Dieting is a HUGE topic and I couldn’t possibly get to everything in one show, or even 10 . but I do want to share a few thoughts on why most diets fail and what you should do instead of traditional dieting if your goal is to lose fat permanently.
Contrary to popular belief, “dieting” isn’t the solution for your weight loss struggles. It's more involved than buying a best-selling book or following a fad diet for a few months.
You’ve probably heard “diets don’t work" a lot recently on social media. Well they DO work. But let’s talk about what “dieting” really means first. When we hear “diet” it implies something temporary as in “I’m going on this new diet” or "John is doing really well on his diet".
But what we're really looking for isn't a temporary fix, we want a long-term solution.
Unfortunately, we are a society that thrives on novelty and instant gratification. We fall victim to slick marketing and unbelievable testimonials. We see celebrities and athletes promoting diets and programs and believe that they actually use them when most are paid endorsements. And companies know that we will buy it if Shaq or Oprah says it works.
And keep in mind that some of the worst fitness advice comes from those with the best bodies or most social proof.
On top of that every fitness “expert” and Instagram coach is feeding us different, often conflicting, advice on what to do and most of it is sales driven, not help driven. Diets and the marketers who promote them prey on our insecurities and emotional pain points and exploit them. It's easy money for them, like shooting fish in a barrel
Over 90% of people who go on “diets’ gain the weight back, which is why this industry is so lucrative. People will keep looking for and paying for “new and shiny” and will try diet after diet looking for that quick fix.
It’s not there.
There is also a misconception that we must suffer and sacrifice on our diet to see progress. This is absolutely false. Is there some sacrifice? Of course. You can't keep eating like a fucking pig; you have to control quality and quality of your food.
So yes there is something that you have to give up. But going to bed starving or suffering through headaches or extreme cravings is ridiculous and unnecessary.
Now if you look at weight loss alone, which is what popular diets do, you can say that they do work. Because they do produce weight loss. What they won't tell you is that your goal should never be weight loss, it should be fat loss.
Anyone can lose a bunch of weight by going on a low calorie crash diet. But you'll sacrifice your lean muscle, which is the worst thing you can do because it will end up slowing your metabolism in the long run. But diet books don't care about that because those rapid transformations won't happen if people take the slower approach.
Let's look at the popular Keto Diet as an example. It virtually eliminates carbs, which typically makes up 50% or more of most of our diets. Now what happens if you can't eat carbs? You eat far fewer calories by default, thus putting you into a calorie deficit. This produces weight loss.
Same with the measly points you’re given on Weight Watchers. Without knowing it, you're basically given a low calorie diet, usually far fewer than you’re used to eating and voila, you have weight loss!
Let's look at a 250 pound guy who loses 50 pounds on Keto by cutting all carbs and going from 3500 calories a day to 1500. He'll drop weight without a doubt. But he will also lose muscle and quite a bit. He will also likely be starving all the time, have cravings like crazy, and be pretty miserable overall. That's not a way to live. And it sucks.
So I don’t want you to diet. I want you to have a specific approach to eating that is sustainable. It's not sexy and has no sales appeal but it’s the best way to go about losing fat (not weight).
- Eat a diet mostly comprised of whole foods. Lean meats, plenty of fruits and veggies, eggs, dairy, oils, and nuts. Cut out all (or almost all) processed, packaged, enriched, fast, and fried foods.
- Understand that you don’t have to suffer and sacrifice everything you love to “diet” or to get fit. That won't work in the long-term.
- Recognize that you're in this for the long term. If your ONLY goal is to lose 10 pounds for the beach, you’re doing it wrong and listening to the wrong show.
- The #1 thing you need to focus on is maintaining a calorie deficit. I don’t care what type of diet or approach to eating you use, if it's healthy, gets results, AND you can stick with it, do it.
- Track calories for two weeks to see exactly what you're eating. People tend to underestimate their calories. Empty calories like bread, pasta, and soda add up fast and it's super easy to find yourself in a calorie surplus, making it impossible to lose weight.
- Of course you need to understand how many calories you actually need to lose weight or counting makes no sense. It's not exact but a good way to find this is with the Harris-Benedict Formula. Find your BMR (not BMI which is useless) and then start with a 15-20% deficit off of maintenance to lose weight.
- You can't solve a problem with the same level of thinking that got you there.
- Exercise consistently with strength and conditioning training. 3-4 X a week is good for most.
- Get more and better sleep, This affects hormones and appetite more than you know.
- Drink at least half your body weight in ounces in water every day.
- Stress less. This will fuck your hormones up and make losing weight and getting lean much more difficult. Find an outlet for your stress and use it.
If you can follow these few things, AND stick with them, you will see results. No fancy diet program. No strict regimented meal plans.
Keep in mind that some of the most powerful tools you’ll need when changing your approach to eating and lifestyle are emotion and social based. Weight Watchers meetups are so successful because you have to show up and be accountable. That’s huge.
This is also the reason why the Fit Dad Nation Inner Circle is so successful. It's about being accountable and being part of something more than just you.
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