Keto, Atkins, South Beach, Vegan, Paleo, Weight Watchers… blah, blah, blah…the list of fad diets and meal plan strategies goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I know that some of them have helped people lose weight and get healthier. But in my almost twenty years of personal training and dealing with people’s fitness goals, the “diet” word triggers me to the degree of therapy llamas, playdoh, and coloring books. Today I want to open your eyes to keeping it simple. You don’t need a Ph.D. in nutrition to make smart decisions when it comes to how you eat.
The first thing we need to do is change your nutrition vocabulary. Instead of using the word “diet”, I need you to understand that how you eat is a “lifestyle.” There are some “diets” that can be utilized to drop some undesired weight quickly. But until you find a “lifestyle” of eating, you’ll be doomed to a rollercoaster ride of “yo-yo dieting.” If you absolutely love bread and try to go Keto (zero/VERY little carbohydrates), how long do you logically think you’ll be able to sustain that lifestyle? Will you lose some weight initially? Absolutely… but what happens when you want to start eating semi-normal again. Chances are very good you’ll put that weight back on and then some. So, number one, find a way of eating that is practical and sustainable. If you don’t, you’ll remain frustrated and stagnant in reaching your goals. If you like chips have some chips… don’t sit down and smash half the bag. Do you like Twinkies and nutty bars? Have one… not one every half hour… start with one a day or every other day. Do you like pop? Drink some pop… don’t drink a 12-pack of Mt. Dew every day or have eight refills with each meal. If you’re torturing yourself with crazy diet plans, eventually your willpower will crack! Which leads me to my next bit of advice… eat the foods you like but you must control your portion sizes!
At any given point in any given restaurant, when you order a meal, chances are that what is coming out on your plate is enough to feed four people. Some of us may have PTSD from our moms demanding that we eat every last scrap of food, but you would be absolutely amazed at how little you have to eat to just be “not hungry.” Vocab word of the day: Satiated–satisfied, as one’s appetite or desire, to the point of boredom. It takes some time for your stomach to relay the message to your brain that you’re full. How many times have you starting vacuuming up your food, and about five minutes after you’ve finished, you feel like you may need to be carried out of the restaurant on a gurney?! So, your new strategy is this… drink a glass of water before you even take your first bite, eat slower, and you can more than likely cut that meal you just ordered AT LEAST in half if not more. And eat until you’re NOT hungry instead of eating until you’re bursting at the seams. You’ll have plenty of leftovers for when you get hungry again.
The bottom line for nutrition is this… if you want to LOSE weight, you must be BURNING more calories than you’re TAKING IN (CALORIE DEFICIT). If you want to GAIN weight, you must be TAKING IN more calories than you’re BURNING (CALORIE SURPLUS). The “diet” circus will probably never go away because there are people making a whole lot of money on other people that are desperate to lose weight. But I promise that if you utilize these simple strategies of a lifestyle of eating, you’ll never need to “diet” again.
In closing, nothing that we discuss on these blogs is easy. Chances are your current lifestyle of eating is dug in like a tick. But it’s only through hard work, dedication, and self-control that your goals can be reached. That goes for any area of your life, not just fitness and nutrition. Keep going my friends. It’s worth it!!!