1. You’re Not Obsessing Over A Cheat Day
Most “diets” take a very strict approach meaning you’re only allowed to each certain types of foods (plain chicken breast, spinach, and green veggies) and that’s it. I will be the first to tell you I don’t believe in depriving yourself and 9 times out of 10 it’s not going to work for most people long term. That’s exactly why new year's resolutions and most fad diets don’t work long term.
With that being said I do believe that in the beginning of making a change you need to be cautious of the foods you put in your mouth especially if your goal is fat loss. During the beginning stages your body is typically not in a healthy state so minimizing processed foods and treats is needed to get you on the right track. But, you should never take on a diet or plan that deprives you from enjoying food at a family function or event forever. Being able to let go and have a good time is part of life and food is normally a big part of it. A diet that’s congruent with our lives doesn’t cause us to obsess over foods we love and also should never deprive us from enjoying special moments in our lives.
Which leads me to point 2.
2. You Don’t Have To Obsess Over Numbers
I don’t believe in strictly counting calories or scale watching. I don’t think there’s a problem knowing how many calories you’re consuming or the number on the scale, but I think the health and wellness industry has put so much emphasis on these two things that people no longer associate health with feeling good.
You can hit the number calories and the number on the scale you’re “supposed to,” but feel terrible the entire time. This is a sign that you’re working against your body which typically doesn’t turn out well in the end. So much focus is put on the amount of calories being consumed along with the number on the scale instead of paying attention to how the food you’re eating makes you feel along with how your body is changing (clothes are fitting).
When you’re eating in agreement with your body you won’t have to focus too heavily on the amount of calories you're eating or the scale, those are by-products of giving the body what it needs.
Obsessing over numbers leads to me point 3.
3. You Don’t Have Intense Cravings
When you’re not giving your body what it needs as far as the right amount of food (or sleep) it leads to intense cravings on a regular basis. This is why I tend to lead my clients away from calorie counting and deprivation diets because when it’s approached from those stand points we’re trying to force the body to change instead of giving the body what it needs in order for it to change.
We turn this into a willpower vs. biochemistry war and biochemistry is always going to win in the end. When it comes to sustainable fat loss it's about hormone function (quality) and the calories you’re eating. Restricted calorie diets, sleep deprivation, excessive caffeine intake, diets high processed foods will cause hormone disruption. We can try to will ourselves through these things, but longer term it will not work in our favor.
Side note there are people who lose body fat (weight) eating mainly a diet in processed foods by slightly restricting calorie intake, but this is not an approach you want to use long term because these processed foods will cause other problems with your health.
On to point #4.
4. You Have Energy Throughout The Day
Whenever there’s a disruption in hormone function like cortisol or we deprive ourselves of calories the symptoms that we typically suffer from are low body temperature, decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure and heart volume, feelings of being hungry, cold, and tired. Now I know some of these things might sound strange, but most of the calories we burn are not from exercise like most might believe, it’s actually through something called the basal metabolic rate (BMR) which are the calories burned in order to allow our bodies to function at rest. BMR is responsible for things such as:
Brain Function (Up to 25% of our total calories)
Detoxification (Kidney & Liver)
Digestion (pancreas and bowels)
Excretion (Intestines & Colon)
Increased heart rate and stroke volume
New bone, muscle, and protein production
5. You’re Burning Body Fat
Weight loss does not always mean fat loss. As I pointed out earlier a lot of people who take on diets focus heavily on numbers. Oftentimes they’re trying to get the scale to move down by doing long sessions of cardio and restrictive diets. Initially the scale does go down because you’re eliciting a different stimulus to the body. However, your biochemistry will start to work against you after a few weeks and for most people they start feeling terrible, less motivated, and they eventually eat all the foods they promised themselves they wouldn’t as well as quitting their plan.
The body looks at muscle as a liability and fat as an asset. I know that might sound weird because having a lean body is glorified in our society. But, our body’s are designed to store body fat in times of famine. During our earlier years of evolution there were many times when food was scarce so someone who had more body fat had a better chance of survival.
Muscle is calorically taxing hence someone who has more lean muscle tends to have a higher metabolism. What this means is when you get into restrictive diets and long steady cardio bouts over time the body goes into a survival state (example: famine) because it's not getting what it needs to function properly so it’ll slow your metabolism down making it harder to lose weight. The weight that you do lose will come from your precious muscle which in turn makes it harder to lose body fat because muscle is where a lot of body fat is transferred and broken down. This is a cycle that many people fall prey to time and time again.
When it comes to your diet you want to make sure whatever plan you decide to follow that it fits your lifestyle and works with your body not against it. A lot of plans that are sold are designed to lose weight fast and involve things like skinny teas and other supplements that don’t educate or give you a long term approach to a healthy lifestyle that’s enjoyable and sustainable. I hope that these five points help you make better changes and decisions about your nutrition moving forward. I will be publishing my first ebook called The Undefeated Code in the near future which goes deeper into topics such as the ones in this article. To stay up to date follow me on instagram: @undefeatedfitlife and subscribe to the Undefeated Fit Life blog.
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Wendell Christian Jr.