I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you will never lose weight doing something you hate. Initially, you may be enticed to continue down the path when you see some results but the long-term play always leads to failure. Look, would you do something you hate every single day for the rest of your life? Probably not, right? And who would expect you to? Now, there will be a little give and take during the process but the most effective weight loss strategy is eating what you want. Let me explain.
No, I’m Not Nuts
Well, that’s actually debatable but it’s not the topic of discussion – your weight loss strategy is. Let’s take a peek at your diet. Not the best, correct? It’s cool, we can work with that. In fact, I don’t even really want you to do much in terms of eliminating what you eat, we can play with it a little.
I’m sure you have tried several diets in the past. How did they turn out? Good at first and then you figured out the diet absolutely sucks day in and day out so you gave up. Am I right? That’s because the diet you were trying to use didn’t fit your lifestyle. Know what? It won’t fit the majority of lifestyles out there and that’s why it’s called a “diet.”
Diets are quick fixes to a bigger issue. While what you eat is just as important as how much, a simple way to see some quick weight loss is by simply managing how much you eat (to start). To break it down in easy to digest terms, you have a daily caloric maintenance number that if you hit it each day, your weight will stabilize – you won’t gain weight and you won’t lose weight. Then you have a caloric deficit. That’s where you consume fewer calories than maintenance and over time you will see a decrease in your body weight. Lastly, we have a caloric surplus. That’s where more than 60% of American’s are on a daily basis which causes weight gain.
With more than 60% of American adults being overweight and of that number around 30% of them being considered obese, you can say we have an epidemic on our hands. Not to worry, we can dig you out of the hole you dug if you feel that’s where you are. First thing’s first – you need to track your calories. I’m willing to bet that nearly every instance where someone isn’t losing weight, they have no idea how many calories they are consuming on a daily basis and additionally, they are in a dreaded caloric surplus.
Either write down on a piece of scrap paper your daily intake of calories as well as protein, carbohydrates, and fats, or use a simple and easy to use app such as MyFitnessPal to track your nutrition. Numbers don’t lie and neither does the mirror. If your maintenance calories are said to be at 2,500, what happens if you eat more? You betcha, you’ll be gaining weight. Therefore, we need to make sure we are under that number. I’m using 2,500 as a placeholder for my example. You may be higher/lower so just roll with me on this one to understand what needs to be done in your instance regardless of what your actual maintenance calories are.
If you remove 250 calories per day from your 2,500 you will be left with 2,225 and that can yield you around 0.5lb of weight loss per week. If you drop 500 calories per day and take it down to 2,000 calories per day, you can lose around 1lb per week. You don’t want to lose any more than 2lbs per week or you’ll risk losing lean muscle mass which will lead you down another dark hole of slowing down your metabolism.
How Can You Eat Whatever You Want?
I know this is the part you’ve been waiting for. As the title says, the most effective weight loss strategy is eating what you want. Is that true? Yes and no. No, it’s not clickbait – hear me out.
Do you like ice cream? I’m not telling you to eliminate it. Do you like pizza? You can have pizza. Do you like big, fat, juicy burgers with fries? Get down with your bad self. You don’t need to get rid of any of that deliciousness – but you need to manage how much you eat and where it puts you calorically for the day.
Listen, if your family wants to have a pizza night and it’s your tradition, by all means, eat some pizza. But rather than having an entire pizza yourself, only have a couple of slices and call it a day. Log your calories and macronutrients from the meal and move on. Now, I’m not saying it’s healthy to have pizza every day but I’m also not saying you need to give it up altogether.
Diets like keto don’t work for people because they like their pizza, donuts, and ice cream. Who am I to tell you that you can’t have those things? And no one should. It’s simply a matter of better managing the food you consume and in what quantities.
The problem with all of these diets is that they want you to eliminate entire macronutrients. Eliminate all fat. Eliminate all carbohydrates. It sounds ridiculous. Who wants to do that and maintain their sanity? I’d be the grumpiest person you’d meet if you made me eliminate an entire macronutrient. That’s why the failure rate is so high. It’s not a long-term strategy or a lifestyle you can follow until the day you die.
Stop buying into all of these fad diets and eat whatever the hell you want (within the guidelines I mentioned above). Enjoy your life and the food you eat. Just be mindful of your portions and make sure you hit your daily numbers. If you can eliminate certain things that don’t mean much to you, such as soda, do so. Make changes that fit your lifestyle and when you make changes, do them slowly. Don’t throw away everything in your pantry, simply stop buying certain foods. Maybe switch from regular soda to diet. Switch from sugar in your coffee to something like Stevia. Little changes can yield great results in the long-term. Remember, this is a long-term play, nothing happens overnight.