Weight loss is 20% exercise, and 80% nutrition.
Most of us have heard this expression, and the first time I did, it was a kick in the lady-balls. It’s easy for me to workout, it’s not easy for me to give up the foods I love. I thought that I could workout, and eat whatever I wanted to, and still lose weight. I tried this method for years, with no progress of course.
As soon as I started watching what I was eating, I would see my weight starting to shift, but it was so hard to stay on track. I didn’t have time, I didn’t feel satisfied, I would miss out on functions with friends. I used every excuse I could think of.
I can’t even tell you how many times I started again. Honestly, 100’s. But with each re-start, I slowly got stronger and stronger, lasted longer and longer. I built up my knowledge about what was really healthy, what was really hurting me, and how I could actually lose weight.
My biggest tip to you is to pick one diet and stick with it. You can’t take components from different weight loss methods and stick them together, it doesn’t work that way. You need to pick one and stick to it, so do some research, and see what you think is the right fit for you.
Below are probably two most popular weight loss nutrition methods, although there are many more, almost all of them come down to either cutting carbs, or cutting calories.
Low Carb Hi Fat – This is similar to the Aitkens diet. You have less than 20-30g of carbs per day, and a high amount of fat. This means no bread, pasta, potatoes, or fruits, but all the cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and bacon you want. This diet will put your body into ketosis, which is when your body starts expelling ketones through urine, which is what happens when your body burns stored fat instead of glucose (from carbs) for energy. You can test if you’re in ketosis by using some keto dip sticks (from your local chemist or drug store). It normally takes a few days of low carb eating to enter ketosis, and once you’re there, you need to stick to your diet. As soon as you have a carb blow out, you’ll be back to square one, and you’ll have to be good again for another few days before you start making progress. Click here for an online calculator to see how many calories, and grams of carbs, fat, and protein you should be eating.
Low Calorie – This one is pretty simple, you restrict your calories. Eating foods like lean meat, fruits, and vegetables, you can still get all of the nutrients that you need, and enough energy, but you’ll create a calorie deficit (when you burn more calories than you consume), which will cause weight loss. Theoretically, a 3500 calorie deficit will cause you to lose one pound of fat. It isn’t healthy or safe for women to consume less than 1200 calories per day, and men 1700 calories per day. Eating too few calories will cause your body to go into starvation mode, where it stores everything it can as fat, so that the next time you’re “starving” (not eating enough calories), your body can use the stored fat as energy. So make sure you’re actually eating enough as to not hinder your progress. Click here to determine how many calories you should be consuming to reach your goal.
So, what do you do now? Do some research, decide which method you think is right for you. Determine what you should be eating for that diet, and fill your fridge with those foods. Track everything you eat on My Fitness Pal so that you know you’re hitting your targets.
What’s my experience? I’ve done both of these, and they both have their benefits and their pitfalls. I’ve lost weight using both methods, and I’ve not lost anything when I haven’t followed them properly. That time I tried to combine the best parts of each, I gained weight, so definitely don’t do that! Look, I love bread and pasta, and I love cheese and bacon. For me, both diets work the same, it just depends on what the people around me are doing that determine which one will be easier to follow. If the people I live and eat with are following low carb, it’s easier to do that. If they’re following low calorie, it’s easier to do that.
People and their bodies are different though, you might find that your body responds better to one method than the other, so pick one, stick to it for a few months, and if you’re not getting the results that you’re after, give the other one a go. No half-assing and then complaining though, give it a proper go!