The word "diet" is one of those things where either you love it, or you hate it, there's no in-between. It's a word that I don't like using with any of my clients, and for no reason other than I, personally, don't like the word. Due to this reason, we are going to change it to "nutrition" for this article. When you think of the word diet, you think of something like the many yo-yo style plans out on the internet these days that claim to work miracles for weight loss, but what you are left with is hunger and frustration. That's why you need to stop focusing on what people call a diet and start looking at your overall nutrition since it plays a vital role in your weight loss success.
The Most Important Part
When it comes to weight loss, nutrition truly is the most important part of the equation. Let's face it, one slip up where you slide into a McDonald's drive-thru and order everything you shouldn't can land you hours of extra cardio and workouts that need to be done to burn off all those calories. The simple saying of "you can't out-train a poor diet" is 100% accurate.
You can look at your workouts and think how amazing they are, and you're burning all of these calories, but in the end, you're burning off what you've consumed just to reach a caloric deficit. So, rather than being proactive, you're being reactionary based on your current nutrition situation. Then you have people who swear just looking at food causes them to gain weight. Put yourself in a position where your nutrition fuels your mind and body rather than using food to create some sort of emotion or stimulus you're looking for.
Emotional eating can cause severe weight gain. And when you're looking to hit your weight loss goals, you need to understand what's triggering these binges and nip them in the bud. I know, easier said than done – but trust me, it's an easy way to help you down your road to success.
If You Hate Cardio, This Is For You
If you hate cardio, raise your hand. If I could see through your screen, I'd probably see your hand up, and you're not alone. I despise cardio. It's just not fun. I'd much rather be lifting weights than be pounding the pavement or treadmill. Then you have those ripped and in shape individuals who you ask them how much cardio they do, and they tell you none. It probably sends you into a rage, right? Simmer down, I have good news.
More often than not, individuals who say they don't do any cardio to stay lean have one of two things (or potentially both) – a clean nutrition plan or great genetics. That's it. There's no witchcraft going on here or a magician that is shrinking fat cells as a side hustle.
For the sake of time, let's leave genetics alone since it's something you can't truly change or manage – you can thank your parents. So, let's look at the nutrition piece. If you have a clean nutritional plan that supports weight loss, there's a great chance that you don't have to do any cardio. Now, if you are looking to get ready for a show of some sort, then you might. Or, if you want the heart health benefits, then, by all means, do some cardio. But you don't really need to do any cardio if you are focusing heavily on your overall nutrition strategy.
If your body needs 2,000 calories each day to maintain its weight, and you drop that number down to 1,500 (a 500-calorie deficit), you should be losing around one-pound of body weight each week on the scale. Why does that sound so simple? Because it is. The most challenging part is what will be going on between your ears. Lowering your calories can be difficult, especially if you aren't tracking your calories currently. 3,500 calories make up one pound. When you drop 500 calories from your nutrition daily, you're forcing your body to utilize body fat to make up the remainder, helping you to lose weight.
Ensure You Hit Your Daily Caloric Intake
Whatever your number may be for maintenance and deficit, the only way to track your progress is to, well… track your progress. Use an app like MyFitnessPal, and you can track all of your calories and macronutrients quickly and easily. This ensures you don't end up eating more than you THINK you consumed.
Tracking your calories is important because how do you know you are in a deficit if you don't even know how much you've consumed? For that reason, I urge everyone to download the free app to their smartphone and start utilizing it immediately.
Nutrition is extremely important, and when you make it a priority and focus, you will see better results not only from your training but from less cardio, if any at all. Weight loss isn't truly difficult, it's a slow and consistent game to see progress – think long-game. The key is to stay dedicated, be aware of what you eat and in what quantities, and make sure you are in a deficit each day to put you in the best position for reaching your weight loss goals.