People hear the word diet and they feel instantly uncomfortable. They think it means eating bland, tasteless food, chalky shakes and that they must feel hungry all of the time. That is definitely not the case. Diet (as defined by Dictionary.com) simply means the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats. Yep, that’s it. Nothing to do with gluten, meat, dairy, keto, veganism, weight loss or muscle building.
The Truth About Diets
Nutrition and dietetics is a very complex and complicated subject. If there was a one size fits all approach, magic pill or quick fix we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. The hard truth is that what diet works for me might not work for you. There are so many different variables and factors that make each of us unique.
Most people in the fitness industry will tell you that there is also quite a big difference between eating for general health versus eating to be lean. Those of us just trying to eat healthy enjoy fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, complex carbohydrates and sufficient water as we should. However, these folks will probably not be as concerned with achieving a physical aesthetic and enjoy treats and alcohol in moderation. Those who are eating to be lean will ultimately be eating to achieve or maintain a certain physique. Their diet will typically be based much more around counting their macros and limiting treats to special occasions. (Think bodybuilders)
How to Find Balance
First and foremost, the only diet that will ever work for you, is one you can maintain forever. The main reason people regain the weight they lose on their diet is because their expectations were unrealistic for their lifestyle. If you love eating cheese, chances are you won’t be able to live on a dairy free diet for very long unless you’re able to find substitutes that you also enjoy.
You don’t need to eat bland, tasteless food day in and day out to lose weight. However, you will need to start tracking what it is you’re putting into your body each day and how much energy your putting out. This may unfortunately mean giving up fat and salt laden sauces and cooking with fresh herbs and seasonings instead. Or using margarine instead of butter or using applesauce instead of egg while baking. Small swaps can make a huge difference in your caloric intake and most of the time you’ll hardly even notice.
If you are serious about losing weight and getting healthier, you will need to evaluate your current diet and see where you can make changes. It doesn’t mean you need to give up everything you love and you don’t have to make too many changes at once either. Doing so will only cause stress to your body which will in turn increase cortisol levels and slow your metabolism. Start by tracking your macros and making small changes one at a time and eventually manifest that into intuitive eating. To read more about this subject click here.
Do not overwhelm yourself with too many changes at once. A lot of people are fans of Whole 30, and for some reasons I think it is fantastic but for other reasons I disagree with the idea. For example if you have or think you have food sensitivities or just feel like you need to “reset” your body, definitely give it a try. But to eat an elimination diet for 30 days only to start eating these things again can set many up for failure and even burnout.
What I recommend is making one small change at a time. Once you’ve mastered that skill, build from there and move on to the next. Just as you would when learning any other task in life. It takes time to establish new habits, adopt a new lifestyle and accept your new normal. Just as you didn’t become unhealthy or overweight in a day, you wont be able to undo the damage in a day either.
If you struggle with not drinking enough water, missing meals and eating all the wrong foods – start by drinking more water each day. Do this for 2-3 weeks until you are used to drinking more water then try adding a healthy snack into your day. See if there are ways you can modify your current recipes or if there are healthier alternatives to your favorite treats and snacks.
As you start to lose weight and start to learn how your body reacts to certain foods, this will all become second nature. You will need to also remember to adjust your calories and macros along your weight loss journey, every 10 pounds or so. Additionally, once you reach your weight loss goals don’t revert back to your old ways. Remember, this is a lifestyle. If you do have a slip up make sure you get right back on track the next meal. Get back on track ASAP so you don’t end up starting back at square one.
Also, the kids are back in school and it’s time to get back in shape. If you need some added motivation, or are just getting started on your fitness journey I’m kicking off a 30 Day Challenge starting September 1st. You can join here. There will also be a $100 cash prize for the biggest transformation (with minimum of 15 participants enrolled). This challenge has both gym and at home options and it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Invite your friends too for some healthy competition!
If you want to get a feel for my training style before signing up, you can get a free On The Go (no equipment needed) sample workout here. This program is great for those who travel for work, are going on vacation or who just want to step away from a traditional gym for a while.
As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! I’m always here to help and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.