“Diets don’t work”
We hear it all the time, diets don’t work.
BUT… yes they do!
Let me explain.
Most diets are designed to achieve fairy rapid weight loss over a given period of time (normally a fairly short time)
Many of them have reels of success stories.
So they do work (for some people)
This is why you start them in the first place, right?
“Mary from the office has done >insert name of diet here< and lost loads of weight in 8 weeks”
I’m now going to do said diet.
Here’s the catch
The list of successes will obviously come with a list of ‘failures’, people who didn’t succeed or who couldn’t stick at it.
These aren’t the ones who shout about it, or recommend it as the only way to lose weight.
They may even say, “That diet doesn’t work”.
This, however, is quite rare.
For most people the reason it didn’t work was that they failed to adhere to it.
And admitting that its your fault is a hard thing to do.
On the flip side of the coin, the people who have succeeded on a diet will then say of people who’ve failed, “they just don’t want it enough”.
The bottom line is that there is no BEST diet.
Its about finding the approach that works for you, sometimes people don’t fail a diet, the diet fails the person.
The missing piece of the puzzle, is education.
Often the diets will help you lose weight quick, and thats great, but the reasons given for you losing weight is either not given or has some mystical BS attached to it!
When the plan is gone, or when the time frame has elapsed, then what?
You’ve just learnt to follow a plan, are you going to stay on this plan forever?
How is your relationship with food? Have you developed an irrational fear of certain foods or food groups? How are you going to maintain this progress?
Are you going to fall into the Yo Yo trap yet again?
The stats are pretty poor for successfully keeping the weight off.
I get it, it’s tough.
We live in an obesenegenic environment, keeping in shape takes thought, will power and a basic understanding of how weight gain, loss and maintenance actually works!
So lets help you out
What is a fat loss diet?
A fat loss diet is essentially a method to ensure, that if adhered to consistently enough, for long enough, then it will result in a calorie deficit.
Without a calorie deficit, you won’t lose weight.
Although calories are just a measure of energy, and the above image is very simplified graphic of energy balance, it is still the most valuable tool when it comes to long term fat loss.
Even if you are totally unaware, if you are losing fat they will be eating less calories than before or using more, either way the balance has shifted.
“I just cut bread out of my diet”
You’ve reduced your calories.
“I just don’t eat after 6pm”
You’ve reduced your calories.
“I just didn’t eat any food, and lived off these shakes for a month”
You’ve reduced your calories – and wasted a lot of money on crap (this is for another blog)
“I cut out Gluten”
You no longer eat pizzas, bread, cereals etc, you’ve reduced you calories… trust me.
The problem is that there isn’t a perfect fit for everyone.
All of the above are ways people have created a calorie deficit (known or unknown) and lost weight, and thats awesome for those people.
But to say thats the way everyone should do it, is wrong.
For someone the 5:2 method may suit them.
The next person may suit intermittent fasting.
Someone else may do better tracking their calories using my fitness pal.
Someone else may achieve fat loss by counting syns at slimming world.
There many ways to do it..
Why do people say diets don’t work?
Often diets fail to address what has caused the person to become overweight in the first place.
The habits and behaviours associated with their nutrition and lifestyle.
They fail because:
A – They cant stick to a diet because they are trying to go from all over the place to 100% strict and perfect, on a plan that doesn’t fit their lifestyle, in one jump.
B – They lose weight super quick and then think “right, I’m done now” and just go back their old ways.
This will result in re-gaining some, if not all, of the weight and more.
So, both of these situations would be noted as a diet failing.
So tell me how to avoid failure!
We know that diets work, and they can be a way to start or to achieve relatively fast progress.
The key to long term success is not sexy, it doesn’t sell and its not as appealing as many of the magic bullet diets, because it involves a lifestyle change.
So, adjusting what is done day after day, week after week year after year.
And thats the kick in dick! We have to kind of eat well and exercise for the rest of our lives.
Does this mean you have to be a chicken and broccoli eating recluse with no social life, alcohol or chocolate for the rest of your life? Absolutely not!
The down side of diets, is the restriction and feeling like you have to live like that forever.
The extreme nature of many of them means they are unsustainable, but they don’t have to be sustainable, they aren’t designed to be.
If you know that the restriction may only be short term, and that you are prepared to do the work and maintain the progress through forming solid habits and routines, learning how to find balance, how to have a pizza without guilt, how to have a few beers on a Friday night and still stay in shape.
Then a ‘diet’ can be decent place to start.
Two ways to approach your fat loss
1 – A big start
A 60-90 day push where motivation is high.
Aim to be fairly strict and make some good short term progress through a diet method that suits your lifestyle and that you can stick too for the duration.
The main rules:
- A calorie deficit (10-15% *you can be more aggressive if you like its your call)
- Adequate Protein (around 2g/kg)
- You have to be able to adhere to it
The aim being to come back to about 80-90% and try to maintain the progress adding in a little more flexibility and balance once you’ve reached your 60-90 day goal.
This involves understanding that what you do at the start may not be sustainable long term.
You may also have to have another push or several to get to your long term goal, if you’ve a long way to go, doing it in waves may be a good thing.
You can also try experimenting with different methods to see what suits you best.
2 – Progress NOT Perfection
Gradually shifting your habits.
1 – Starting to exercise a 3 times a week.
2 – Consciously drinking more water.
3 – Tidying up the diet a little and reducing the amount of alcohol and crap you eat in a week.
Then, once these habits become engrained you cab become a little more calculated.
Understand how many calories you need, how much protein you require etc.
Making these gradual adjustments may be the way to go for some people.
On the flip side, progress is a little slower and that may be de-motivating.
So, the bottom line is there is NO ONE method.
Having a coach keep you accountable, guide you, educate you and coach you to help you achieve your goals and stay there.
But, realise that it’s always YOU who has to do the work – this is definitely not a myth!
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