Most folks assume that dieting means cutting down your calories and exercising more. Technically those 'fellas are right, I mean it isn't rocket science, is it? Calories in means more calories out, and although that does play true, its a bit more complicated than that. But don't get discouraged, dieting is not as hard as you make it. It doesn't have to be.
Now, what if I told you that you could eat 3000 calories a day and still shed a pound to two a week. You'd probably think I was mocking you and throw that cheesecake you've been drooling over for an hour at me, despite your serious cravings for the thing. Poor cheesecake. But hold on, cravings?
And here is where we come across a road of trouble in the many paths of dieting, my dear. If you constrict your calories to 800 calories a day, you're depriving yourself, and most chances are, you will get bored of this diet and you will be unhappy and get constant cravings.
But why you ask? Because you are mistreating your body. Since when did dieting become some kind of bootcamp for your body in which you have to starve it and say "no" to is as if were an uncooperative devil child?
3 Key Ways to Make Your Diet Work
So let's get down to basics, starting off with the golden rule, a diet is not depriving your body, but is it nourishing it.
- Life Style You know why fad diets don't work? People go on these things for a few months and once they shed their desired weight, if they even do, they go right back to old habits, gaining not only their original weight back, but more! That is exactly why one needs to find a diet that they can enjoy, yes, ENJOY. So that for years and years, they can stick to this diet, not because they force themselves to, but because they enjoy it. And unfortunately, the only way one will be able to maintain that desired weight is by maintaining their diet and not changing it until they are happy, but changing it for the rest of their lives. Now that you understand the commitment it takes to stick with that number on the scale, ask yourself this. Do you want to only be eating cabbage heads and celery sticks for the remaining 80 years of your life? I thought so.
- Nourish Can anyone tell me what a BMR is? Ah, good job! A basic metabolic rate. To make it easier to understand, it is the number of calories your body burns by simply existing and it is based on age, height, gender, weight, activity levels, and genetics. This will play a big role on the number of calories you will be eating in a day. Now, I am not here to tell you to eat at least 2000 calories a day because everybody's bodies are different. But, I am here to tell you that in order to actually lose weight, in a healthy manner, you should eat no less than 300 calories fewer than than your BMR. When it comes down to food, there are three macronutrients; protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Your body translates these three things as "energy", ah, glorious energy! And without these things, your body cannot properly do anything. If your body is deprived of this energy, you will suffer from fatigue, constipation, decreased activity levels in your brain, and you will find it hard to do certain physical activities. Many people think when you starve yourself, your body starts losing the weight. Not exactly. See, what happens is your body goes into starvation mode, yes, it goes into a frenzy and thinks you're trying to kill it and gets totally pissed. When this happens, your body will store any food source as fat because it is not getting the energy it needs from the macronutrients and because of the number of calories your BMR burns on a daily basis, your body needs this energy, not including physical activities also performed on a daily basis which will increase the number of calories your body needs. Therefore your body will rebel and although in the long run, it will lose the fat, you will also lose muscle. Without the significant energy, your body will find it difficult to burn fat and your metabolism will slow down, resulting in a damaged body and the inability to exceed a certain amount of calories if you do not want to gain several pounds in a short amount of time.
- Types of Calories There was once a study that stated that calories were calories and it did not matter which types of calories those were, and what mattered was the number of calories you ate, rather than the type. False, false, false. Like stated before, a good diet is about nourishing your body and although several cups of broccoli may equal a donut calorie-wise, you want to be eating the broccoli. Start checking ingredients on food because what goes in your body is very important, a donut for instance has no nutritional value and does nothing for your body. Starting with protein, it is exceptional for one's health, it builds muscle, keeps you full, etc. Although, aim for protein found in beans and animal products such as chicken, eggs, fish, and more, although it is optional, it is recommended to lower your intake when it comes to red meat and dairy. As for fat, contrary to popular belief, fat won't make you fat, ironic, right? Well, not really, there are two types of fat; saturated and unsaturated. You do not want to touch the saturated fat as it is often found in processed foods. You can find healthy fats in nuts, avocados, seeds, salmon, flaxseed and chia seeds, egg yolks, and edamame. Although some of these are moderately high in calories, they are good for you and burn stomach fat. For sugar, one should aim for only natural sugars found in fruit, and if you must have a sugary substance, instead of white sugar, use honey, after all a tablespoon is only 60 calories. If you are looking for something to sweeten up your morning coffee, you may be interested in stevia, a zero calorie sweetener found in a plant, meaning zero chemicals along with those zero calories. Although natural sugar is good for you, one should still restrict too much of it, and although it is natural, one should not consume over 50 grams a day. As for carbohydrates, search for ones that are complex, such as farro, quinoa, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, buckwheat, and the obvious complex carbs in fruits and veggies. I recommend an app called "MyFitnessPal" to help track the calories you consume and the nutrients as well, other than sugar, protein, carbs, fat, consume good amounts of fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamins. As for types of calories as an over all view, aim for nothing processed and when you purchase food, check the ingredient list.
8 Tips for a Successful Diet
Here are specific ways to ensure that your diet works.
- Plan your meals, as it helps with efficiency.
- Drink 8-12 cups of water a day and even a cup before each meal so that you do not over eat.
- Exercise during your diet, although give yourself 1-2 days without exercise so that your muscles may rest.
- Do not be afraid to take a cheat day once in a while, a big part of dieting is your mental stability as well.
- Always eat a breakfast and take advantage of this first meal of the day to get most of your protein in.
- Aim for at least 1200 calories a day.
- Drink a protein shake after a work out to fuel and feed your muscles.
- Do not starve yourself or weigh yourself too often, as the number on the scale becomes an obsession.
Now that you have gotten a basic idea of dieting, may you dive into your diet with a flawless mindset and the intention of taking care of your body as if it were your own child, for that is what really matters.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.