Do we really have to struggle with unrealistic diets? Cant we simply eat less food? After all, if we eat fewer calories then our body needs, we should lose weight, shouldnt we? Is it actually possible to lose weight eating whatever we want?
Short answer Absolutely!
The most important factor for successful weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. It really is that simple.
Diets nowadays are blaming the current obesity epidemic on a particular food source. Its too many carbohydrates, too much fat. Blah, blah, blah! Wouldnt eating too much food and exercising less have something to do with it? Dont you think this would make us overweight, causing a lot of health problems? Or is what I am saying to logical for the dieting community to take seriously?
What we eat is not nearly as important as how much we eat. We will put on weight if we eat more calories then our body needs. It doesnt matter if its super healthy foods such as egg whites, protein powder, vegetables or less than healthy foods like chocolate, pizza and ice cream, we will put on weight no matter what the food is, if it is more calories then we use.
At the same time, we will lose weight no matter what the food source is, if we eat less than our body needs a day. (You would be shocked if you saw how unhealthy I eat sometimes!)
A calorie is a calorie. I know people argue this point to death, but its true. All calories are created equal. Our body cannot tell the difference between a calorie coming from an orange, and a calorie coming from French fries. It is all energy that can be burnt off or stored as fat if not used.
So then, if this is the case, wouldnt it make sense to follow a diet that you enjoy and can stick to for a long time? If you eat a diet you hate how long do you think you could stick too it?
If we deprive ourselves from having something we love, this only intensifies cravings to the point where it becomes unbearable, resulting in us, sooner or later, giving in to temptation.
Ultimately, it is these strong cravings for foods we cannot eat which cause us to give up. Diets that are low in carbohydrates force us to crave more sugary, carbohydrate rich foods. Diets low in fat cause us to crave fatty foods, and the worst of all, low calorie diets cause us to crave overeating.
I also found on many restrictive diets, that I was craving (and eventually pigging out on) foods I wouldnt normally eat. For me, it was probably more like a rebellion from the lack of freedom I had while trying to stick to the diet!
Our willpower is too powerful to fight against. We may succeed for a while, but eventually we will succumb to the pressure. Its like the quote I once heard, dieting is like holding your breath underwater, eventually you have to come up for air.
Whats the point of going on a super strict diet for a few weeks, only to put the weight back on because you found the diet unbearable? It may be 6 years from now and you still look the same! (Trust me I know!)
REMEMBER, TO LOSE WEIGHT, PAY ATTENTION TO HOW MUCH YOU EAT NOT WHAT YOU EAT
Now obviously eating healthy has some benefits too. But if you are struggling to lose weight, start by focusing primarily on how much you eat. Worry about cleaning up your diet after you have lost the weight. Dont you think losing all that excess body fat will make you a lot healthier anyway?
I first heard of this principle of a calorie is a calorie from the late great bodybuilding champion Mike Mentzer. There were stories of him infuriating other bodybuilders as he would eat Danishes and other off limit foods in front of them while they were following the strictest of diets before a contest. He said that all he was worried about was eating 2500 calories a day.
I also noticed a lot of people lose weight by simply eating less. Early on, I believed in the high protein, low carb, low fat diets and would recommend them to my clients. I was surprised when some of them were losing fat .fast, without following my recommendations. They werent eating nowhere near enough protein; they were eating plenty of foods I said were forbidden and were often stopping into take away stores! They were simply getting results because they started training and were eating less than their body needed.
Another example is people who lose weight on programs such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. They simply eat balanced calorie controlled meals. Many of these programs simply focus on total calorie intake and total calorie expenditure by using a points system.
The amount of evidence and real world examples backs up that a calorie is a calorie. So if you are struggling to stick to unrealistic diets, just remember that the most important thing is how much you eat. So dont be afraid to have a slice of pizza or a piece of cake if you crave it. Most importantly, dont feel guilty for eating it enjoy it!