There are so many fad diets, and articles on how to lose weight. You have friends and family pulling you in different directions telling you the diet they tried and happened to see some success with is better than all the rest. How is it that all these people are having success with different diets? Why is it so confusing? I want to break some of this down to help make sense of all the noise.
What ALL Diets Have In Common
Let’s get THE most important trait out of the way. Whether your friend went vegan, keto, paleo, you name it, if they all lost weight it is MOST likely because they all have one thing in common – whole food consumption. Let’s think about this for a second. When we have a night of binge eating or a weekend where we preemptively know we’re already going to gain some weight why is that? Because we’re eating a lot of junk food. Junk food, as you very well know, is VERY easy to overconsume. If you are overconsuming then you’re most likely eating in a surplus which results in weight gain.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, there’s nothing inherently wrong with processed foods. If you ate chips and candy under your maintenance caloric intake you wouldn’t gain weight. Again, it’s the overall overconsumption. A bag of chips contains roughly about 4-5 full potatoes. Even if you ate half the bag of chips you’d probably do it with ease and STILL be hungry at the end. If I gave you 2-3 boiled potatoes you’d probably get fuller a lot faster. So right there you are already receiving the same amount of food, but more likely to eat TWICE as much in the processed version vs the whole food. Now, let’s add on the fact that fat is added to the chips for flavor and crispness, so now you’ve not only DOUBLED the amount volume wise, but you’ve now doubled again the amount of calories you’d eat because of the added fat. Same volume of food, twice the calories, half the satiation. This is why we get fat so easily.
When you go on any of these diets, they naturally eliminate most, if not all, super palatable processed foods. If I’ve taken away my chips for baked potato, I’m now by default eating half the calories I was eating, and voila, now you’re primed for weight loss!
The Simple Keys to Weight Loss
1. Include some form of protein in each meal
Protein is a macronutrient that’s the hardest to convert to fat, and most needed for muscle growth and other functions. It’s also super filling. If you start your meal with a serving that is the size and thickness of your palm, you will give your muscles the protein it needs to rebuild, and the fullness to not overeat later in your meal.
2. Include veggies for volume
Most people hate the “starving” feeling during dieting. Easy fix – add more veggies. Vegetables are insanely voluminous, while holding very little calories wise. After eating your protein serving, Have at least 1-2 fistfuls of veggies on your plate. Between this and the protein you are putting yourself in an extremely good position to not only be eating healthier by default and getting your nutrients, but by the time you get through all this food, you’ll probably be too full to eat whatever carbohydrates are on your plate.
3. Drink lots of water
This is another easy trick to keep your stomach full. Most of us don’t drink enough water as is, and our cells need it to stay hydrated, and perform optimally. Our hormones can’t function without enough water. Drink 10-20oz before your meal to get started!
4. Move more
This doesn’t have to be cardio on a treadmill. Sometime’s people are in fact lowering their intake and seemingly still not losing weight. Chances are their movement has slowed down, or never increased. An easy solution that’s available on all our phones is step tracking. Figure out your average daily step count and then increase it by 3,000 steps. Try that for a week and increase it another 3,000 if you don’t lose any weight. Find easy ways to incorporate it. Even adding a 10 minute walk after every meal will help hit this target easily. Go on a walk with your dog or kids. Pick up an aerobic sport. There are plenty of ways that don’t involve the gym to hit your step count.
5. Include resistance training
The last rule I’ll include today is incorporating some form of resistance training into your routine. It can be just 2-3 full body days a week. The more muscle we have on our bodies, the more calories we burn at rest. More muscle also makes us more insulin sensitive and able to handle more carbohydrates well. These are all positive traits that don’t involve just aesthetics. Lifting weights mixed with healthy eating will help improve all inflammatory blood markers across the board and is hands down one of the best habits you can pick up to improve your longevity.