As an Online Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach I constantly get emails that ask me about diet xyz and what my thoughts are. There are so MANY freakin’ weight loss strategies out there it’s hard for consumers to separate what is legit from what is … not so legit. (BTW— I <3 your emails– keep ‘em comin!).
Honestly, how the heckkkk is anyone supposed to know what works and what doesn’t? One day flax seeds are a superfood, the next day they are to be avoided. Now ketogenic diets seem to be all the rage…
If you know anything about me, you know that I am COMMITTED to teaching people about sustainable methods to get sustainable results. You won’t find any crash diet strategies here. Looking to drop 10 lb in 5 days? Work out 2x a day on 1000 calories? You won’t find any of that here.
I am about teaching you the strategies you *need* to learn so that you can not only achieve your goals– but sustain your results FOR LIFE.
Want to know the truth?
When it comes to weight loss, it’s simple. There is one overarching theme that all of these diets have in common…
**Creating a Caloric Deficit**
(Note: Obviously not everyone has the goal of losing weight and some choose the above diet (and I say diet in the sense that that is the way they choose to eat), because it helps them with some sort of medical issue (i.e. inflammation or autoimmune disease.) But for the purpose of this blog– I am going to talk about the above diets or “weight loss strategies” assuming that you do not have any auto-immune issue and that you are just looking for the best “diet” for you to lose weight given normal circumstances.)
The “success” of all of these “diets” boils down to one thing, CREATING A CALORIC DEFICIT. (However they fail you in other areas which I will get to below).
“But wait– I swear I lost more weight on my low/no carb diet…”
I know what you’re thinking. You might be sitting there saying “You’re wrong Jaime, I know low/no carb diets are better”.
Hold on– hold up!!!!!!! If you are sitting behind your computer and shaking your head “NOPE” at me, thinking I’m wrong because you SWEAR your low/no carb strategy has worked for you I have an explanation.
For every 1g of glycogen (energy from carbs), that your body stores you also store 3g of water. Thus, if you say bye bye to carbs– you lose the water too.
When you say hello to carbs again– you also say hello to water :).
Bottom line: CARBS ARE CORRELATED TO WATER WEIGHT.
Plus I don’t believe you if you tell me that you are going to avoid carbs for life. 😉
Now that we have that out of the way– let’s get into the nitty gritty of why calories matter.
Sustainable Weight Loss Action Item #1: Creating a Caloric Deficit
The energy equation simply cannot be ignored.
Weight gain happens when you eat more calories than you burn off. The excess calories get stored as fat (or sometimes muscle)… this is weight gain.
Weight loss happens when you burn more calories than you consume, you will use your own stored energy (either fat or muscle tissue) for fuel …this is weight loss.
Maintenance happens when the calories you eat are equal to the calories that you consume. This is weight maintenance.
This is assuming that you do not have a thyroid dysfunction/metabolic issue or some other type of medical problem. It’s worth noting that if you have spent years and years eating very low calorie– it’s possible that you have screwed up your metabolism. If you think this might be the case, I high recommend reading the book Starve Mode by Leigh Peele.
But for most of us.. It really just comes down to calorie in vs. calories out.
Sustainable Weight Loss Action Item #2: Eating Mostly Nutrient Dense Foods
So you mean as long as I eat in a caloric deficit I will lose weight?
Yes you could, but please do not do that.
There is a difference between eating strictly for weight loss and eating for optimal health. The power lies in combining the two.
Eating strictly for weight loss means that it doesn’t matter what you eat so long as you hit your calorie target (um, hello Weight Watchers?).
BUT BE WARNED–by doing this, you will not feel all that great. You might feel tired, lethargic and hungry. Not to mention you might notice other things like irritability, extra cellulite, dry skin/hair/nails and a host of other things if you are failing to get adequate nutrients from fruits, veggies, healthy fats and lean proteins. Again, please don’t do this.
Eating strictly for optimal health means that you don’t give a sh*t about your weight and you just want to eat the best, most nutritious foods possible.
The combination of them both give you the best possible outcome for both optimal health & weight loss. (Check out my FREE Guide to Eating for Optimal Fat Loss for more info).
The truth is, we need to eat nutrient dense foods in order to ensure we are eating not only for weight loss, but for optimal health and vitality too.
So to summarize, you will have the BEST POSSIBLE result in terms of aesthetics and maintenance if you combine BOTH 1.) A caloric deficit (which by now, you understand is essential), and 2.) Eating MOSTLY Nutrient DENSE foods.
Here are my simple steps for getting on track:
P.S. If you need help, click here to see if I am accepting clients in my 1:1 Online Training Program .