I’m going to let you in on a big secret. Because in a world with hundreds of different fad diets and constant marketing schemes it’s hard to figure out what the best way to eat is. Especially if you have weight loss goals or health goals you want to achieve. Well here it is guys the number one, best diet out there, is… “sustainability”. So any diet that you can consistently adhere to over a long period of time is going to be the best diet for you. It’s true there is no one “best diet” that’s why sustainability is the answer. I will explain why in this blog.
The term “diet” is referring to eating a certain way in order to maintain current body weight OR be in a caloric deficit for weight loss.
At some point, if you really wanted to make a change in your life or if you want to avoid gaining weight as you get older and your body changes or metabolism slows, you’re going to have to practice some discipline and maybe even sacrifice a few things (treats at work, late night snacks, extra sweets, careless eating, double dessert etc).
The harsh reality is that you cannot eat whatever you want all the time and expect to see positive changes in your body. Nobody can. Maybe when your young and you’re growing and your metabolism is fire. But reality is that we age and our bodies change and adjust.
According to BioLayne’s book – Fat Loss Forever: Sustainability involves six different things: 1) Cognitive restraint 2) Self Monitoring 3) Regular Exercise 4) Structured Programs 5) Focus on long term 6) Social Support
GOOD NEWS, you CAN find a way to enjoy food, to eat guilt free, to not be super restricting, to have a great social life, AND see changes or maintain your weight. The key is to find the BEST routine or balance that works for you and your life, that you can do LONG term. Not some hokey thing that a friend tried that she feels AMAZING on and won’t shut up about lol. The key here is YOU.
I’m sorry to tell you this but there is no “drink this magic weight loss tea and lose weight forever”, there is no “just try keto for a little bit and you will lose weight forever”. There may be things out there that cause weight loss really quickly BUT there is NO QUICK FIX THAT LASTS. All great things take time people!
Everyone is different, has different habits, different lifestyles and different bodies therefore what works for one person may not work for another. Some people find sustainability in carb cycling, for some it’s counting macros, for some it’s using portion containers, for some it’s intermittent fasting, and for some it’s just pure listening to their bodies and recognizing hunger and practicing will power. The trick is finding what works best for you.
When I first made a change with the way I was eating I seen results fairly quickly about six weeks or so in. I was able to sustain this way of eating for about a year and a half and then had to change up my diet and this is what happened:
At first carb cycling worked really well for me I enjoyed it at the time, I found it easy to do, I always had two days of the week that worked well to do low carb and enjoyed mixing up things so I got a variety of different foods without the guilt associated. I enjoyed high fat foods on low carb days bring on the cheese, avocados, and coconut oil mmm. When it changed over to high carb day, pasta babyyy. Because I seen results and continued to feel great this kept me motivated to sustain this diet. Like I said a year and a half.
Then I started working full time eight hour shifts. This meant stretches of seven night shifts in a row, or two weeks of day shifts where I was constantly on my feet burning energy like crazy. I found it really difficult to do low carb days when I would have to be up and awake all night. I also found I didn’t have enough energy on my day shifts when I ate low carb and didn’t have enough days off to mix the low carb days in then. So I decided to stop carb cycling and just tried to continue to eat healthy.
I didn’t have the knowledge to expect changes with my body. I thought because I was still eating healthy there would be no negative repercussions. What I failed to realize is the volume of food I was now eating. When I was carb cycling there would be two to three days of the week where I would cut out a whole macronutrient. This meant that all the calories I would get from carbohydrates are essentially cut out on those days. So this caused me to lose weight because I was in a caloric deficit every week.
When I changed my way of eating or “diet” I ended up in a calorie surplus again because I was now eating all those extra calories from carbs everyday of the week. Eventually I realized what was happening and decided to start “flexible dieting”. Which is essentially the same as counting macros. I had to trial different calorie and macro counts for my body over time, to find a good number that my body didn’t want to gain weight or lose muscle on. (For more information on flexible dieting see my blog post – Flexible Dieting).
But I stayed positive even with the unwanted changes and STUCK with what felt right for my body and over TIME because I SUSTAINED this new way of eating my body came back to where it was and over more time became even leaner and stronger because I had patience, I made little tweaks here and there, but most importantly I stuck with it. I did NOT give up. I sustained this way of eating.
If your GOAL is to lose weight, over time, as you lose the weight and your body changes you will have to adjust the volume that you eat as well because your metabolism is going to adjust to your new muscle mass, new overall weight, and new activity levels etc. Each one of our individualized bodies is essentially “pre set” for a certain weight, meaning our bodies are programmed to be a certain weight based off of a number of factors including genetics, your nutritional habits, your metabolism, and age at the time etc. This means your body does NOT want to change. It will fight you if you try to lose weight. It will change it’s way of processing by adapting your metabolism or how your body burns energy will adjust. So making little adjustments in how MUCH you eat and how much protein you consume will be important.
But overall whatever lifestyle you have decided on that is working for you will be important to stick to long term. And if you find it’s not working for your life anymore you need to fully expect to maybe gain a bit of weight back until you can sustain a new routine long term that works.
Your best bet if you are very serious about wanting to lose weight is to find yourself a qualified and competent trainer. One that understands there is no one size fits all or one way of being. Find a trainer that can help you find the perfect routine or balance so you can keep going.
If your not interested in getting a trainer than the best tip I can give you is start small. Make little changes and don’t try to do any of these extreme fad diets that will just set you up for failure. Trial new things that you can work into your life and make a habit of. A good example is drink more water. Drink one extra glass of water everyday for two weeks until you start incorporating another habit. Stick with things! And most importantly be patient.
Your new amazing lifestyle awaits!