Three things that really matter
In a world inundated with the newest and hottest ways to eat, it’s nearly impossible to navigate through all of this information.
The world has seen so many diet fads come in and out of existence,
The grapefruit diet,
or some new-age practice.
Many people will get great results with one diet,
others find another diet really works for them.
There are actually a lot of diets that will work,
But when we look at these diets we see common themes.
We see that they all have three things in common.
Three things that, when used appropriately can be used to lose fat and get back in shape.
You could apply these three strategies to nearly any style of eating,
whether it’s paleo,
and you will get results.
Here is the secret sauce of all good diets
1.All good diets create a Caloric deficit
There is no way around it.
If you want to lose fat, you need to take in less than you burn off in a day.
So, that means the amount of Calories you consume through food and drink should be less than the amount of Calories you burn off through movement.
There are ways to “hack” this.
Eating lean protein curbs your hunger and makes you feel satiated.
Eating healthy fats also does this.
Vegetables contain fibre that makes us feel fuller for longer.
Eating slowly allows you to detect fullness more effectively.
Eating until 80% full creates a Caloric deficit when applied consistently.
But, in the end, you need to eat less than you burn off.
That’s what allows fat loss to accumulate over time.
2.All good diets emphasize getting more exercise and activity
Like we mentioned above creating a Caloric deficit works on two ends of the spectrum:
The food we take in and the energy we burn off.
So, you can keep your amount of daily movement the same and eat less,
or you can move more and eat the same,
or you can combine the two.
But, before you run off and make a decision, you should consider G-flux.
G-flux refers to the energy flux that happens in your body as a result of the Calories you take in and the energy you expend through movement.
What this basically means is that if you eat more, but move more, you will lose more fat than someone who eats less but moves less.
Here’s an example.
Jill eats 1500 Calories per day and burns off 2000 Calories per day. That’s a 500 Calorie deficit.
Her friend, Sonya eats 1000 Calories per day and burns 1500 Calories per day. Also, a 500 Calorie deficit.
Who would lose more fat?
By eating more but also exercising more your body’s G-flux shifts upward and your metabolism actually increases more so than if you ate less and exercised less.
This increase in metabolism will create more fat loss over time.
3.All good diets emphasize eating minimally-processed, whole foods.
Minimally-processed whole food not only make us feel fuller longer,
we actually extract less energy from them.
For example, our bodies take in less Calories from an almond than we would from the same amount of almond butter.
Also, whole foods contain more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help our bodies recover better,
lose more fat,
and move our muscles more effectively.
When we talk about whole foods, we think of foods that:
- don’t come in packages or containers (unless they can leak or move around ie. ground beef)
- contain only one ingredient ie. sweet potato, spinach, chicken.
- don’t have labels (where the hell are you going to put them if they don’t have a package?)
- you can recognize as the food it used to be
- takes minimal steps to get to you
- usually go bad fairly quickly
Here is what counts as whole foods:
- fresh, colourful vegetables and fruit
- fresh meat, poultry, fish and seafood
- nuts and seeds
- beans and lentils
- whole (intact) grains
- minimally-processed dairy (ie. fresh, plain yogurt)
But keep this in perspective!
When it comes to whole foods, it’s important to look at things on a continuum.
For example, fish is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats and many vitamins and minerals.
Just because you don’t meet the boat at the dock and then throw your fresh salmon on the grill doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it.
Here is how you would look at fish on a continuum:
Worst – > expired, freezer burnt breaded fish
Better -> filet-o-fish from McDonalds
Better -> flavoured canned fish
Better-> plain canned fish
Better-> frozen filets/steaks
Best-> fresh filets/steaks
It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things.
I can hear the conversations in your head:
“which type of potato should I buy?”
“How long after my workout should I eat?”
“What type of cardio should I do?”
The number of little things you could focus on are endless.
Seriously, you could spend years trying to figure out the little details of every diet,
every meal plan from the celebrities,
and every Jenny Craig ad on TV,
But, when it comes down to it, there are a few things that really matter.
We often talk to our clients about focusing on these things.
These are the activities,
and lifestyle behaviours that contribute most to success.
The three principles we talked about in this article really matter.
They can be applied to nearly any diet and they will give you success.
The goal is to keep the goal the goal,
and if you want to lose fat, your daily action goals should be to create a Caloric deficit,
and eat minimally-processed whole foods 🙂