Forever more women have been exposed to pictures of celebrities in magazines selling the next diet and workout plan that will make us all look like Victoria Secret models in just 3 weeks.
Low carb, clean eating, juice fasting just to name a few of the fad diets I fell for in the past. I actually thought a 200 calories chocolate bar would stick straight to my thighs where as 200 calories worth of nuts wouldn’t count. I would “eat clean” during the week then come the weekend I would binge on “bad foods”. Come Monday I would feel so guilty that I would go to 3 classes at the gym to try and compensate for some of the damage I had done at the weekend. Although some people they have had success on such diets they often are unsustainable as they are too restrictive and lead to relapses. The old “I already fucked up the diet by having one slice of cake I might as well eat the whole thing” mentality has to stop. You can eat what you want you just have to learn how to make it fit. On the other hand you have to understand where to make compromises. I can’t afford to have clotted cream ice cream everyday as it is simple to calorific but I can afford to have Vienetta everyday as it’s just 100 calories for a portion. Or maybe you skip the potatoes at lunch if you fancy a small piece of banana bread later.
Education and learning a few science based fundamentals regarding fat loss is liberating and it will take all ambiguity out of dieting for good.
Education and learning a few science based fundamentals regarding fat loss is liberating and it will take all ambiguity out of dieting for good. You will be able to make informed decisions regarding food choices and you
will be able to allow yourself to have some “bad” foods everyday without going on a cheesecake binge and blowing your diet. It helps create a different relationship with food and you won’t be afraid when you have gained a few pounds because you know how easy it is to loose them again.
Now here are some of the fundamentals….
- Calories in V Calories out
This is the most important component when it comes to fat loss. Whether the calories come from vegetables or pop tarts if you eat too many calories you will gain weight.
Now all diets you see out there have the same goal and that is to reduce overall calorie intake.
Macros are a useful tool to be able to be able to control the amount of calories you are eating without feeling deprived or hungry, maintaining good energy for workouts and to prevent muscle loss which is something we want to minimise when on a diet.
Macro nutrients consist of carbohydrates, fat and protein which collectively add up to your total calories intake.
1g of fat contains 9 calories
1g of carbohydrates contains 4 calories
1g of protein contains 4 calories
All foods can be split into these 3 groups. When it comes to body composition these are the only things you need to worry about. It doesn’t matter if the protein comes from chicken or yogurt the protein in them will be counted as protein.
Chicken Breast 100g
Calories 156 – Fat – 3.6g – Carbohydrates 0g – Protein 31g.
Fat 3.6 x 9 = 32.4
Carbohydrates 0 x 4 = 0
Protein 31 x 4 = 124
F 124 + P 32.4 + C 0 = Total calories 156
It’s worth noting that a lot of food labels round up or down the information.
There is a reason why you have heard of low carb diets low fat diets but never the low protein diet.
There is a reason why you have heard of low carb diets low fat diets but never the low protein diet. These diets have been proven to work for a few reasons.
So why is protein such a big deal?
A high-protein diet is easier to stick to when in a calorie deficit because it results in less mood disturbance, stress, fatigue, and diet dissatisfaction than lower-protein diets, and improved dietary compliance means better fat loss results in the end. Note that i’m not saying a low protein diet is unhealthy I am just saying it is not optimal when trying to lose fat.
If you wish to learn more about this then check out this article one of my favourite body comp writers Mike Matthews. https://www.muscleforlife.com/high-protein-diet/
How much protein should i be eating?
A good place to start is 1g for every pound of body weight.
O.K so now we have covered some of the fundamentals of fat loss here are a few practical tips you can implement unto your everyday life.
- Vegetables are a dieter’s best friend. Green vegetables especially are super low in calories and swapping half of your pasta dish with veg can reduce the total calories of that meal by half.
- Protein. OK so we already covered the importance of this macro nutrient but some people (especially women) find it hard to get enough protein into their diets. Try SKYR yogurt, quark and 0% fat total Greek yogurt. All great sources of low calorie protein. White fish and chicken is a great staple too. Proteins powders are an amazing source just add a scoop of vanilla protein with frozen berries into the blender and you have a delicious high protein low calorie breakfast or snack.
- Be prepared. Weigh out portions of pasta for dinner. Pre-prepare your lunches. Make a big fruit salad to keep in the fridge. Preparation takes away bad decision making when motivation is low.
- Every calorie counts! Well….kind of. Make conscious decisions to eat lower calorie foods. Next time you are in Pret maybe try go for the 400 calorie salad instead of the 800 calorie salad. The chances are you will feel just as full and satisfied. I am a big fan of low calorie desserts. It means I can eat something sweet every day without blowing my calorie budget. Ice creams such as Viennetta and Soleros are amazing. All the calories saved will add up.
- If all else fails then track your food. Don’t worry you are not broken and you don’t have a slow metabolism. If you feel like you have tried everything and you still can’t lose weight then get onto my fitness pal and track your food and macros. People are inherently bad at guessing how many calories they are eating. It can be as simple as weighing out a portion of peanut butter to realise you have been consuming 300 calories in peanut butter everyday!