I have been fortunate enough to work with Weight Loss Coaching clients for 20 years. Frequently, many clients have misguided feelings and understanding of facts in relation to eating for different goals. Often, clients are confused into believing that all paths taken will lead to the same desired outcomes. I see this frequently with the mindset centered on weight loss and the traditional “EAT LESS” mentality. There are tons of examples of this style of eating and ALL of them have been shown to work in the short-term.
A diet focused on weight loss, generally, is restricted by calories and/or food choices.
One important note- the idea that calorie excess ALWAYS leads to fat GAIN and calorie REDUCTION always leads to fat LOSS is not accurate. What, how much and when you eat are all contributing factors to fat LOSS or GAIN. As is, how much of activity, the type of activity (or training) and non-caloric factors such as hydration and stress.
Anyone that says weight loss/gain is all about calories lacks credibility. Anyone that says that weight loss/gain has nothing to do with calories is just flat out wrong.
Our recent history shows that we have vilified specific foods, specific times in which we eat foods and entire food categories. In the 1970’s we were told that Carbohydrates were our friend and to avoid Protein and Fat, in the 80’s and early 90’s we were told to avoid Fats at ALL costs and then in the 90’s into today we were told to avoid Carbohydrates to lose weight forever. Recently, we are told to only eat certain types of carbohydrates while avoiding others. As you can guess, the outcome of these methods have yet to yield the desired, sustained weight loss. As a matter of fact, no matter the chosen method, our weight has continued to creep up and up over the years.
Additionally, because we choose diets emotionally, we tend to believe these methods will deliver consistent, linear results, even though, in reality, we do know better. Add on the temporary belief that we may have about the “magical”, too good to be true labels placed on specific foods “EAT THIS AND LOSE WEIGHT!!!” or products – “I TOOK THIS PILL AND LOST 30 LBS!!!!” and the frustration, anxiety and confusion many of us feel is understandable.
So, to simplify, here are the two things EVERY Diet is based on –
Conversely, a Fat loss eating program is different from a weight loss approach to food.
Fat loss eating focuses on calories too, but puts more focus on hormones and nutrition. Fat Loss eating is never promised as a quick fix, but, more so, a long-term solution requiring dedication from the individual. Fat loss occurs from eating in a way that controls the natural compensatory nature of your metabolism. Metabolic sensations such as hunger, cravings and energy are dramatically influenced by hormones, your food choices, food volume and environmental cues. Balance your hormones and control your calories by controlling the quality of your food choices, your environment and hence, your hormonal responses (such as stress, hunger, cravings etc…) and these sensations too will stabilize resulting in less food intake without much conscious effort.
There are three criteria required to turn indiscriminate weight loss into focused fat loss.
Here is how you achieve this –
On a fat loss diet you eat fat loss foods. These foods don’t have any magical fat burning properties, but, they do balance hunger, energy and cravings and at the same time increase fat loss. These foods tend to be rich in protein, fiber and water (increasing their Thermic-Effect). They are nutritionally dense, and calorically sparse. This style of eating leaves you satiated and for the most part, satisfied. This style of eating provides Nutrition to your body, not removes it, it provides energy, not restricts it, it provides expanded choices, not minimizes them.
Fat Loss eating is much more about providing health, nutrition and a sustainable style to allow you to continue the practice. Fat Loss eating is specific and planned, not indiscriminate.
You also must create a reason for your body to maintain lean tissues (muscle) and that is strength training. Weight Training will give your body a reason to maintain or increase your metabolism. See the article suggestions below to learn more about this topic.
When you look at all of the facts from research we sleep less (nearly 2 hours less per night than in 1950), we eat more (nearly 250 Calories more for Females / 350 calories more for Males calories more per day) than in the 1970’s and we move less overall (150 calories less per day Males / 250 calories less for Females) from just 1980.
So, regardless of you you place the blame for weight gain (sugar, total carbohydrates, fat, etc…), one thing is clear – we are eating more than ever before in the Industrial Age and we are moving less. We eat more in social settings and we lead less active lifestyles (often going from laying down to different seated positions until we lay down again, without much else in between…).
Bottom Line –
In order to lose weight you need to eat less food and/or move more.
In order to improve your health, you need to eat the highest quality foods that you can in abundance.
In order to lose fat you need to provide reasons for your body to maintain its lean tissues while you create a calorie deficit and achieve Nutritional targets.
All paths do not lead to the same place.