Diets Don’t Work
When people think of dieting they visualize being hungry, eating the same tasteless food, and avoiding all their favorite treats. This is also why diets don’t work! Rather than a short-term diet we should strive to make overall lifestyle changes. Yes, some of these changes might be difficult at first, but we create good habits just like we do bad habits, by repetition. When we make changes to our lifestyle not only will we get healthy and stay healthy, but the process will be much easier. Imagine the concept of eating as much quality food as you can while losing body fat and keeping lean muscle. Here are a few reasons why diets don’t work:
• Not enough calories: In a sincere effort to lose fat some people drastically cut their calories with no principle or guidance While this might cause an initial loss in ‘weight’, which is different than fat, it could eventually result in a loss of lean muscle and a slowing down of the metabolism making it near impossible to lose more fat or get any further results. Solution: Eat in a clean calorie deficit just below your maintenance level to start then make slow reductions only when necessary. There are ‘daily calorie’ calculators online and apps like MyFitnessPal.com which can help you figure out your daily calorie needs.
• Missing macro-nutrients: Some diet fads involve dropping particular macro-nutrients (fat, carbs, protein) or having them at severely low levels. Our bodies need all three of the macro-nutrients to function and going long periods depriving oneself could cause problems. Fats give our body energy, support cell growth, helps absorb nutrients and produce important hormones. Carbohydrates, besides being the bodies main source of energy, help fuels our brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. Completely cutting out fat and/or carbs is not the best way to lose body fat. Solution: Moderation is the key and having the appropriate balance of the three macro-nutrients in your diet. Seek professional advice on what ratios of the macro-nutrients might be best for your individual situation. Realize that everybody is slightly different regarding what their body needs to function properly.
• Too extreme and not sustainable: Some methods of ‘dieting’ (refer to my points above) are just so extreme that consistency becomes near impossible. Eventually one cannot take it anymore and breaks the diet to binge eat. Solution: Concentrate on eating in a way that can become a lifestyle. Focus on clean, healthy foods and less processed, packages ones. Finding a variety of great tasting, healthy foods will help a lot with consistency.
• Not enjoyable: Life is meant to be lived! Yes, it takes work and discipline to eat and stay healthy, but that doesn’t mean we need to be robotic and avoid all our favorite meals and treats. While I eat 95% clean I still make room for my favorites such as pizza, Mexican, and donuts. Solution: Don’t have cheat ‘days’, but rather pre-planned cheat meals. I have two planned cheat meals per week when I am not in content preparation. I make sure to do some exercise on my cheat meal days as well as eat a little lighter before and after.
So no more ‘diets’ for you and I, but changes to our lifestyle instead. This is not about being perfect. Consistency should always be over perfection. Have a plan and work to do your best.
Michael Wittig, ISSA CPT
IPE Natural Pro 3X Champ
Michael Wittig is a nationally recognized (Flex, M&F, Train Magazines) ISSA certified trainer, published author of 5 programs, produced 4 daily video trainers, IPE Natural Pro 3x Champion and Master World Champion (Men’s Physique), and a sponsored Athlete with some of the biggest companies in the fitness industry.
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