Diet Philosophy: Why 99% of people fail
Its been a while but I have finally set out a plan moving forward to provide scheduled posts to this blog on a number of different topics. Those of you who were signed up to my email list will see similar content (with extra added goodness) posted here first and foremost while i build up new blog posts however, I believe everything I have written can provide a continued learning experience and as such would encourage you to read these through again.
I hope everyone is healthy and still remaining as active as they can while continuing to smash their goals. Today we will continue on front the last post in regards to healthy eating habits.
When discussing nutrition the main focal point is always going to be on a persons diet. Here we have encountered our first issue and maybe the biggest barrier and complexity for most people when it comes to nutrition, especially with a goal of body composition change. The issue im discussing here is with the word DIET. This is because 99% of people will interpret "diet" as a short term food plan. However, if you look up the correct definition you will likely find something along the lines of "the type of foods someone would habitually eat". This leads me to my first piece of advice and perhaps the single biggest piece i could give you which is, to stick to a "diet" stop calling it a diet and start viewing it as a lifestyle change. James Smith is a PT who i admire largely and is quite big in the fitness industry, uses the analogy of an overweight dog and helping it lose weight. You don't need to use any fancy diets like IF, Atkins or Keto, you simply feed it slightly less and take it for an extra walk. By doing this you have improved the dogs lifestyle. Our diet should be a part of our overall health focus and not the sole crux of it. By taking that first step and starting to view a change in the amount or type of food you eat as part of the overall change, the more likely we can build strong, positive habits to achieve our goals.
When people start to change their diet they are generally looking at a final outcome in one of 3 things: 1) Gain weight 2) Lose weight 3) Maintain their weight Now all 3 of these can occur through any number of goals. These vary from improving their own aesthetic appearance, improving their health, feeling more energetic or aiming for a body composition change. All of these goals are going to fall into one of the 3 categories discussed in part 1, physical, social or mental. (If you haven't read this blog yet head there now, ill wait here for you). When we discuss goals such as changing our body appearance, we are focusing primarily on our mental side of health as it ties in with self esteem and self worth. I know what you may be thinking, " surely our body appearance is a physical health aspect"? Well the answer is to a degree, yes, however, all goals will have crossovers and although a healthier looking body will generally have improved physical aspects from a health perspective, our body appearance will always be tied into our mental health first and foremost. A goal such as being more energetic and able to run for longer is tied closer in with our physical health.
If someone is planning on losing weight, for it too be considered a healthy diet the person would need to make sure any changes made, don't affect their physical, mental or social health. If you're on a diet and losing weight I have a few words for you. "You're doing amazing". However, I also have to suffice this with if you're achieving this goal but it is resulting in you skipping going out with friends, feeling lethargic or an aspect of your confidence is affected then maybe this diet isn't as healthy as you initially thought. This is because as stated earlier on our diets should be viewed as a sustainable, habitual food plan not a short term fix. Remember, the goal shouldn't ever be to achieve 100% perfect health as there will constantly be trade offs between different aspects of health. Going out and drinking with friends may not be physically healthy but it can be mentally and socially beneficial and as such could actually increase your overall health.
In order to make a diet sustainable we first need to work out our daily BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and our activity level to determine our rough daily calorie expenditure (it will never be 100% accurate so trial and error is the only way to progress). Once we understand how many calories we roughly burn each day we can start to understand what our intake should be to influence our goals. To gain weight you need a caloric surplus and to lose weight you need a caloric deficit. As i keep eluding back to, these goals should be implemented in a way that sustains long term adherence and not short term fixes. One day of going over your caloric needs when you want to lose weight wont affect you at all when you look at the long term. Take the trade offs between physical, social and mental health to promote the best possible diet adherence and overall lifestyle.
There are numerous formulas out there to work out your BMR. I generally end up using either the 'Harris Benedict Formula' or the 'Schofield Equation'. Alternatively I can also help you work this out during a free consultation to get you started on your very own lifestyle change. All you have to do is drop a comment below or email me at email@example.com
Until next time stay safe and stay active