Unless you subsist on Cheetos. Love em, not sustainable.
The January monsoon of diet advice is raining down upon us. I saw this article from NPR in my news feed today with the Mediterranean reigning supreme and the poor Keto diet coming in last. I’ve done most ALL of them and they ALL work. With so much advice coming in from so many directions, it’s hard not to feel like you need a drastic change. Well, I’m here to tell say: YOU DON’T. If you do one thing:
- Start understanding how much you eat.
- The crucial element left out: intake (read: calories) matters. Weight loss requires a calories deficit. Gain…a surplus. Maintenance…fucking magic….or consistency. Will you gain weight on the Mediterranean diet – abso-f’n-lutely. Too much of a “good thing”…
Here’s a test: Take a look at that sweet food pyramid…riddle me this: How much seafood should you eat two or three times per week? 1 fish per day? 3 Shrimp per hour? How much olive oil should you drizzle over your artisanal heirloom tomatoes?
Don’t have an answer? Weird. But, ok. Pretty easy to see how that sweet diet won’t lead to weight loss if you’re overating on healthy (fill-in-the-blank).
So, what’s the answer?
Understand calories first and food choices second.
Search the WWWs for Calorie Calculator…you’ll find a ton. I picked the first one and received these results in < 5 seconds:
I’ve spent money on detailed “macro” programs and coaches and basically landed in the same spot for fat loss and maintenance. So with this information in hand, what now?
Step 1: TRACK YO’ SHIT, Download MyFitnessPal (I don’t work for Under Armor) or a food tracking app that suits your fancy fingers. Track your intake for 5 days and forget about food choices that a diet is recommending. Need help? Email me. I use this EVERY DAY.
How’d you do? Higher, lower?
- Side note: I’m not enrolled in WeightWatchers, but there’s a reason it works for so many people. They modify the most crucial element to get clients 80% or more to their goal. Intake. And, give you the freedom to make choices that fit your daily lifestyle. Sustainability, y’all.
Step 2: Once you can wrap your head around daily intake, step 2 is considering the TYPE (keto vs Medi vs DASH) and QUALITY of the food your eat. You’ll quickly find (if you didn’t already in step 1): food quality matters. There’s the non-GMO, organic, grass fed ya ya ya ya yaaaaassss part of this equation. Important, I get it, but not my focus today. The other part: type and quality make you less hungry, more energized and, most importantly, make lifestyle changes sustainable.
Calculating calories is a pain, understood. Once you have a good handle on intake, here’s an easier approach I think you could graduate to.
- Use your body to calculate portion sizes without counting calories. The graphic is below. Courtesy of Precision Nutrition:
I want you to succeed. There’s countless reasons to maintain a healthy weight and I won’t get on that soapbox here. I will say, I believe we underestimate the power of food. I believe food is the most powerful drug we have at our disposal every single day and we receive very little guidance that doesn’t have some spin to it. Again, I just want you to succeed, feel accomplished and pass on your good habits to others. Our decisions impact one another.
Lastly, if you have a condition of any kind, especially a fragile one that can be impacted by food (likely EVERYTHING), and are thinking about drastically changing the way you eat, speak to you physician first.