#7: (Insert Diet) is the BEST for fat loss.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Everything works… until it doesn’t.
Whether it’s Paleo, Keto, Atkins, South Beach, magical unicorn tears or the grilled cheese diet, it likely works in some manner. The problem is that each camp wants to lead you to believe that their approach is the best or somehow will help you lose fat like magic. It won’t.
And these diets truly do ‘work’… just not in the way that you think.
As you’ve learned in parts one and two, the factors that is numero uno when it comes to fat loss is consistently consuming less calories than you burn. I hope you’re starting to get that, I mean, I’m trying really hard here.
So how do these diet’s actually work?
They all have one important thing in common: elimination. They work because they encourage you to consume less or none of a certain food, macro, or eating time.
If you’re eating Paleo then you’re likely eliminating processed foods and while this has benefits for other reasons, it isn’t necessary for fat loss. Keto, Atkins and South Beach? You’re eliminating carbs. Nutrient Timing and Intermittent Fasting? All you’re doing is not eating during a time when you typically would have been.
Yup, calories are likely the reason you’ve seen success in the past with any dietary approach. And that’s okay.
Understanding that will surely help you navigate future dieting. All you have to do is find an approach that works for your lifestyle and preferences. Just keep them calories in check. ;-)
#8: Your metabolism slows down as you age.
You may want to sit down for this. I’ve got a tough pill for you to swallow… This is TRUE! But it has less to do with aging and more to do with lifestyle choices and fitness habits.
Working mostly sedentary jobs, lack of activity, and the rapid loss of muscle mass from not strength training are the big culprits here.
Most of us start to notice this slow weight gain in our 30s and 40s as become more sedentary creatures. Our social gatherings become less active than they were in college and our 20s. Not only that but they’re likely centered around boozing and eating calorie dense meals.
This decrease in activity coupled with an increase in caloric intake can get out of hand real fast. In particular, one thing that changes drastically is what is known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or ‘NEAT’. Basically, this is part of your daily metabolic rate that accounts for non-exercise activities like walking, playing with the dog, cleaning the house, cooking, and really doing anything by moving your body.
Now throw in the steady loss of muscle tissue and we’ve got the reason it’s so easy to gain weight (and hard to lose it) as we age.
What can we do?
Increase NEAT by staying active! Go for walks, play games, and do your own cooking.
Eat less calories. Yup, I had to sneak it in again.
Strength train 2-3 times per week. This is where we recommend working with an expert to gain a base line knowledge.
Need help learning the ins and outs of strength training and all things fitness? Come by for a FREE 60 min Strategy Session to see if AMP is a good fit for YOU!
#9: “I just can’t lose fat no matter how hard I try.”
While I do believe that some people will have a difficult time due to a potential undiagnosed auto immune disorder such as hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, and some allergies, the more-often-than-not culprit is overeating.
Whether it’s conscious or subconscious, we just eat too much.
Some people will lose fat easier and faster and others will have change body composition at a much slower rate. But slow doesn’t mean non-existent and even slow progress is progress.
For those of us who really struggle to make progress, it behooves us to stay consistent and continuously make small adjustments to keep our caloric intake in check. Again, slow progress is better than no progress and jumping around from one diet to the next can create a pattern of poor habits, confusion, and frustration.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen working with clients on nutrition is a gross underreporting of calories eaten. Now, I’m not wagging my finger, it’s in our nature to underestimate and it’s also super common to just dismiss that bag of chips as ‘just a snack’ and not track it. And whether it’s subconscious or a conscious decision: it counts.
It helps to spend a little time getting to ‘know thyself’ by asking yourself powerful questions like:
When am I likely to overeat?
What meals do I eat mindlessly?
Am I eating proper portions?
Am I being honest with my reporting?
Am I really hungry when I eat?
Do I stop eating when I’m actually full?
Your answers may surprise you.
Again, the trick is to be patient and continue to get 1% Better each day. Enjoy the process and you’ll find it easier and easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle and ultimately your happiness.
The big takeaway for today… and tomorrow… and the next day:
While we are all unique like snowflakes in many ways, our ability to lose fat is quite similar to that of the rest of our species. There is no magic diet, food, time of day, workout, or wizardry that will create better fat loss. We just need to be patient with the process, allow ourselves to not be perfect, and consistently consume fewer calories than we burn.
Need help jumpstarting your fat loss adventure? Join our 6-week Transformation program to become a fat loss Jedi master!
Steve is co-founder and head coach of AMP Fitness, downtown Boston's most inclusive personal training studio. His background is in posture, performance, injury prevention and strength development and packaging fitness in a way that is accessible to everyone. He's a brand new father, an avid reader and enjoys nerding out to science fiction movies.