ANY diet will work.
As long as it puts you in a calorie deficit then you will lose weight. The super duper important caveat here though is, that you have to stick to it for an extended period of time for it to work.
Which begs the question, just how easy is it to follow your choice of diet?
Examples of diets are Weight Watchers, Slimming World, low carb, low fat, Paleo, grapefruit diet, alkaline diet, and juice diets to name but a few.
While following, or at least trying to follow the above type of diets, ask yourself the following:
Does it maximise nutrient intake and your health by covering all your nutritional needs?
Does it maximise your performance in the gym or in your chosen sport by meeting your energy demands?
Do you actually enjoy eating this way so it doesn't feel like a monumental effort for you?
Does it leave you feeling good and not lethargic and drained?
Does it not leave you feeling starved or deprived because you are enjoying some fun food from time to time?
Can you maintain this way of eating forever and turn it into a lifestyle (to be cliche about it)?
If you answered NO to any of these, then you may want to rethink your choice of diet.
The commonality between all diets is calorie restriction. The more drastic the restriction, the quicker you will lose the weight, but the more unsustainable it will be.
Read that again...
"The more drastic the restriction, the quicker you will lose the weight, but the more unsustainable it will be".
Diets only work for the short time that you are following it. As soon as you resume your normal eating behaviours then you will more than likely regain the lost weight.
It’s a perpetual cycle of yo yo dieting, one which can leave you with a feeling of despair, guilt, and diminished self-worth.
Succeeding with your diet takes a truck load more than following a list of 'rules'.
Instead we need to change our behaviours around food, our attitude towards food, and ultimately build a healthy relationship with ALL food.
With that said, here are my top tips for long lasting, sustainable, and enjoyable fat loss:
1 Zone in to Your Zen
Become more mindful about how and why you eat. Repeat after me:
I give up fear of failing my diet, I will accept when I have over indulged and then move on
I give up punishing myself over my food choices, I will be kind to myself regardless
I give up sabotaging my diet when I am upset, angry, or bored, I will confront my emotions instead of burying them in food
I give up exercising to burn off the Moro bar I just ate, I will exercise to get fit and strong
I give up striving for the perfect diet, I will have patience and strive for progress
2 Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is important to help our bodies work at its best, and that includes the fat loss process. Aim for 2-4 litres per day, depending on your size. Add a fresh slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber for a twist.
3 Ditch the Diet (Foods)
Lay off on “diet” foods, meal replacement bars, shakes, and drinks and eat real food instead. Opt for whole and minimally processed food most of the time. Think fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, natural oils, dairy and whole-grains.
4 Fuel up on Micronutrient Power
Eat vegetables (or fruit) with each meal. They are a pillar of health, high in fibre and low in calories. Think rainbows, the more colour variety the better to cover your vitamin and mineral needs.
5 Eat Protein with Each Meal
Protein is essential for helping with appetite control, losing less muscle and more fat when in a calorie deficit, and optimizing metabolism. It also helps stabilise blood sugars and can help offset feelings of "hangry".
6 Eat Healthy Fats with Each Meal
Healthy fats are necessary for your brain, eyes, hormones, and overall health. They also help with satiety, balancing blood sugars, and stabilising mood and energy levels. Try to get most of your fats from foods such as nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados and coconut.
7 Embrace the Carbs
If you are an active person then a very low carb diet is simply not sustainable. Feel free to eat and enjoy some starchy carbs at each meal and then increase portions on higher intensity exercise days so you can better fuel and recover from your training. If including carbs in your diet helps you to enjoy your diet more then you are more likely to stick to it in the long run. If you can stick to your diet in the long run then the more maintainable your results will be!
8 Listen to Your Body
Try to mostly eat when you are hungry and stop when you have had just enough or are satisfied and not overly stuffed. Get to know your hunger cues and know the difference between hunger and eating out of boredom or due to cravings, stress, and emotional upset. In addition, keep the hangry monsters at bay by eating every 3-4 hours to prevent you from making poor food choices because you are fit to eat a horse.
9 Treat Yo-self!
Allow yourself some dietary freedom and indulge in fun food from time to time. Literally give yourself permission to eat and enjoy fun food. Give yourself the choice and feel the mental struggle disappear. This way, there’s no deprivation, no starvation, and no food is “off limits”. This is ultimately what makes any nutrition plan maintainable, sustainable, and enjoyable.
10 Rest and Revive
Sleep is probably the most forgotten ingredient for fat loss. Rest is critical to becoming healthier and leaner, helping to regulate the crazy and sozzled hormones flying around the body, so it’s crucial to get enough shut-eye.
Thanks for reading,
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