A man looking disappointed at his salad

Why Your Diets Failed

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of different fad diets come and go, and everyone will tell you that you have to eat a specific way to lose weight. I don’t think there’s a specific diet that is better than all the others; it’s the same type of logic that applies for your physical activity and exercise.

The best diet is the one that you will stick to long term. I’ve seen a lot of people crash their metabolism by eating far too few calories. This crashes their energy, crashes their metabolism, and ruins both their hormones and their sleep. 

If you want to lose weight consistently and feel good doing it, I would suggest eating 500-700 calories below your basal metabolic rate plus however many calories you burn through activity.

For example, if your basal metabolic rate is 2,000 calories and you burn 500 calories (for a total burn of 2,500 calories), I would put a client on a 2,000 calorie diet for a deficit of 500 calories. 

Now, calories in vs. calories out is not the complete equation for losing weight. It’s the starting point. If you want to lose weight, you cannot have more calories in than calories you burn. You have to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.

The second part of the equation is food quality and the macro split of your calories. 

I always push my clients to eat more protein. I like for protein to make up 30-40% of your calories and carbs and fats can be catered to your individual needs. 

Most people get most of their calories from carbohydrates, which leads to insulin resistance. If your insulin is not functioning well, you will have poorly utilized carbohydrates and low utilization of protein.

Be very strategic on your carbohydrates and get them from quality sources like starchy complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and white rice. This will lead to a better utilization of carbohydrates and a higher level of insulin sensitivity.

Centering your carbohydrates around your activity level is a fantastic idea to increase your sensitivity level surrounding your workouts.

Eating heavily processed foods will contribute to some degree of metabolic dysfunction. I’ve seen this with a few of my clients. They are in a calorie deficit and are active every single day but they are not losing weight. This is due to some level of metabolic dysfunction that comes from low protein and processed foods as well as an eating habit that does not support their lifestyle. 

The best way to combat metabolic dysfunction is to increase your protein, increase your calories while still remaining in a calorie deficit, and introducing weight training into your regime.

Doing cardio alone will not help with metabolic dysfunction. It does burn calories, increasing your deficit, but if your calories and food do not support your activity level, then it doesn’t matter what your activity level is. It will still fall within metabolic dysfunction.

Your food choices don’t have to be all foods that you don’t enjoy or like. If you’re going to stick to a diet long term, you should find ways to make it easy and enjoyable. A lot of the time, people will fail a diet because they bite off more than they can chew. It’s too difficult, it’s too hard, they don’t like it, their energy is low, and they don’t stick to it.

If you’re going to stick to something, it needs to become natural and comfortable. That’s why I have a slight calorie deficit of roughly 500-600 calories, filled with foods that you enjoy. 

Now, I’m not saying that you have the opportunity to go out and eat a pizza if it fits your macros, especially if you’re already dealing with the consequences of insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. 

Eating good, clean, healthy foods that are high in protein is definitely the way to go when it comes to being consistent and losing weight. Find foods that you enjoy, that you don’t have to force yourself to eat. Find foods that fit easily within your lifestyle that you can can eat consistently. 

My advice is to find several different meals and recipe options that you can cycle through so that you don’t get burned out. For example, find three different breakfast options that you enjoy and can put together yourself, that you look forward to eating so it’s not a chore.

Find three or four different lunch meals that you can cook and prepare and four different dinner meals that you can cook, prepare, and cycle through as necessary.

Having some good, healthy snacks on hand is also a good way to curb your hunger. It’s hard to make great nutritional decisions when you’re hungry, so if you can eat little snacks throughout the day like a protein bar or some fruit, beef jerky, then it will be easier to make better nutritional decisions at meal time.

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