A lot of us associate ways to eat healthy with dieting and with such diets comes severe restriction on calories, certain foods, and certain macronutrients. The result, while successful in the short term, almost always leads to long-term disaster.
Because most of us are so conditioned that the only way we can lose bodyfat and keep it off is through strict, and I mean strict, dieting. Then we think we’re destined to be overweight and unhealthy when we end up regaining most if not all the weight we lost.
I have good news!
Well, some bad news but a lot of good news.
This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s almost never the case for those who know how to eat and eat right all day, every day, 365 days a year – even on holidays.
Ain’t that cool?
Yes, it is.
So, what is the magic formula for fat loss?
There isn’t one particular formula, but there is a magical strategy you can undertake.
Ready for it?
The magical strategy is moderation.
The Common Problem
See, many of us embark on a “diet” with intent to lose bodyfat, not realizing that just because the number on the scale is going down may or may not be yielding positive results.
Because I hate to burst your bubble if you lost five, ten, or even twenty pounds, but you may’ve lost bodyweight in both muscle and fat.
Why does this matter?
Because the more muscle you burn, the slower your metabolism becomes all the way to the point your body’s in panic mode and will hoard fat while losing muscle.
And if the scale says you’re losing weight but you’re really losing muscle, then this totally defeats the purpose of diet.
How did you get this way?
It’s probably because you decided to do some sort of crash diet that shocked your body into losing water weight. Then, it started using muscle as fuel because you restricted your calorie intake or may’ve restricted a particular macro, usually carbs or fats, to the point your metabolism slowed and finally stopped, turning your body into a muscle-burning machine.
In other words, you just hurt yourself and while the pounds might be shedding away, if it’s good weight you’re losing you defeated the purpose of a fat loss regimen.
How do you remedy this mistake to keep it from happening in the future?
You kick your body into moderation.
Here are four steps on how to tackle your nutritional woes.
One: Drink More Water
Most of us don’t drink enough water. But we drink coffee, Gatorade, and will eat foods that contain ample amounts of water. Often, this isn’t enough, especially on hot days when they’re also at their longest.
But, water does a host of other functions, including the most important: Keeping you hydrated which when fully hydrated you can perform any task at a peak level. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and will already see your energy dip.
But water’s great for weight loss as the more you drink, the more your body can and will excrete toxins as well as excess fluid. While it sounds counterintuitive to add more fluid to a body that might already contain enough extracellular fluid, it will eliminate waste at a faster, more constant rate.
So do yourself a favor and drink more water.
Two: Stop Crash Dieting
Yeah, we all want fast results, but as I age, the years go faster and faster, so if I’m starting today, I can set a goal twelve months down the road and the end of the year will be here before I know it.
For that, think about how fast a year goes, especially as we gain more life experience.
What if you made just one change a month?
Month one: Cut your soda intake in half.
Month two: Cut your fast food intake in half.
Month three: Stop eating pizza once a week; instead eat it once a month.
Month for: Eliminate soda intake.
The list goes on, but making these small changes alone will do wonders for fat loss. And notice I didn’t even tell you to embark on a specific diet; I just told you to make minor changes to your lifestyle.
See, most of us fail to realize it’s the little things that will set the stage for big results. Imagine making just one change a month. It’s going to go a long way. And again, it’s not nutritional change; it’s not even a diet. It’s lifestyle change and you will be proud of your progress.
Three: Start Resistance Training
See this article for more information.
Exercise, especially exercise that involves resistance training, will help anyone lose fat yes, you will gain some muscle and the scale may not move as quickly.
You will notice that you gained a few pounds of muscle (good weight) and shed twice as much fat among starting out. This means you lost bad weight and gained good weight, especially since you’re making lifestyle changes and not crashing like a madman or woman.
Why is it okay to gain muscle?
Because a pound of muscle carries a much smaller ratio than fat, meaning that your inches are still going to shrink in size. Say you weigh 185 and you want to get to 165, but after a month of training, you’re still at 185. You ask the gym’s personal trainer to measure your body fat and your waist and are astounded to see your fat level decreased by 4% in that first month. Also, you lost an inch off your waist.
You ended up losing body fat (bad weight) and gained muscle (good weight). Since muscle carries a smaller surface area, it’s logical to see that you lost fat while maintaining muscle.
Four: Stay Balanced
I’ve seen so many fads out there that call for users to refrain from eating starches, fruits, and in some, certain meats. However, the greatest way to sustain a sound nutrition regimen is to simply stay balanced.
This means eating enough fruit, dairy, grains, and meats every week. I don’t like saying each day because it’s almost impossible to follow a daily routine in terms of nutrition unless you have time to prepare every meal and snack.
Instead, aim for weekly balances with eating enough food to sustain energy levels, recommended caloric intake, and of course, vitamin, mineral, and macronutrient intake. I’ll cover each of these topics individually in later articles and what it means to remain balanced in your approach.
But I can guarantee this: Remaining balanced can and will set you up for long-term success because with balance you can control cravings, keep your appetite satisfied, and most importantly, stay consistent.