So lets talk Diets… what is a good diet & what is a bad diet? That is the million pound question.
Before we get into that, let me just start by saying that EVERYONE already has a diet. However your body composition, Sleep quality & energy levels will dictate whether it is a good diet or shit diet. In short, if you are still overweight and not losing anything, underweight and failing to add weight, not sleeping and lacking energy then your diet is most probably shit, unless of course you have a medical condition or anything alike that could be the reason.
Bad diets then…
1) Basically anything that tells you to take out real food and replace it with shakes, juice, tea or whatever else it may be is not the answer. Why would we want to replace nutrient dense foods with anything that is filtered, processed or anything alike? Shit we don’t even know what is in half these things, the ingredients 9 times out of 10 we don’t even know or never heard of it before. An example meal replacement shakes are made with highly processed ingredients, such as protein isolates, sugars, gums, fibres, synthetic vitamins, artificial flavours and emulsifiers. But they fail to say where they have come from. Not forgetting they are extremely high in sugar, looking at 2 of the worlds leading (I say leading loosely) “weight loss” (air quotes) companies 40% of their calories come from added sugars. Lets not talk about the macro nutrients in them. For legal reasons I wont name any names but they sound similar to Gerbilife & Juice minus.
2) Weight watchers & Slimming world:
Now I have a love/hate relationship with these two, with the hate outweighing the love. There is no doubt that these two diets work, I have seen first hand the amazing results that people achieve on them. So why would I hate them….? Well they both demonise food, either give them points (weightwatcher for example using 0 points for certain veggies but black beans being 31 points) or slimming world giving them syns. To me this is demonising foods therefore subliminory getting into your head so that you wont eat these foods. This is ludacus, no food is bad food as long as you eat it in moderation. So if you want a mcdonalds on a Saturday afternoon because you want to treat the kids to one then I personally think you should be allowed to and not feel guilty about it. But a Big mac meal with fries and a milkshake will cost you 62 sins… What the fuck, given you are only allowed between 5-15 syns a day on slimming world, that’s over 4 days worth of syns in a weeks allowance.
The other thing I don’t understand is that they constantly change their syn free and point free foods. An example muller yogurts were syn and point free at one point, however in mid 2018 slimming world changed these to one syn each… the yogurts never changed their ingredients, their nutritional value or anything of the kind, so why one day could you have ate 10 of these with no syns but the next day be 66% of your maximum daily allowance?
So lets cut to the point with slimming world and weight watchers… they do not teach the consumer about nutritional aspects, portion sizes, macro or micro nutrients. Instead what they do is give food points/syns and tell you what you can eat and cant eat without any reason behind it. They confuse the consumer and give them no education so that if they do leave their brand they have no knowledge of how to do it by them self. This is not even going into the fact that the local groups are mostly ran by unqualified, inexperienced average people who have only every had success from these companies as it has been an easy option and laid out on a plate for them.
If these 2 companies focused on education rather than confusion and actually having their consumers best interest at heart whilst giving reasons behind their recommendations I would fully support their plan. But by doing so they would lose custom, repeat sales and more. Dictation not education comes to mind with these, which is a shame. But its business and making money so it is ok to confuse your customers… right?
What you need to remember is although i have only mentioned a few companies above there are so many out there looking to reel you in and take your money. If they are not talking to you about your training along with your diet, if they are only worried about what the scales say, if they are not speaking about muscle preservation whilst trying to lose 'Body Fat' the chance are they are not the best diet to start. do not just focus on the scales, understand all aspects of why we diet.
So what makes a good diet…?
There are so many diets out there that are healthy in different ways, High Carb, Low carb, High Protein, Keto, 16:8 fast… the list is endless. But a good diet is defined by the individual taking the diet on. For me I couldn’t do Keto, The thought of cutting my carbs doesn’t appeal to me at all and I would not stick to it at all, likewise I am up at 4am for my first session and don’t finish until 9pm so fasting is not an option for me, but for many it works, not only does it work but they can sustain it, and that is the main point to a diet. It needs to be sustainable whilst still hitting your Macro nutrients (fats, Carbs, proteins) your micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and staying within your calorie limits.
A massive tip from me is do not plan your diet by a daily basis, instead plan it by weekly. Work out your BMR & your recommended calorie intake for your desired results and times it by 7. This will give you your weekly amount of calories to consume. This will give you more flexibility and should you have a bad day where you decided to eat that full English breakfast and then a Chinese for dinner you wont feel as if you have failed. You can readjust your calories for the remaining week, for example if you went over by 500 calories on day 2, you can adapt your diet and decrease the calories by 100 per day (which isn’t a great amount) for the remaining 5 days, likewise on the other hand if you have got to the weekend and are under your average by 500 you know you can enjoy the weekend with some nice food with the partner, a glass of wine or 2 or whatever you fancy, because remember there is no such thing as bad food/drink within moderation.
To summarise, there is many different diets out there, not one fits all. Either do some education on them and find one that fits your like and dislikes or invest in a coach/Personal Trainer who can help educate you, because the nutrition aspect of your life is so vast it is going to take research and/or trial and error. But by either doing this research yourself or working with a coach who is going to tell you the finding you will have a better understanding of how it works so in the long run you can make it sustainable yourself. There is no such thing as bad foods in moderation, foods should not be demonised and if you fancy a Chinese at the weekend and you have worked your arse off in the gym and you have calculated your calories right, then crack on and enjoy your beef curry.
The number one key is that whichever diet you choose to pursue it should be sustainable for the long run, not one or 2 months and then you cant stand it anymore. That is a fad diet to you personally. You may lose weight but if you are not going to stick to it and then go back to your old habits, you are sure to add that weight back on. It’s a lifestyle change, but a positive one. One that after a few weeks it becomes habit, because if you stick with that habit it then becomes lifestyle.
Gaz’s 5 tips to finish.
1) Work out your BMR & calorie intake needed for your lifestyle
2) Research and understand the diet that you have chosen, Education is key.
3) Speak to a coach if you need help.
4) Download My fitness pal to help with your tracking, in the words of a wise friend of mine, “if you aren’t assessing then you are just Guessing”
5) Keep it simple, do not over complicate it, simple tracking, assessing and keeping notes is a great way to see where you went well and what went wrong.
6) I know I said 5 tips but one more for good measure…. Take before and after pics. We all dislike our body composition at times but in 6 months time you will be glad you did.
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