Ahhh, weight loss … the fitness industry evergreen. I’ve written a lot on this topic over the last years as I feel there is still a lot of confusion about it. This article helps you cut through the non-sense frequently found in mainstream media and focus on what really works. The basics. Enjoy!
Before you start.
Before you jump into your next diet, make sure it is necessary and doesn’t hold you back instead of pushing you to your body composition goals.
Also don’t be afraid to diet, you can’t damage your metabolism. Adaptations are normal, transient and reversable.
Many people are afraid that “healthy eating” is very expensive. However you can eat healthy on a budget, you just have to consider a few points.
If the diet you are going to embark on involves detoxes, cleanses or something like that, stay away!
Tracking progress is essential when dieting. Focusing on the scale alone usually isn’t enough but a good place to start.
Establishing good habits and getting rid of bad habits is essential to every weight loss plan.
Having fixed goals as in reaching a certain target weight can be useful to get started, but later you should transition to something more substantial.
There are a few things you can do to set up for a better diet experience.
Supplements aren’t magic, but it is probably a good idea to take these supps for better health anyways.
You are a foodie and worried that dieting will suck? Well, I have great news for you, because I think that foodies make the best dieters: they like cooking and aren’t afraid to try new things.
Welcome to diet life
So you are motivated to lose weight. Great! Let’s take a look on what is actually ahead.
Just in case you wonder why you can’t find meal plans anywhere on my site, I don’t like them very much. You should rather focus on understanding calories, macros and implement useful habits.
Speaking of habits …
A focus on diet quality isn’t only good for general health, but makes weight loss easier and enjoyable.
Related to diet quality is the problem of ultra-processed foods or junk food. While these foods can be incorporated in a otherwise healthy diet, limiting them as far as possible is important.
You CAN eat more food and still lose weight, you just have to be intelligent about your food selection.
Many people think they need an elaborate diet with plenty of different foods. Actually there is no need for it and following a simple diet is beneficial.
Snacking is a popular habit, but can be really detrimental to your weight loss goals. You are probably better served by just sticking to big, satisfying main meals.
Hydration is often touted to be important for health and weight loss. In reality it is of far less impact than other factors. Drink plenty of water instead of sugary drinks though!
Calculating your energy intake is quite easy, but always just an educated guess. Just set a starting point and adjust on how things progress.
Filling out your calories isn’t rocket science either! Get enough protein, enough fat to keep you healthy and fill out the rest with carbs.
If you decide to track, do it right and be honest about it.
Now that you know how to calculate your energy budget and your macros, the question is what are you actually going to eat? How to compose a meal to fit your macros? Welcome to meal prep!
Tracking macros is just a tool to weight loss. You don’t have to use it, if you don’t like it, there are other ways to your goals.
Diet breaks, refeeds or cheat meals are often part of a diet. They can be useful to make room for social occasions or alleviate the pressure of dieting. However, don’t expect anything magical.
The macronutrient that is lacking the most in many peoples diet is protein. There are myths surrounding it and you can forget pretty much all of them. It is healthy and you should eat more of it!
Alcohol is problematic when dieting. It is high in calories, doesn’t satiate and impairs diet adherence. All in all, you have to limit alcohol as much as possible.
Artificial sweeteners got a bad reputation. However, they are pretty safe and can be incredibly useful to make dieting more fun.
There is a lot of confusion regarding carbs. Take it easy! There is nothing inherently bad about carbs, just make sure you don’t blow your calorie budget.
You may have heard the term carb tolerance thrown around in the dieting world. You probably don’t need to worry about carbs and rather focus on the basics.
Want a quick summary on how to lose fat? Here you go …
Exercise and dieting
This article focuses on the nutrition side of dieting. If you want to know more about training, take a look at the training category of my blog.
To be honest, you don’t need to exercise to lose weight. Yes, I just said it. I myself lost 30kg without exercising. Getting your diet in check and limiting the amount of calories is far more important for fat loss than the relatively little energy you burn while exercising.
That said, exercise is great in itself and you should do it! Yes, I’ve lost 30kg without exercising, but let me tell you that I still didn’t look great. Just losing body fat reveals what’s underneath, which was in my case … nothing. No muscles anywhere. And still quite fluffy. A phenomenon called “skinny-fat”. Exercise not only helps prevent muscle loss when dieting, but also builds muscle and if we are honest, we all want to look good when naked. Oh, and yes, exercise is incredible for health!
What exercise should you do? Well, something you enjoy and want to do for a long time to come. Forcing you to do something you don’t want to isn’t sustainable. But please, give lifting weights a try. Get a coach that educates you on what you are doing and why you are doing it. Get a progressive training program. Log you workouts and see the numbers go up. Resistance training is king when it comes to building muscle and way more enjoyable than most people think it is before they give it an honest try.
Then there is the C-word. Cardio. Yikes! No, you don’t have to do it if you don’t enjoy it. Think of it as a way to burn additional calories. It also has great health benefits and can be a lot of fun, especially when done outdoors. I loved preparing for a half-marathon with Chantal, but in the end the love for iron was stronger 😉 .
Walking is similar to cardio, but less intense. It burns calories, but doesn’t tax your recovery as much as cardio. Most of us should walk more and walking is an easy first health habit if you are just starting out. Aim for something between 7-10k steps per day. If you don’t have the time to hit those numbers, don’t get disencouraged though! Do what you are capable, every little helps.
I hope your diet was successful, but maybe you didn’t get the results you hoped for. Or maybe you think you’ve already tried everything and want want to see on there to improve. Anyways, it’s time for a reality check.
Once you have started to track macros, most of us come to the question if they have to do this forever. No, there are other ways to regulate your diet.
Weight loss isn’t for everybody, especially if bad emotions result in a disturbed relationship with food. Intuitive eating can help to get in touch with your body again.
Some people don’t like the idea of a strict diet. They suffer from the expectations they have and put too much pressure on them. A non-weightloss approach may be better suited for them.
Keep in mind that dieting is a skill like everything else. I’ve done quite a lot of diets, and I’ve learned quite a lot doing so. Don’t expect everything to work out perfectly a your first (honest) try. Learn from your mistakes and make it better next time.
I hope I’ve answered any questions about dieting you possibly could have had. If there is still anything unclear, just leave me a comment down below, I am always happy to help. This way you also give me an idea on what to write next 😉
Are you struggling with a boring diet or are you not enjoying your training anymore? Contact us and let us talk how we can reach your body composition or strength goals and let training and eating be fun again!