First, my apologies. On behalf of the fitness and diet industries, my apologies. We have failed you. We have let marketing and sales get in the way of our ethics. We have lied to you and hoped you believed it, just so you could pay us $$$ and make us famous. We have literally fed you a diet of BS and lies when it comes to fat loss and weight loss. And it all peaks this month, with the advent of The New Year.
The 7 minute workout. Cleanses. Pilates butt sculpting in 7 days. Whole 30 Paleo Nutrisystem. Marie Osmond. Tabata Yoga. Transformation Challenges and quick weight loss schemes……..It’s all BS. And I’m sorry.
So, as a peace offering, I’d like to share some truth. It might not be fancy, or instantly transforming, or you might not to want to believe it, but it’s the truth as I know it right now in this moment. (…Given the research I’ve read and studied, given my personal experiences and the vast experiences of other trainers and coaches I know.)
Slow fat loss is best. Sure…quick weight loss schemes, cleanses, fasts, are all tempting! We all want fast results. I get it. But what if fast results mean fast relapse? Well, turns out, it does. (Can you say “Biggest Loser”?)
According to Psychology Today- “about 95% of people who lose weight by dieting will regain it in 1-5 years. Since dieting, by definition, is a temporary food plan, it won’t work in the long run. Moreover, the deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle”.
This has been proven by “meta” studies that compiled data from many large-scale weight loss studies to draw their conclusions. For example, UCLA researchers looked at the results of 31 long term weight loss studies. Their conclusions: “You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back,” said Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study. “We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people”.
The Truth is that real fat loss occurs slowly. Loss of muscle tissue and water occurs quickly. Never expect TRUE fat loss of more than 2 lbs/week, and .5 lb -1 lb of fat loss is more typical.
Fat loss success is 80% diet, 20 % activity. You can’t exercise away a bad diet. Exercise has little to do with fat loss during a diet (shocking, but true!!). It’s actually just the icing on the cake of great eating. But, before you give up on exercise, I believe that exercise has everything to do with weight maintenance. Especially weight training. When you lose a significant amount of bodyfat, you also lose muscle. It’s just a fact of calorie restriction. This means that at the end of your “diet”, your metabolism is slower than when you started. (If you strength trained during your diet, you lost less muscle than your non-exercising counterparts. Yeah you!)
The only way to maintain your fat loss is to build back your muscle tissue and metabolism with exercise. And weight training is the number one way to re-stimulate your metabolism. Studies demonstrate that exercise is 100% necessary for weight maintenance, but don’t wait until the end of your diet to begin. Isn’t it better to get a jump start on that 100% necessary good habit?
There is no 1 diet for everyone. Just because your friend lost weight on the paleo diet, you can’t assume you will too. Forcing yourself to go on an eating regimen that you can not stomach (pun intended) will never work. Whether it is paleo or keto or Nutrisystem or South Beach, it has to have foods you enjoy and it must encourage eating patterns that meet your individual needs and lifestyle. Before jumping on the diet bandwagon, take plenty of time to understand yourself and your nutritional needs. Do you have time to prepare complicated meals? Are you going to measure your foods? Can you keep a food log? Are you willing to eat 5 times a day? Or 2 times a day? Do you like protein? Are you a carb-a-holic? These are examples of important questions to answer before you being your journey.
Fat loss is 100% about mindfulness and awareness and maintenance is impossible without it. Let’s face it, we all know what is healthy to eat and what is not. So it’s not typically a lack of knowledge that leads to diet failure. It’s a lack of attention to the moment that leads to regain. It’s a lack of supportive habits and accountability. And, when we rely solely on a diet to tell us what to do, when to do it, how to do it… how do we then learn to do it on our own? We often don’t. Most diets don’t teach you how to create permanent change through mindfulness and behavioral modifications. You must have a plan of action and an awareness of yourself. How do you stay aware? What can you do to support mindful eating decisions? How are you going to remain accountable to yourself? Get your mindset ready.
Eating whole foods must be the foundation of any healthy nutrition program, and especially if you want to lose bodyfat. I believe processed foods are the devil.
Well, maybe not the devil, but surely not what you want to waste your calories on. Any diet program that has a foundation of processed foods like bars, shakes powders, pre-made meals etc., is the antithesis of healthy eating. It doesn’t matter that these foods are low in calories, what matters is that they are processed and thus potentially unhealthy. I could never figure out why a company like Nutrisystem has foods like lasagna, chocolate cakes, pizza and chicken alfredo??!! They taste terrible. They mimic the foods you crave uncontrollably and are trying to avoid. And they are filled with crap. It’s almost as if they want you to fail….and then buy their products again. And again.