitchen with recipe book

The power of 1%

If you always do what you have always done you will continue to get the same results.

  • 1 to power 365 = 1 
    However, if you add just 1% every day for a year, you will multiply your original principal by 37!.
  • 1.01 to power of 365 = 37.8
    Interestingly, if you 'go hard' and do 10% extra once a month for 12 months, you only increase your original principal by a multiple of three.
  • 1.10 to power of 12 = 3.14

Small change done consistently might not feel like very much, but it is the consistency that counts.

How to decide if a plan is right for you

Picture this, a new plan looks so tempting, everyone is raving about the results they are getting.
How do you decide whether it is right for you? Talk to your nutritionist, I know, I would say that wouldn’t I… however, your nutritionist can assess the diet/plan and tell you whether you will get the right nutrients; whether the plan will be appropriate if you have any hormone deficiencies; and, advice on any alterations that might make it more realistic/sustainable.
Barring that, you could do the research yourself but we always recommend if you are going to change your diet, you do so with support from your GP or nutrition professional. It is imperative that you get all the key macros, vitamins and minerals your body needs. It is possible to find details of appropriate levels on the NHS website. If any specific foods are to be avoided you must understand which nutrient said foods would normally provide and ensure you are getting said nutrients from another source.

You should also assure yourself that the plan is sustainable i.e. you enjoy the foods, and you can see yourself keeping to the plan long term.
Plan or no plan, there are many factors that influence how/whether you are able to determine the right healthy lifestyle for you – and stick to it. Factors like sleep, self-talk, relationships all make a difference.
Happy exploration!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW1Y & NW9
Written by Ola Molade
London SW1Y & NW9

Ola is a qualified Nutritionist and Transformational Coach who focuses on supporting people that work in high stress environments. Ola offers face-face and/or online consultations that help people wishing to develop new habits in relation to food and lifestyle choices.

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