I had a bit of an epiphany on the treadmill this morning. Going back to my friend who requested suggestions on how to lose 70 pounds, some of the replies were along the lines of, "Do a Whole30!" and "My doctor told me to stop eating dairy/wheat/insert food here, and I've lost 6 pounds already, so you should try that!" That is, precipitously cut back on an entire food group (or two or three) in order to create a highly restrictive diet. My vote: don't!
Now, if your doctor tells you to stop eating something for medical reasons, then you should. I know several people with killer allergies and painful sensitivities. Heck, my own brother was diagnosed with celiac disease once--which turned out to be a false diagnosis, incidentally. If it hurts to eat something, then you should take it out of your diet to the best extent possible, or mitigate the effects with medication as you choose.
Of course you'll lose weight when you cut out entire food groups, because you have a hard time finding enough to eat. Plus, monotony makes food less enjoyable overall (who really likes eating the same meals day after day?) Believe me, I've been there. Vegetarian for 16 years, paleo for 2 years; the first became unsustainable for health reasons (as I've blogged about before), while the second was unsustainable for practical reasons. The restrictive paleo diet was not in accordance with my cultural foodways. Plus, I was starting to wade into the lake of the latest eating disorder, orthorexia.
Anyway, back to the treadmill epiphany. I was doing my 3, 2, 1 training routine:
2 minutes walk
[30 seconds jog, 20 seconds run, 10 seconds sprint] repeated for 5 minutes
and repeat until you've run out of time or energy.
This morning my jog was 6.1 mph, run was 6.4 mph, and sprint was 6.7 mph. Total workout length was 38 minutes; I managed 5 repeats of the entire routine, plus a cool-down at the end. Then 10 minutes of stretching and foam rolling. The first running block is always the hardest. On the last ones, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was becoming weak. On more than one instance, I thought to myself, "Be a badass and run the next entire minute at 6.7 mph!" and "Don't stop to walk in between sets. Keep running!" However, then the highly civilized and logical part of my brain, the one that likes to drink quality loose-leaf tea from a laid-out set of teapot, cup and saucer, and small milk jug, would chime in and say, "Stick to the training!"
Stick to the training. Make small advances consistently. Set sustainable, achievable goals for the short and long term. Eat foods that are nutritious and satisfying every day, not too little and not too much. Engage in pleasurable movement every day, not too little and not too much. Don't crash your body with restrictive food or injurious levels of exercise. Stick to the training.