Diets do not Work

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What is the best diet for me?
What diet do you use with your clients?

These are common questions that I get from those who are looking to lose weight or struggling with their nutrition.

First of all I do not like the term diet. I prefer nutrition strategy or nutrition plan. Diet is such a misused word. Diets are restrictive, they often restrict you from eating something whether that is carbs, fat, snacks, meat, dairy, wheat or whatever crazy idea is out there. Diets lead us to believe that to lose weight we need to eat less and exercise more. This kind of thinking just leads us to a downward spiral. The correct combination is to either eat less/exercise less or eat more/exercise more.

I prefer to find the right balance, to find what works for you. No two nutrition strategies should be exactly the same because no two people are exactly the same. You need to pay attention to how you feel, monitor your hunger, energy level and cravings. If you are hungry or your energy is low or you are constantly craving (salt, sugar, chocolate etc.) then something is missing from your plan and your body is telling you that.

I like to start by making sure my clients are eating enough every day. Yes eating enough! Every day! In this age of diets people who are struggling with their weight are frequently on and off diets, often losing weight only to gain it all back and maybe more. This cycle leads to not consuming enough calories each day and a damaged metabolism. The best way to fix the damage is to gradually increase your daily caloric intake or reverse dieting. Each week you would increase your daily calorie intake by a small percentage, believe it or not you can lose weight by eating more.
We have learned from bodybuilders and figure competitors (who cut for shows) is that we damage our metabolism when we seriously restrict our calories on a number of occasions. It becomes harder to lose body fat and get back to previous form the next time resulting in a higher body fat percentage in the end. Now these are extreme examples but they provide great case studies for the rest of us who are just trying to be healthier. Where bodybuilders and figure competitors are trying to get down to very small body fat percentages (3-4% for men and 10-12% for women), we are trying to get to the lower end of healthy body fat percentages of 10-25% for men and 20-35% for women.
Whatever you are doing for your nutrition plan it must be sustainable or it is not going to be effective. You have to ask yourself “Can I do this over the long term”. If the answer is “no” then you need to make an adjustment or it is not going to work. It will just feed the cycle of losing and then gaining more weight back.

What you have to remember is that weight loss is a longer term project if you want to keep it off. Ask anybody who has been successful at losing weight and keeping it off. It requires a long term commitment and a change in mindset. Your nutritional plan needs to be sustainable.

If it is not sustainable it is not going to work.

Category: Nutrition
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