Not too fast, not too slow. Not too simple, not too complex. Not too restrictive, not too liberal.
As weird as it sounds, the perfect weight loss diet doesn’t exist. Its WAY too dependent on a number of factors. Some of those, ill address here to clear up some misconceptions, but really, its all about YOU.
Sustainable weight loss should be the ultimate goal of almost every nutrition plan, because even if the plan is to just get healthier and learn how to nourish your body.. generally speaking, you’re likely to lose weight. So lets just include all of that in the understanding of what I’m talking about here.
Not Too Fast: I hope I already explained how this is a problem. Sure, when we’re losing weight we all wish it would happen faster, but that’s just not a great plan for a number of reasons I’ve already outlined. But in addition to those, here are a few others. What you want here is the minimum effective dose. The right change, done in just the right amount to trigger weight loss. That way, you still have things you can change in the future when your body adapts, and your weight loss stalls out, which it will.
If you start off by exercising like a maniac, dropping food groups and eating next to nothing. You’re already working from rock bottom, where to do expect to cut from when your body decides its had enough and starts fighting back?
Not Too Slow: You have to change ENOUGH things to make a difference though. sure, technically cutting out that one can of coke a day will remove 130 calories from your life, and theoretically translate into a pound of fat lost every 3 weeks or so. But it likely wont. Its within the small margin of error that your hormones, exercises, random daily events etc, will alter your calorie expenditures. So you’ll be down a Coke, but not down a pound.
Not Too Simple: this is hard, because, while it can be effective, its tends to blend into one of my later points. Ill explain. Just Cut Out Carbs!. Ok, great, no carbs. breakfast is now eggs, bacon, and half an avocado. Lunch is a chicken breast, steamed broccoli with a little butter, and some cheese melted on top. Dinner is baked salmon, grilled asparagus, carrots, and peppers. You’ve worked it out, tricked your body. You’re doing it. Weight is coming down. But then, 5 days in. Catered work lunch, and you’ve forgotten your tuna salad, and lettuce wraps because your son slept in and was late for school, you had to drive him. They only have sandwiches, some wilted, sad salad with a honey vinaigrette, and a platter of desserts. See where I’m going here? Cutting food groups works, but it creates problems with flexibility, or cravings.
Too Complex: You’re counting your macros. But you couldn’t find the brand of mushroom soup on the app you’re using to track your food, so you had to substitute for something you thought might be similar, and the serving sizes were different so you had to track .764 of a can (whatever that is) and you hope you still have 50g of carbs left to eat because that how much rice you have waiting for you in you dinner meal after you hit the gym tonight.
Oh, and that apple you ate for lunch, did you know apples have varying amounts of sugar depending on how close to the tree they grew? So an apple at the end of the branch has less than an apple close to the trunk? Did your app account for apple-trunk proximity in the carb calculation?
Didn’t think so.
Too Restrictive: You can only eat between 4pm and 8pm because you’re doing intermittent fasting and your 4 hour window just expired, but you had a late meeting and didn’t get your third meal in. No, you have to cut out the Glutenz! because its evil, but your Nonna just made her famous Vermicelli Alla Puttanesca, and you have to turn her down.
Too Liberal: Just eat in moderation! Vague, meet lazy.
The number one factor for success on a diet is adherence. Seriously whatever works for you. LONG TERM, because this isn’t a sprint, its a lifestyle change.
That’s why I recommend a habit based approach instead of a specific method. That habit might be tracking your macros if that’s what works for you. Or it might be learning to select foods that are higher in fibre and protein, lower in fats and carbs.
Work with a coach, determine what works for you, and then have the support in place to make it last.